When to Hire a Realtor: Should you get a professional involved?


|13 min read

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The question of when to hire a realtor isn’t a dumb one – often, buyers and sellers decide to get a real estate agent involved in their property transaction too late (and yes, sometimes too early).

A real estate agent should be viewed as a professional and part of your team throughout the process. Experienced agents bring value, trust, and confidence to a transaction and help buyers and sellers get the most out of their real estate deals.

How do you know when to hire a realtor?

Buying or selling a house, including navigating the market and legal requirements, can be a complex and daunting process, especially if you don’t have any experience in the real estate industry. A real estate agent helps bridge that knowledge gap. While some people choose to navigate the process independently, most seek the assistance of a professional real estate agent, also known as a realtor. But when is the right time to hire a realtor?

when to hire a real estate agent

Hire a Real Estate Agent when Buying a Property

It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time homebuyer or have extensive experience buying and selling real estate; hiring a real estate agent to help with your house purchase is almost always a smart decision.

What does a buyer’s agent do for you?

When hiring a real estate agent for a purchase, you’re hiring what’s known as a buyer’s agent. A good buyer’s agent will guide you through the entire process, from helping you understand your budget and financing options to finding the right properties.

Buyer’s real estate agents constantly have their ear to the ground and are on the hunt to find homes. They’re looking for houses that meet their buyer’s requirements within a designated budget. They know how to shorten the time-consuming property search and uncover the special home that meets your needs and preferences.

A buying agent is a skilled negotiator and communicator who works to get the best deal possible for the clients. They are trained to complete the necessary paperwork, arrange a home inspection, and help you fulfill your legal requirements. Think of your agent as your partner and real estate concierge service. They have your best interests front of mind and will apply your financial and personal requirements to your home search.

A real estate agent is your location expert.

A scenario where it’s best to hire a real estate agent is when you’re looking for a home in a new location. A great real estate agent is an expert on their city and intimately knows each neighborhood.

If you’re not familiar with the area, real estate agents can provide you with valuable insights and information about the local real estate market, including the best neighborhoods, schools, and amenities. Before starting the buying process, an agent will help you narrow down where you want to live and introduce you to the community. They’ll understand what areas have the best schools, entertainment, or recreation that fits your lifestyle.

>> AGENT ANSWERS: If I meet with an agent am I required to hire them?

Lastly, an agent can also help you navigate any unique challenges or considerations that may come up in the home-buying process. For example, if you’re considering new construction or a major renovation, then you need to understand local zoning and how property taxes will be impacted.

Let your agent be your location and neighborhood expert so you can focus on choosing the right property for the best price.

Who pays a buyer’s agent’s commission?

Did you know that you don’t pay your agent’s real estate commission as a buyer? So if you’re considering hiring a real estate agent for your next purchase but are worried about the cost, don’t worry.

Realtor fees can be complicated to understand, especially if you haven’t been involved in a property transaction before. Instead of the buyer paying their agent, the selling agent actually pays the buyer’s agent a commission fee.

At closing, the seller’s agent will receive their disclosed commission (usually 6%). From that commission, they will pay a portion to the buyer’s agent as compensation for bringing the buyer to the deal.

When should you engage a buyer’s agent?

If you’re ready to start looking at properties, first start by talking to local agents who know your market. FastExpert allows you to search through thousands of agents, read verified reviews, and find a trusted agent to help you find your dream home.

The right time to engage a buyer’s agent is after you’ve obtained your pre-approval. A pre-approval letter will ensure you know your budget and are ready to make offers at any time during your home search.

Once you have your pre-approval in hand (unless you’re an all-cash buyer, then this isn’t necessary), it’s time to engage a buyer’s agent. They will present homes, conduct inspections, and help negotiate a deal. This could mean that you’re working with a real estate professional for a few weeks or several months. Your buyer’s agent guides you through every step of the property transaction, from presenting homes to viewings to signing the dotted line, inspections, and closing.

Hire a Real Estate Agent when Selling a Property.

Hiring a realtor is always advised if you’re listing any type of property. A property transaction involves a significant amount of money, and you want to ensure you have the right person representing your interests.

What does a seller’s agent do for you?

An experienced real estate agent, like those found on FastExpert, will start by delivering a listing presentation and then helping you price your home appropriately. The pricing strategy applied to a listing is crucial and should reflect the property’s market value, market conditions, and your sale timeline needs.

Typically, the lower you price a home, the more attention it will attract. The motivation behind a lower asking price is that it leads to multiple offers. However, this strategy doesn’t apply to all markets. An experienced agent will be your best guide on pricing, will implement marketing strategies, hold open houses, and negotiate on your behalf to get the best possible price. Furthermore, experienced agents will know how to handle the paperwork and legal requirements involved in the selling process, which can be time-consuming and confusing for those unfamiliar.

