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1. Understand disclosures, paperwork, and contingencies.
For buyers and sellers, there are documents that must be created and signed as part of the buying and selling process. Some states require the seller to fill out a seller’s disclosure before listing the property. When the buyer is ready to make an offer, the agent will help write it — including any contingencies that the buyer wants or needs to include.
A real estate agent can explain each document and make sure you understand what you’re signing as well as help you navigate the contingencies you should include in the offer.
2. Negotiate on your behalf.
Buyers and sellers can negotiate a number of different variables after an offer is made but before the seller accepts, including the home’s price, who pays closing costs, repairs, and the closing date itself. Having a real estate agent act as the negotiator and intermediary can make the process easier for both parties.
3. Access to pocket listings.
Real estate agents work closely with other agents to keep up-to-date on current listings and upcoming listings.
A pocket listing is a listing that isn’t marketed through the usual public channels. Instead, it is shared privately among agents or directly with clients who may be interested.
Working with an agent means they may be able to find a home that you’ll love before it’s listed on the multiple listing service (MLS), possibly giving you the first look and a chance to scoop it up quickly.
4. Relationships with vendors.
Galbally explains that “a good agent doesn’t just put the property on the market. They use their relationships and influence to get their client the smoothest transaction.”
Real estate agents who have been in business for some time have also built relationships with various companies and vendors, so they can help the buying and selling process go as smoothly as possible. Working with an agent gives you access to the agent’s network of lenders, photographers, staging companies, contractors, and more.
Even if you decide to work with an iBuyer, Galbally says that an agent can help facilitate the process. “I have a relationship with those people so that when I bring them a property, they’re giving me over what they would give anyone else.”
As a result of these relationships, he was able to get one client $32,000 over what they likely would have netted had they gone the traditional route. So even with the growing presence of iBuyers, the agent is still integral to a successful transaction.
5. Handle the logistics.
There are a lot of logistics that go into a home search. Coordinating showing times, making an offer, negotiating price, and facilitating the closing process are all things that a skilled agent will handle while you go about your daily life — and pack up your home and prepare for the move.
Although it’s definitely possible for buyers and sellers to handle these things on their own, it takes a lot of time away from daily tasks and responsibilities. There’s a reason why agenting is a full-time job!
Galbally points out that agents do these tasks every day. Because of this, he says, “I know a lot of the pitfalls that are going to come up along the way, and that’s what I save my clients from. I make the process smoother with far less hiccups and problems.”
6. Do the legwork.
Let’s face it, most of us are busy with our daily lives — work, family, social gatherings — and don’t have the time to contact people who may want to sell their homes in the neighborhood we’ve been dreaming of. Luckily, that’s the real estate agent’s job!
Allen calls this “circle prospecting.” Agents will reach out to homeowners in certain neighborhoods to see if they’re interested in selling.
“It’s almost like creating your own inventory for your buyers because there’s just not a lot out there right now,” says Allen.
Whether they’re reaching out to homeowners in your dream neighborhood or sending out mailers to see who’s willing to sell, they’re doing the work that you simply can’t or don’t have time to do.