The majority of Americans buy their homes using a real estate agent. Professional realtors help homebuyers save money by negotiating the best purchase price with sellers. However, many consumers are now navigating the home buying process without the services of a real estate agent. The internet has made it easier for people to do plenty of the legwork. The problem is the web does not replace the services that qualified real estate agents can bring to the closing table.
Risks of Doing It Alone
A real estate transaction is tricky business. Aside from the mountains of paperwork, homebuyers who decide to do it alone will need to learn a whole new set of skills. Without a real estate professional, homebuyers will at a minimum need to negotiate terms with the seller’s agent on their own, ensure they receive all the seller’s disclosures, calculate final closing costs and find a mortgage. People who have little to no experience with the home buying process face incredible risks that often lead to the loss of thousands of dollars or more. Here are some other risks buyers without agents face.
Some potential homebuyers might face what is known in the real estate industry as dual agencies. These agencies represent both sides of a real estate transaction and they normally work at the same brokerage house. Consumers with no experience in real estate will find themselves “swimming with sharks,” and in many cases paying much more than they would with an agent.
For Sale By Owner
Many home sellers put their houses on the market without using the services of a buyer’s agent. Known as “for sale by owner,” buyers will have to negotiate the price and the terms directly with the sellers. It may seem simpler to eliminate the middleman (real estate agents), but many home sellers are famous for valuing their properties for far more than they are worth. Many sellers do not know any better and often use inaccurate values they find on the internet. Using an agent in this instance will help educate uninformed sellers about the true market value.
Although buying a home without an agent is gaining in popularity, it poses some very real risks. Problems with disclosures, inspection problems or problems with an appraisal can stop a real estate transaction in its tracks. Real estate agents understand how to work through any of these problems and a host of other problems.