Buying your first home can be daunting — and pricey! While buyers don’t typically pay their real estate agent’s fees directly, it’s often factored into the home’s listing price.
Get the most bang for your buck by leveraging these benefits of working with a real estate agent:
1. Get the inside track
Most realtors are embedded in their communities and keep their ears to the ground. As Gary Ashton of The Ashton Real Estate Group of RE/MAX Advantage says, “Real estate agents’ local knowledge can help buyers avoid overpaying regardless of market conditions.”
For example, a good realtor might know ahead of time when someone is eager to sell their home and willing to skip the listing process and sell directly to you–potentially for a bit under market value. Realtors can also suggest more affordable, up-and-coming neighborhoods that you aren’t aware of. This localized knowledge can add up to a lot in the end.
2. See compelling comparisons
Every house is unique, but accurate “comps,” or comparative home sales, from your agent can help you price your offer just right. That data can also be used to convince the sellers and their agent that your offer is a good one. Sometimes sellers think their home is worth more than the market suggests. These comparable home sales can give them a more informed perspective.
3. Save yourself time
There’s truth to the adage, “time is money,” and finding the right home can take a lot of your time. Part of the value a real estate agent brings is sorting through options and surfacing good ones that you won’t necessarily find online.
Gretchen Roethle at Zip Code East Bay says, “I tour homes in a client’s preferred area twice a week. I also see homes coming on the market before they go to Multiple Listing Service (MLS), Zillow, or Redfin. In screening these homes for clients, I save them time on their Open House tours by telling them which ones to skip and which ones to focus on.”
These pre-market sales can also help you avoid a bidding war with other buyers. Because agents are plugged into the local market and network, they may know about homes that have an accepted offer and are off-market, but look shaky. Having this kind of access to information, can save you a lot of man-hours in your house hunt.
4. Craft strong & creative offers
Kat Carroll from Pacific Union says, “Buying a home is not always as simple as offering the asking price or paying the highest price in a competitive offer situation. Through due diligence prior to writing an offer, agents can help buyers identify, understand, and potentially mitigate risks in a property in order to help make a solid offer that’s likely to hold firm until close of escrow.”
A savvy agent will make it his or her job to understand the motivations — and emotions — at play to help you get the home at the best price possible. Behind-the-scenes know-how can add real value to your bottom line.
5. Problem-solve with your interests in mind
Real estate agents can also be key for mid-sale negotiations when home inspections or the appraisal come in. For example, everything seems good to go, but then the home inspection report reveals some major concerns. A good realtor will talk to you about your options and possibly ask the seller to make some repairs, re-negotiate the sale price, or even walk away if it’s really that bad.
And there you have it — five ways realtors can save you money as a buyer. If you’re ready to find a realtor, most will want some kind of mortgage pre-approval to start shopping — that helps everyone be on the same page about what kind of home is financially possible.
At Clara, we like to make this easy. See your rates in just three minutes without impacting your credit. And if you like what you see, get pre-approved online at your convenience. Our licensed Loan Specialists are here to chat if you have questions.