This is one of those posts I’ve always been meaning to write but have never managed to get around to it. I think it has to do with the fact that I’ve always assumed that home buyers who want to buy a home themselves (without using a real estate agent) aren’t going to listen to a real estate agent anyway- so what’s the point. However after this past week where I sold a couple of ‘hot’ listings and received a high number of calls from unrepresented buyers, I’ve realized that maybe my line of thinking on this subject is not entirely correct.

In fact, what I discovered is that many buyers just don’t understand how the process of buying a home works, or what they should expect from working with a skilled realtor. So if you are thinking of buying a house yourself without an agent or you have been actively looking for months and are feeling dejected from not having calls returned or having them returned only to find out the perfect home is already sold, this post is for you.

Reasons Not to Work With a Real Estate Agent

You See No Value: I think the reason many home buyers choose to go it solo is because they have had bad past experiences with crappy real estate agents who didn’t explain the process, or weren’t able to perform the job competently. I know because before I became a realtor I was a home buyer and I had one of those experiences. As the thinking goes, why hire an agent when you can do a better job yourself?

Cost Savings: Many buyers will contact a listing agent directly in order to get a better price on the home. The thinking goes that since the listing broker doesn’t have to pay a buyer broker commission then that is money available to lower the price or help them in some other arrangement.

Reasons to Work With a Real Estate Agent

You Have Someone Representing YOUR Interests: When you work with a real estate agent under a Buyer Representation Agreement, they have a duty to protect and promote your interests, along with an expanded set of obligations and fiduciary duties owed to you. Whenever you are unrepresented and deal directly with a listing agent just remember that their job is to represent the seller first and foremost.

You Will See the BEST Properties For Sale: If a home is a bargain or a ‘hot property’ then real estate agents are on it fast, before it ever has time to populate through the internet where do it yourselfers will see it. So what’s left? If you haven’t already guessed it’s a lot of over priced properties that have been passed over. Is getting a few thousand dollars off an over priced home a deal? Nope. Is it a listing strategy commonly used in the real estate industry? Yes.

You Will Have the Proper Information and Experience Working For You to Make the Best Decision: An agent working for you must work in your best interest, they must fully disclose everything they know about a property to you and they must maintain confidentiality of your information. These are just some of the things that an agent who is not working for you doesn’t owe you.

So How do you get the best house at the best price and avoid bad service? Get a good real estate agent. Easier said than done, I mean everyone says they are great right? I am going to give you some tips to tell if an agent will be good for you.

  • What is their knowledge of the neighbourhood and home types you are interested in? Can they talk knowledgeably about it from experience?
  • Do they specialize in selling what you are looking for?
  • Google their name- what do you see?
  • References- any good agent should have lot’s of references.
  • Do they do this full time?
  • Can they explain the buying process upfront including representation, multiple representation, expected costs, legal forms and how the process will go?

What You Can Expect From a Professional Buyer Real Estate Agent

  • They will take the time to explain ALL of the costs, documents and the process upfront, before you buy a home.
  • They will take the time to listen to your needs and wants and put together options for you.
  • They will have knowledge of the areas you are interested in, not just access to see the sold information on the MLS. Information on schools, crime, demographics, future development and what the area is like to live in are just a few things you should ask questions about.
  • They will guide you through the buying process and show you options based on your desires.
  • They should actively search for properties for you.
  • They are available to preview properties and show you homes.
  • Before they submit an offer for you, they will show you ALL of the comparable data to help you make an informed decision.
  • They are there to answer any questions you have and guide you through the process.
  • They are professional enough to explain the different types of representation available in real estate, and ask you to sign a Buyers Representation Agreement, because it is in your best interest.

To be fair, I can appreciate the reasoning why someone would forgo the services of a realtor when buying a home. However, I will argue that if you have proper representation from a professional, full time real estate agent who understands the location and the product, you will always fair better than doing it yourself. A better experience, a better price, and a better outcome.