With all the new tools out there on the web, you may wonder whether you really need a real estate agent. An agent has something no buyer or seller typically has...a lot of experience! The role of your agent is to act as an advocate on your behalf and, more importantly, will work to get you a better deal than you could get by doing it yourself.
Real estate agents have in depth knowledge of the real estate market. You most likely have an idea of what the market is doing, but don't know exactly what is expected to happen in the next three to six months. Finding an agent to represent you that has the local knowledge is key. We've seen many times where people try to have a friend or acquaintance, who is an agent not from the local area represent them. While it's great to work with friends, it can cause many problems when it comes to negotiating the deal.
Do you as a buyer know what it takes to win against other bidders? If you want a four bedroom detached home with a pool, what should you expect to pay? What is the inventory for such a home like in the area? Your agent will be able to counsel you on such topics. One of the best ways to get an offer accepted at a price that's in your favor is to know the market intimately, and a local real estate agent does.
Unless you go to see open houses on Sunday's, getting into a home will be difficult without an agent representing you. Seller's and their agents will not allow an unlicensed stranger access to the home otherwise. Scheduling showings can be time consuming and difficult to coordinate with listing agents. To try and meet with a selling agent as a buyer, keep in mind that any questions you may have about he property will produce answers that have the seller's best interest at heart, not yours as a buyer.
When you tour a property with your agent, you not only have total privacy and access to the home, but you have an agent who is an advocate for you as their client and they will help guide you to make the best decision.
As a buyer, if you have a real estate agent representing you, it doesn't cost you anything. Many time people think they might save money by not using an agent and that simply isn't true. The entire commission on a home purchase is paid by the seller to the seller's broker, who then gives part of the commission to the buyer's broker.
Your agent will do all the paperwork for you. Have you ever drafted a purchase agreement or conducted a comparative market analysis (CMA)? These are not skills that are learned very easily. Interpreting and creating a CMA reports, then crafting a offer, is an art that takes a certain level of expertise to perfect.
Taking the time to find the right agent is so important. In the end, you want an agent who is dedicated, knowledgeable, and who has no conflict of interest. Don't look necessarily at the agent that sells the most in the local area, but one that has a good reputation and will dedicate the time to you that you need during the buying process.