Buying a Home: Should You Hire an Agent?

So you want to buy a home and you’re wondering if you can do this on your own? Of course, you can! There is really no law requiring you to have an agent when purchasing a house. If you think you can handle the complexity of a real estate contract, then you can move forward with it. But for majority of the buyers, this is not the case. Below are the reasons why you should or why you should not hire an agent:

Why Hire an Agent

You need a professional to guide you with the buying process
Real estate contract is one of the most complicated transactions that you may experience in your life and hiring an agent is a must especially if you are a first-time buyer. I’m sure those homeowners can understand the grueling and overwhelming process that they have endured when they bought their homes. The paper works to sign is so much that it feels like you are signing all the pages of a book. Buying a real estate is not like buying an item from a department store, it involves a lot of things. An agent can guide you with the whole buying process such as finding the house that you like, making an offer, closing the deal, finding home professionals such as home inspector, mortgage if you do not have one yet.

You can get more access to the listing
Although, listings are now available online and can be seen by prospective buyers, there are still some houses that are only available to be viewed by agents only. The types of houses are the ones that are probably new or on hold, retracted by owners, foreclosure homes, or short sale homes. Sometimes you may be able to see new listing of your agent before it even come out in the public listing.  In some cases, you may not be allowed to go inside the house exclusively without the services of an agent. When my brother was looking for a house, there is a foreclosure house that he wanted to see but he was only allowed to get in if he is accompanied by an agent.

You don’t pay for their services
Here is the biggest incentive: The seller is the one who’s paying for the commission not YOU. In fact the commissions are split between the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent. But beware when getting an agent; chances are some of them may be pushing for the homes that they are selling because they are getting the full commission on that. Make sure you really look around and check out the available houses and buy the ones that you like and not the ones that your agent is pushing!!

Why You May Not Need An Agent

Save Money by Negotiating a Rebate
The only reason that prospective homebuyers would not hire an agent is if they think they can save money by doing it on their own. This is if you already know what to do on the whole buying process. So how would you save money? You may be able to negotiate a deal with the seller since he/she is not paying the buyer’s agent commission to give you a rebate or a reduction in closing cost in lieu of the commission that they would have paid anyways. Please keep in mind that you cannot get real estate commission unless you are a licensed agent but if you are homebuyer, you can get this in the form of a rebate. Again, this is only advisable for knowledgeable and experienced buyers as there is really a lot to consider in the whole buying process. I strongly advise on hiring an agent especially if you are a first-time home buyer.

Buying Newly Built Homes
The second reason is if you are a buying a brand new home from a builder, you may not need the services of a buyer’s agent since you are going to buy that house anyways even without an agent. The homebuilder can help you with the whole buying process. And as stated previously; you may be able to save money by negotiating with the builder to give you additional discounts or rebate in lieu of the commission that they would have paid for a buyer’s agent. The builder may or may not allow it but if it is the final house on the lot and they need to move on or if the market is really down and they need to sell, they may reconsider. It is worth the shot and the worst thing that’s going to happen is you’ll get a NO answer!

Photo Credit: Haglundc