10 Experts Share 10 Advantages of Realtors

benefits of a realtor

There's no dancing around it: tech is disrupting the real estate industry.

In general, it's a no-brainer to work with an agent on the buyer's side where you're not paying a commission. But if you're a seller, you have other options, and it can be a difficult choice.

Using AI and online database, startups like Open Listings, Opendoor, and Homie present alternatives to the traditional options of selling your home by paying an agent a set commission or going through the For Sale by Owner (FSBO) process without support.

According to low-commission real estate network Clever, millennials are 93 percent less likely to use a real estate agent than other groups.

So are real estate agents on their way to becoming obsolete?

Our panel of agents and other real estate professionals say “no way” — that just because you can sell your house without an agent — doesn’t mean you should.

Here are 10 advantages to working with a real estate agent:

1. Micromarket expertise

Neeta (aka Sujata Durai), Managing Partner and Property Consultant at Chennai Dream Homes®
"Brokerage agencies or online startups that promise to help you buy or sell a home may be strong on a national level, but not in the micromarkets in which you may be interested.

A realtor is well-versed with niche areas and can reduce the time it takes to nail down a selling price and identify a high-quality offer. As a market expert, a realtor can give advice on home rates, local economy, business establishments, infrastructure, and local government laws that the web portals just cannot get into."

James McGrath, Co-founder of NYC real estate brokerage Yoreevo
"iBuyers like Opendoor and Zillow are aggressively expanding and becoming more of an option for sellers. In markets with fairly uniform housing stock like Phoenix, Las Vegas, and Houston, selling to an iBuyer probably makes sense. Those are the types of markets where home prices are more predictable, so iBuyers are more aggressive on price (as there is less risk in their pricing algorithms) and there are more iBuyers so a seller can see which will make the highest offer.

In other markets where pricing is more complicated and subjective, you probably want to work with a realtor who can add that expertise. It might just be their opinion but the eventual buyer will be offering a price based on their opinion too."

2. Time efficiency 

Laurie Rose, John R. Wood Properties YourNaplesParadise.com
"Choosing a local agent over an internet driven agent gets you someone who will sit down with you face-to-face and discuss your needs and take you through the buying or selling process. You are a treasured client, not a number.

People feel they can sell their home on their own and make more money. Unfortunately, they don't consider certain variables. A FSBO, on average, takes longer to sell. And the longer the home is on the market, the more carrying cost is created. They will need to hire a professional photographer, possibly a stager, and they may have to take time off to show their house.

In the long run, time is money; you will actually save money by hiring a professional to sell your home."

3. Litigation protection

David Roberson, Silicon Valley Property Management Group
"As a practicing real estate attorney I saw dozens of cases where one or both sides attempted to represent themselves in the transaction only to be completely inept in protecting themselves, or completely misrepresenting the condition of the property. In each of these situations the transactions were embroiled in litigation.

Lay people do not understand the importance of investigation and disclosure of all material facts that affect desirability. A seasoned agent or broker helps ferret out all of the issues that are critical to having a successful transaction where each side was fully informed and the escrow closes without hitches. Moreover, if there is a problem during escrow, a seasoned agent or broker can help navigate those problems, whereas a lay person with little or no experience could run into trouble not knowing where to turn."

4. Referrals

Than Merrill, CEO of real estate education company FortuneBuilders
"Sellers will find real estate agents particularly helpful, as they often have connections that can attract interested homebuyers. Many home sales are actually the result of referrals, making experienced agents an invaluable asset to the home selling process."

5. Professional networks

Jennifer Winton, RE/MAX Moves REALTOR® of Greenville, SC
"My vast network of contractors, photographers, home cleaners, and home services professionals means that my clients will have professionals taking care of them every step of the way. No need to worry about timelines, inspections, or what's next."

6. Buyer vetting

Melissa Okabe, Real Estate Agent, Alta Properties
"Do you know what to look for in an offer? Hint: It's not just about the price offered on your home. Your realtor can discern a qualified offer or buyer from an unqualified one by carefully reviewing all aspects of the Residential Purchase Agreement and Buyer's Financial Package (proof of funds, FICO, pre-approval letter) with you, highlighting any contingencies (ex: contingent on buyer's sale of current property), type of loan and what that means for you as the seller, talking to the buyer's lender for further explanation as needed, and assisting you with disclosures such as the TDS, SPQ, etc. which are expected to be provided to the buyer at time of escrow."

