The short answer is no, but not using a realtor, instead thinking you can use the internet as your only means of information is short-sighted. From researching the projected cost of utilities to local zoning restrictions, you’re going to invest countless hours in research before making an offer. As a buyer, and especially as a seller, you will invest a much greater amount of time, and incur a much greater amount of opportunity cost, than you originally expected.
A real estate agent’s full-time job is to act as a liaison between buyers and sellers, meaning they have easy access to all other properties listed by other agents. Both the buyer’s and seller’s agents know how to make a deal come together. If you’re looking to buy a home, a real estate agent will find homes that meet your criteria, get in touch with sellers’ agents and make appointments for you to view the properties If you choose to go it alone you have to do all this work and make these calls yourself. It’s particularly difficult for homes that are for sale by owner.
Many people believe direct negotiation between buyers and sellers is more transparent and allows stronger focus on their own best interests. A real estate agent is your buffer during the transaction, preventing the bad blood between a buyer and seller that can kill a deal. You can express concerns about upgrading, redecorating, or remodeling the home without possibly insulting the owner if you use an agent. Your agent can convey your concerns to the sellers’ agent. Acting as a messenger, the agent may be in a better position to negotiate a discount. An agent can help by speaking for you in tough negotiations and keep things professional. This can put you in a better position to get the house you want.
An experienced real estate agent deals with the same contracts and conditions on a regular basis, and is familiar with which conditions should be used, when they can safely be removed, and how to use the contract to protect you. When buying a home, the offer to purchase contract is there to secure your interests and ensure you can back out of the deal if certain conditions aren’t met. For example, if you plan to buy a home with a mortgage and you aren’t approved for the loan, you can lose your deposit on the home and could even be sued by the seller for failing to fulfill your end of the contract.
If you are working with a licensed real estate agent under an agency agreement, the agent is bound by license law to act in their clients’ best interest: yours. In addition, most realtors rely on referrals and repeat business to build the kind of clientele base they’ll need to survive in the business. This means that doing what’s best for their clients should be as important to them as any individual sale.
One significant consideration when buying a home is the history of the property. Real estate disclosure statements are the buyer’s opportunity to learn as much as they can about the property and the seller’s experience in it. Seller disclosures range from knowledge of leaky windows to DIY work that doesn’t require a permit, to information about a major construction or development project nearby. Disclosure documents serve to inform buyers, but they can also protect the sellers from future legal action. The seller should reveal anything that can negatively affect the value, usefulness or enjoyment of the property.
Both parties in the process want assurance the transaction is handled professionally, and that they will get the best deal possible, whether they are buying or selling. All buyers benefit from an agent who explains less obvious features and faults of a property will work with the buyer to find the home that is right for them at the right price. In the end, buyers and sellers want a comfortable and smooth real estate process.