Should I Hire a Real Estate Agent?
Whether you’re buying or selling a home, it’s a good idea to work with a trained real estate professional.
Realtors have to pass training and licensure requirements. Licensed real estate agents are bound to codes of ethics and laws, and have access to the MLS, (Multiple Listing Service) database, which will help in your search.
To ensure you get the best deal for your money, you should be aware of the different types of agents, and their responsibilities and compensation. Also, you should know how to pick an agent, and how to deal with one once you’ve done so.
Typically, the two types of agents are buyer’s agents and seller’s agents. Respectively, they represent the interests of the buyer or seller. The client signs an agreement to work with only that agent, and also sets up the compensation terms. The seller pays a commission, which is usually a percentage of the sale price, to their agent who splits it with the agent representing the buyer. The compensation terms and length of agreement should be outlined clearly. Do not sign anything until you are sure you want to work with that agent, and are happy with the terms of the contract. As a buyer, I never sign an “exclusive” agreement which means I will only work with that agent to find me a property.
Another type of agent is a dual agent. This is when the same agent represents both the buyer and the seller. I strongly recommend against entering such an agreement. I do not feel a dual agent can truly represent both sides of the deal honestly, especially if they are working on commission. In addition, when working with traditional agents, there are confidentiality clauses to protect the information of each party. When working with a dual agent, these clauses are still in effect, but how realistic is it to believe they are truly maintained? The same agent cannot serve both parties’ interests and purposes effectively.
A buyer’s agent is responsible for helping you to find a property. The agent will use the MLS, or Multiple Listing Service to do so. The agent should help you prepare your legal documents for the purchase of a new home. A good agent will point out possible problems with a home, help you negotiate the best price with the seller’s agent, and make sure the price is comparable to other recent sales of similar properties.
A seller’s agent will help you market your home. They should come into the home and make suggestions to enhance its appeal to possible buyer’s, help with the pricing of the home. As with a buyer’s agent, the seller’s agent should help you with your paperwork, and of course, negotiate offers on the home or property.
Next learn How to Pick the Right Real Estate Agent for You!
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