When people buy and sell houses, the first question many ask themselves is whether they should use an agent to get the deal done. Most people have friends or family in the real estate business, and probably everyone receives postcards in the mail from real estate agents occasionally telling them of the recent listing they just sold. Chances are, someone near you wants to list your house and serve as your agent for a transaction. But…
If you want to sell your house fast or if you are already behind on payments to your mortgage company, you might wonder if you can afford the time and expense of hiring a real estate agent.
So can you get by without a real estate agent if you want to sell your house in San Antonio, or anywhere else?
Let’s look at what an agent does first. Whether you use a real estate agent, a realtor, or a real estate broker, an agent’s job is simple: to represent you to the buyer if you are selling your house, or to represent you to the seller if you are buying a house. What does an agent specifically do for you?
Benefits of working with a real estate agent
Traditionally, one main benefit of working with an agent is their access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), a list of all agent’s listings. Most people have access to the Internet, however, so if you’re the buyer, that benefit isn’t the big deal it used to be, as you can find the MLS online. Any buyer can access it to see agents’ listed properties. Just remember that sellers cannot list their house on the MLS unless they have an agent working for them.
The second benefit is an agent’s ability to assess prices and comparable property values in a general sense. Their knowledge of the neighborhoods and surrounding areas makes buying a home in an unfamiliar area much more comforting. If you are purchasing a home from out of town, or relocating to a new area, then an agent serves you by familiarizing you, the new resident, with local neighborhoods.
The third benefit to using an agent is their organization and expertise with the paperwork involved in a real estate transaction. An agent’s job is making sure that you have all the legal documents signed, sealed and delivered properly.
The cost of working with a real estate agent
Now for the cost…the first thing you should know is that the fees of both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent are paid by the seller. What do they charge? Typically 3% of the purchase price of the house goes to each agent, the buyer’s and the seller’s. So the seller’s agent would charge 6% and then share it with the buyer’s agent.
Sometimes sellers elect to sell their home without an agent. “For Sale By Owner” (FSBO) is a common way for sellers to save expenses when selling their houses, but the downside is that you have to do all the work to bring potential buyers in to see your property. Other agents will ignore your listing unless you offer a commission or some incentive for them to mention your house to their clients.
Bottom line: is there any way to avoid hiring an agent and just get the deal done fast?
In fact, there are many other ways to sell your house that don’t require a traditional real estate agent, realtor, or real estate broker. When the sale closes, you’ll avoid having to pay that 6% fee.
Selling your house to an investor for cash is one way to do it. For example, since the investor is the direct buyer, you potentially save months looking for a buyer who’s qualified for a loan. Furthermore, an experienced investor knows property values in their local area, and is qualified to assess prices of comparable houses and ensure you are getting the best price. In addition, many investors have a real estate lawyer on board to verify that all the papers are complete and legal. And the pièce de résistance: if you are looking to do a short sale and your mortgage company requires you to list your house with a realtor, Markette Properties already works with a real estate agent who knows short sales who can perform that function at no extra cost to you!
Many agents go over and above for their clients, and they fill a valuable role for many buyers and sellers. But are they absolutely necessary to a real estate sale? Not at all. If you have a cash buyer lined up and there’s no need to market your house, think twice before you invest in an agent for help.