Most sellers only transact real estate a few times in their lives, while a seller’s agent navigates transactions all year long. Leverage their experience and expertise to ensure your property achieves the best sale price.

When should you hire a selling agent?

You hire a selling agent when you sign a listing agreement. This document breaks down their services, how long they have the right to list the property, and their commission rate.

If you’re considering listing a house, it’s best to get an agent involved early in the process. A realtor can provide valuable insights and advice on preparing your property for sale, which can ultimately help you achieve a much higher sale price. For example, they may suggest minor repairs or improvements that can help increase your property’s value or give top tips for making it more appealing to potential buyers.

Furthermore, they know how to stage your home – or where to find the best professional stagers. This process can take time as it involves arranging furniture and decor to showcase your property’s best features and helps buyers envision themselves living there.

If possible, consider engaging a real estate agent at least three months before listing your home on the market.

What is the cost of hiring a real estate agent to sell your home?

The commission paid to a real estate agent varies depending on the location, the type of property, and the agency they work for. On average, a real estate commission is a percentage of the sale price, typically between 5% to 6%.

For example, if you sell a property for $500,000, and the commission rate is 5%, the commission paid to the agent would be $25,000. This amount is then split between the buying and selling agents. This means that only the seller pays a fee in a typical real estate transaction.

Sellers should keep in mind that a commission percentage is negotiable. However, it’s essential to consider the services the agent provides before negotiating the commission.

Great agents have years of experience in the real estate industry and have helped numerous clients buy and sell properties. They know how the sale process works and how to communicate with buyers and their representatives. They can provide insights gathered from their years in the market and advise clients, helping them make informed decisions about their sales.

hiring a real estate agent

Seller’s agents add value to a home sale.

A real estate agent should be more than just a representative that conducts tours and answers phone calls. Their job is to add value to a property sale by giving guidance on the home selling process, insights on the local market, tips on how to improve your home, outstanding customer service, and help you achieve the highest possible price.

A good real estate agent provides valuable services that justify their commission, including:

  • Expert guidance on how to price a home.
  • Advice on property condition, repairs, and improvements to increase the sales price.
  • Insights into the local market to help sellers make informed decisions.
  • Access to a network of agents and their buyers.
  • Hosting open houses and private inspections.
  • Professional marketing materials (at their own cost).
  • A skilled handling of negotiations.
  • Completion of paperwork to ensure the sale is legally binding.
  • Sale timeline management.

How to hire a sales agent.

Who you engage as your sales agent will impact the success of your home sale. Sellers need a professional who is an expert in their area, has an extensive network, knows how to add value, and has outstanding negotiation skills.

Here are some tips to help sellers find the right real estate agent:

  • Get referrals: One of the best ways to find a sales real estate agent is to get referrals from people you trust. Ask your friends and family members who have recently sold a property about their experience with their real estate agent.
  • Check online reviews: Nowadays, you can find online reviews for almost everything, including real estate agents. FastExpert is a trustworthy resource for reviews on local agents and can help sellers compare top agents in their area. You can also check their social media profiles, Google reviews, and Yelp. Read both the positive and negative reviews to get a balanced perspective.
  • Research experience: Just because an agent has been working in real estate for many years doesn’t necessarily guarantee quality service, but it does indicate experience. Find an agent with a proven track record of sales in your area and within the same price range as your home.
  • Check their credentials: Licensed real estate agents are required to complete coursework and pass their state exam. Verify their license on your state’s real estate regulatory agency website.
  • Interview potential agents: Once you have narrowed down your list of potential agents, schedule interviews with them. This is your opportunity to ask them about their experience, sales history, marketing tactics, and commission rates. It is also an opportunity to get a sense of their communication style and personality to ensure they are a good fit for you.
  • Talk to references: Don’t be afraid to ask potential agents for references from past clients and then actually call them. You’d be surprised by how many sellers never talk to the references agents provide. Talking to someone who has worked with the agent before will provide first-hand insight into their experience and working style.

Hire a Real Estate Agent When Investing in Real Estate

If you’re considering investing in real estate, hiring a realtor can be extremely beneficial. A good realtor can help you identify investment properties that meet your criteria and deliver outperforming returns.

>> AGENT ANSWERS: Should I hire an agent willing to work for 1% commission?

Why should you hire an agent when investing?

