If you’re planning to buy or sell a property, you may be wondering whether to enlist the help of a real estate agent. Unfortunately, some people harbor negative stereotypes about realtors, which can dissuade them from seeking help and securing a good deal. To help you understand how real estate businesses work and what a realtor could do for you, we’ve debunked some misconceptions below.
Myth #1. It’s easy to research the housing market on your own
Many potential buyers and sellers think having internet access makes them experts in the real estate market. While browsing property sites is certainly educative, much of the information on the internet is outdated, irrelevant, or just plain wrong. A realtor will know the property market inside out and help guide you through the tricky process of buying or selling your home. If you’re serious about making a wise investment, we recommend putting some faith in the experts.
Myth #2. Agents always enjoy a commission of 6%
Many people assume that their real estate agent is allowed to keep the entire commission from a property sale. This simply isn’t the case. When the seller pays a commission, it is split between the two relevant agents and two brokerages. What’s more, the brokerage commission is negotiable, meaning sellers can try to sweeten the deal.
Myth #3. It’s acceptable for buyers to utilize a property’s selling agent
Purchasing a home isn’t like buying a new laptop or handbag. After all, house prices are not set in stone, and the buying process can be complex, particularly for those who are yet to set foot on the property ladder. Remember – the selling agent is responsible for negotiating the best (highest) price possible for their client, so you need an advocate to help you secure a fair deal.
Hiring a buyer’s agent will allow you to access up-to-date knowledge about the property market in your desired area – vital if you want to negotiate a good price that suits your budget. What’s more, they will be able to spot any hidden drawbacks of a given property and warn you about untrustworthy sellers.
Myth #4. You can never switch real estate agents
While it’s true that sellers are required to sign contracts with their real estate agents, you can request that the brokerage manager ends the contract early. In some cases, this is beneficial for both the seller and the real estate agent. On the other hand, buyers are very rarely tied to a contract, with most working for free until a home is secured. In fact, agents tend not to get paid if the buyer fails to find a suitable property.
Of course, it is worth researching your options carefully before selecting a real estate agent. Most realtors offer consultations to establish whether you’re going to work well together – take advantage of this and ask as many questions as you like.
Myth #5. Any real estate agent will do
Some buyers and sellers are happy to opt for the first real estate agent who agrees to work with them. This strategy is risky. Finding the right agent is the best way to save money and prevent any disastrous deals.
When conducting your research, try to find an agent who knows the local property market in great detail. They should have strong connections with other local agents, community figures, inspectors, lenders, attorneys, and architects. Having access to this network could help you secure special deals and discounts you wouldn’t otherwise enjoy.
Myth #6. You can’t purchase a For Sale by Owner (FBSO) property if you have a real estate agent
While this may have been true in the past, most sellers of FBSO properties are more than willing to pay buyer’s agents if it will increase their chances of making a sale. If you spot an FBSO property that you like the look of, feel free to alert your agent.