Do You Really Need a Realtor to Purchase a House?
Purchasing a home is a big decision. It is most likely the largest purchase you will ever make. Most people use a Realtor, or real estate agent, to help with the process as it can be rather daunting. However, is it absolutely necessary to use a Realtor? Or can you purchase a home on your own?
First, let’s break down the pros and cons of using a Realtor to help answer the question: do you really need a Realtor to purchase a home?
Pros of Using a Realtor
Realtors are usually very knowledgeable about the process and their purpose is to work with you and guide you. Part of a Realtors knowledge base includes the fair market value of homes in different areas, which is important for making offers and accepting counteroffers. Also, a Realtor is objective when they are negotiating with the seller. Realtors are also familiar with the mountain of paperwork that accompanies purchasing a house. Other benefits of a Realtors experience is looking for possible problems with the property, such as structural damage.
Cons of Using a Realtor
A common misconception is that a buyer will have to pay the Realtor’s commission fee. A Realtor’s commission is usually 6 percent of the total purchase price of the house. Depending on that price, the Realtor fee can be thousands of dollars. The main reason that buyers may not want to use a Realtor is to save that commission to put toward closing costs, buying new furniture or negotiating the purchase price. The commission fee is actually paid for by the seller so these are typically not issues. However, using a Realtor can slow down the process in regards to making and accepting offers and other communications with the Sellers. You will not be able to communicate directly with the Sellers and will always be reliant on your Realtor to relay any wishes or inquiries.
What are the Realities of Purchasing a Home without a Realtor?
This is where the pros and cons really come into play. Most likely you will be unfamiliar with the process and will have to do a lot of research yourself. Once you’ve found a house you want to make an offer on, you will have to be the negotiator, which is often difficult if you’ve already developed an attachment to the house.
If you are familiar with the fair market values in a particular area, it may be possible to act as your own Realtor. Other times that is may be beneficial would be if you’re buying from a friend or a family member or if you’re looking to purchase a home that is being sold by the owner and not through a Realtor.
Some things to keep in mind, however, are that if you’re timid and not good at standing up for yourself, negotiating a purchase price for yourself, especially if dealing with a Realtor, may not be in your best interest. The paperwork can be very complicated and overwhelming. Often, experts suggest that if you don’t work with a Realtor you should still seek the advice of a real estate attorney.
While you certainly don’t have to use a Realtor when purchasing a home, it is absolutely worth considering their well of experience and knowledge. They have valuable insight into the properties in their areas, potential pitfalls of specific properties and the overall home buying experience.