How many times do you plan to buy a home during your entire lifetime?
For most of us, the number is somewhere between 3 and 5. It certainly doesn’t happen often enough to make us experts on the process. Real estate agents, on the other hand, may handle 3-5 purchases per month. This experience makes them an invaluable resource to homebuyers. Before you think about handling your purchase on your own, consider these 3 serious dangers of buying without a real estate agent.
Risk #1. Overpaying for your home
Many buyers make the mistake of thinking that the listing price always reflects the real value of a home. Real estate agents know better; they know how to value real estate. They’ve had extensive practice in finding and analyzing comparable properties to determine the fair market value of any home.
Your buyer’s agent can tell you what a home is really worth before you make an offer on it. This can save you from accidentally overpaying for your home. Good agents also know that fair market value isn’t a single number. It’s a range, with room to negotiate. Armed with their local market knowledge, they can negotiate on your behalf for the best possible price.
Risk #2. Being overwhelmed by the inspections
Home inspections can be scary, especially for first-time buyers. Which inspections do you even need? Inspectors note everything they can find wrong with the property. And it’s usually a sizable list, even on the best home. Your buyer’s agent can help you prioritize the issues on the inspectors’ reports. They can help you determine which items must be addressed immediately, which items should be addressed at some point in the future, and which items are listed simply documented for your information.
They can also help you renegotiate the original offer if the inspections find that immediate repairs are necessary. Perhaps you should ask the sellers to cover the cost of the roof repairs or the HVAC replacement? Your agent can help you decide.
Risk #3. Buying the wrong home
It’s the scariest question in the home-buying process: What if I buy the wrong home?
Agents are elbow-deep in local market data all day every day. They know why some neighborhoods have high turnover. They know about upcoming development projects that can make a neighborhood more desirable. And they know about homes coming on the market days before the listings are available online.
Having an agent with all this information in your corner can prevent you from buying the wrong home. Or buying in the wrong neighborhood altogether!
Remember: the seller customarily pays all real estate commissions. It literally doesn’t cost you a penny to protect yourself against these dangers. Why risk it?