Daniele Kurzweil, the Friedman Team at Compass
"As a Licensed Real Estate Salesperson working in New York City, I am working in a unique area where much of our inventory is made up of Cooperatives, meaning there is approval required for every purchase. Each building is looking for a unique formula from their buyers. Someone who is not familiar with the nuances of each building might bring forward an unqualified purchaser who will simply be rejected from purchasing in the building and the seller and buyer will have wasted time and money."

7. Stress elimination 

Neeta (aka Sujata Durai), Managing Partner and Property Consultant at Chennai Dream Homes®
"A real estate agent's main job is to represent his or her client's best interests in a property transaction. If you are especially a busy executive who would rather delegate the tasks of shortlisting homes based on your criteria, managing visits, making and receiving offers from the other party, fielding numerous phone calls, emails, and meetings for coordination, you would be better off working with a Realtor, who does these exact tasks day in day out for a fee.

Many highly rated agents adhere to a professional code of conduct, and manage the process seamlessly from start to finish, so that you only need to be there for important milestones like selecting the house to buy, making the final offer after negotiations, and signing the paperwork."

Melissa Okabe, Real Estate Agent, Alta Properties
"How do you like spending your free time and weekends? Most likely your hobbies don't include driving around putting up open house signs, coordinating catering services, comparing staging prices, hosting 4–5 hour open houses on Saturday and Sunday and Broker's Opens during the week, or meeting potential buyers at any given time during the day to accommodate a showing. It's a lot of work and may cause you, the seller, unneeded stress."

8. Access to MLS listings

Daniela Andreevska, Marketing Director at Mashvisor
"Only agents and brokers have access to the MLS, which is the largest and only comprehensive source of all publicly listed properties for sale. Whether you are buying or selling, having access to the MLS will provide you with the highest exposure and the most numerous options."

Andrew Weinberger, Founder and CEO of PropertyClub
"When selling, there are two main benefits of using a realtor: better marketing and the insight and experience to properly price your home. Basically, you'll need a realtor to get your listing out there, as without one you probably can't get on the MLS or reach as many buyers through various listing sites. A realtor can also help you properly price the home, which is a big problem with FSBOs. That being said, almost all the FSBO/assisted FSBO startups use realtors, even if they're a flat fee service. You just can't get the same marketing if you're not associated with an MLS.

Another reason many sellers use an agent is due to the fact that selling a home is stressful and an agent can essentially make everything go seamlessly. This level of service is something assisted FSBO startups don't provide as their agents usually list your home (giving you access to the same marketing as a full-service agent), but do little else as you're generally expected to show the home to potential buyers yourself. My recommendation for getting the best price with the lowest fees is to list an assisted FSBO and pay an agent to run comps (comparable sales) and a CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) report for you to help you price the home. This way you pay a flat fee, saving thousands, and you have an impartial agent helping you price the home properly."

9. Full representation

Corey Fager, Owner of Buying Houses Nashville
"A good realtor should offer full service representation, which will include pulling accurate neighborhood comparable properties, giving input on pre-listing upgrades or repairs (like paint colors, decluttering, staging, etc), taking care of photography/videography, and taking the lead on negotiations once an offer is received. A realtor owes you, their client, fiduciary responsibility and full disclosure.

An experienced realtor can and should more than cover their commission by assisting in the details like price per square foot, title insurance, seller-paid closing costs, and negotiating repairs; not to mention the more complicated details like inspection and contingency periods. From my experience buying as an investor and also as a realtor, these alone are worth their commission."

Mark Block, Director of Sports/Entertainment and Luxury Sales at The Agency
"The listing agent should know the local market so that you don’t list too low or high which has major drawbacks. The agent can qualify buyers before letting them into your home. The agent can market your property and make sure that it is presented in the best light to the most buyers and agents possible through print ads, mailer eblasts, and internet ads, to name a few.

Also when it comes to negotiation, both sides can benefit from having an agent. As one CEO of a Fortune 500 company told me, it is easy to negotiate multi-million dollar deals in business, but when it gets personal it is very different."

10. Agent fees can be negotiated

Ben Mizes, CEO of Clever Real Estate 
"The average home seller pays between 5% - 6% of their home's sale price to the two agents who sell their house (both the seller's agent AND the buyer's agent). That's a lot of equity you've built up over time, gone in the blink of an eye!

Most people don't realize that commissions are negotiable. You can usually talk the agent down to 1% or 2% and save thousands. Agents can be expensive, but they also rely on you for business, so don't be afraid to negotiate. In hot areas where homes fly off the market, there's simply no reason to pay the full 6% commission."

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