Do You Need a Realtor to Buy a House?
Buying a house can be a lengthy process—from finding the right home within your budget to negotiating the price with a seller and signing the final papers. Even those who love the prospect of shopping for homes are bound to get overwhelmed at some point. But do you need a realtor to buy a house, or is it an unnecessary formality?
Here are a few good reasons why you might want to seriously consider finding a good realtor—and a tip or two in case you decide to embark on the journey yourself.
Increase your odds of finding the right home
If you’re on a citywide manhunt for the perfect home, a realtor can help. Sure there are sites where you can find homes for sale, but these sites aren’t always up-to-date. Your realtor will have more current information, and they are more likely to have access to homes that have just been listed.
They might also help you set more realistic goals within your budget. Ideally, a realtor can help you compromise on what you need vs. what you want. That pool in the backyard or that extra guest bedroom? It might not be realistic within the neighborhood that you’re looking for.
Spot a dud
Real estate agents look at houses every day and have a deep understanding of the market. They can help you pick up on critical issues early on—like spotting whether a home might have structural damage before you’ve called out an inspector or asking how much a home owner’s association keeps in arrears.
Make your best offer
Do you need a realtor to buy a house? In the current market, you probably do. With an increased demand for homes and an ongoing lack of inventory, you’re likely to find yourself in a bidding war. Having a real estate agent at that point might be the only way to get an offer accepted. Your agent can help you determine the value of a home and decide how much you’re willing to invest before it’s best just to walk away.
Sellers are also likely to work with a listing agent. This person will have a fiduciary responsibility to the seller, meaning they’ll only have the seller’s interest at hand. It could be difficult for a less experienced homebuyer to navigate that territory and come out on top. This can also be the case with new home construction, even though the home buying process is more simplified.
If you’ve taken everything above into consideration and still feel convinced you don’t need a realtor to buy a house, then get prepared to do some research. Real estate agents charge fees that some homebuyers would like to avoid, and there is no law mandating that you need an agent to buy a home. However, some states may require a real estate attorney. And even in states that don’t, it could be helpful to have one if you are skipping on the agent.
There’s a lot of paperwork involved in buying a home; an attorney can help remove liability. And without an agent, you’ll want to educate yourself on the area that interests you. Look up the price at which other homes of comparable value were sold, and make sure you hire a home inspector before you sign any final papers. You can use this checklist for buying a house to help you along the way.
Do you need a realtor to buy a house? At the end of the day, this decision is primarily up to you. But there are advantages to having an expert on your side, even if that means having to pay them.
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