Beyond the typical services offered by a buyer’s agent, a real estate agent who specializes in investments should offer the following:

  • Experience & expertise: Investment agents have insights and advice on finding profitable investment property; often, they are investors themselves.
  • Access to listings: Agents have access to a wide range of property listings both on and off the MLS.
  • Negotiation skills: Get the best deal and avoid costly mistakes with a professional negotiator handling your transaction.
  • Time savings: Time is money, and searching for a deal on an investment can be time-consuming. Agents save time by searching for properties, scheduling property viewings, and arranging inspections.
  • Legal expertise: Experienced agents are knowledgeable about the legal aspects of buying a property, including zoning laws, property taxes, title, and financing options.
  • Network of professionals: Get access to a network of professionals, such as investment mortgage brokers, inspectors, and contractors.
  • Objectivity: An investment agent will help buyers remain objective and avoid becoming emotionally attached to a property, resulting in them overlooking potentially costly issues.
  • Assistance with due diligence: When investing, due diligence, involving researching and evaluating a property before making an offer, is absolutely critical. The due diligence process can include reviewing property records, assessing the property’s condition, and evaluating potential rental income.
  • After-sales support: After-sales support can include finding tenants, managing the property, and providing ongoing advice and support.

How to hire an investment agent.

The process of hiring an investment agent is similar to hiring a buyer’s agent, but you’re going to want to ask some extra questions about their experience and knowledge, including:

  • What experience do you have helping clients buy investment properties?
  • Do you specialize in any types of investment properties? Why?
  • What are the current trends in the local market that could impact investment opportunities?
  • What’s your strategy for identifying potential investment properties, and what criteria do you use to evaluate suitability?
  • Do you have access to off-market investments?
  • Do you analyze the financial potential of an investment property? What’s your process?
  • Do you stay informed about changes in laws and regulations that could impact real estate investments? What are some recent changes I should be aware of?
  • What are the typical costs associated with purchasing and managing an investment property in your area?

Hire real estate agents for all real estate transactions for professional guidance.

A real estate agent is a licensed professional with the knowledge and expertise to help clients make informed decisions and protect their interests when transacting real estate. It doesn’t matter if you’re listing a multimillion-dollar house or purchasing a small condo; a good agent can help save money and time.

Experience and Expertise

Great agents have years of experience in the real estate industry and have helped numerous clients buy and sell properties. The experience of a good agent is invaluable when buying or selling property.

Agents have intimate knowledge of the local market, including current home sales, trends, buyer preferences, comparable property values, and neighborhoods. Real estate agents navigate the property market full-time, meaning they have a solid grasp of the property cycle, finance conditions, and how different areas are developing. They can provide insights gathered from their years in the market and advise clients, helping them make informed decisions about their sales and acquisitions.

Not every property transaction is simple. Agents leverage their knowledge to help clients navigate their offers and contract conditions.

Marketing and Advertising

When selling a property, it’s important to reach as many potential buyers as possible, and that’s accomplished through a planned marketing strategy.

Real estate agents have access to a wide range of marketing and advertising tools that can help increase the visibility of a property. They should be current on the latest digital marketing techniques and leverage other platforms like social media, professional databases, and their agency’s website to increase the chances of attracting interested parties.

Negotiation Skills

A realtor has the necessary skills to negotiate with buyers or sellers, ensuring their clients get the best possible deal. For example, they can help clients make an offer that’s in line with the property’s market value and negotiate with the seller on their behalf. Similarly, when selling a home, a realtor can help negotiate offers from potential buyers, ensuring their clients get the maximum price for their property.

Network of Professionals

Realtors have an extensive network of professionals they work with, including lenders, inspectors, appraisers, and attorneys. Great agents recommend high-quality professionals to their clients, ensuring they have access to the best services for their transactions. Additionally, realtors can coordinate with these professionals on behalf of their clients, ensuring a smooth and successful transaction.

Buying or selling a property involves a lot of paperwork, which can be overwhelming for many people. Realtors have training and experience handling all the necessary paperwork. They ensure all documentation is completed accurately and on time. Furthermore, their expertise becomes invaluable if their clients must navigate legal issues that could arise during the transaction, ensuring a successful and stress-free process.

Hiring a realtor is essential for buying and selling a property. They bring a wealth of knowledge, experience, and expertise to the transaction, ensuring a successful and hassle-free process. Realtors help clients navigate the complex real estate market, market and advertise a property, negotiate on their behalf, recommend and coordinate with professionals, and handle all the necessary paperwork and legal issues. If you’re planning to buy or sell a property, hiring a realtor can be one of your best decisions.

How to hire a real estate agent.

If you’re ready to hire a real estate agent, start your own research by discovering the professionals in your area. FastExpert gives you easy access to online reviews to find experienced local real estate agents.

The right realtor is a professional with a strong track record and understands the important factors you are looking for in your deal. Take your time and interview several real estate agents and ask for references. Want a little more guidance? Here are 6 tips for hiring the best real estate agent.

Kelsey Heath

Kelsey Heath is a real estate content specialist with an extensive background in residential, industrial, and commercial property. She has been involved in the industry for a decade as a professional and personal investor, gaining a deep understanding of the market and trends. With a passion for written communication, Kelsey loves helping people understand the sometimes-complicated concepts behind real estate and is now a sought-out guest and ghostwriter.

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