With the rise of the internet and real estate apps, it’s no surprise that many are setting out to buy a home without an agent. After all, you’ve got thousands of properties at your fingertips. What more could a real estate expert offer you? Unfortunately, it takes more to buy a home than just finding one you like. And from putting in your first offer to final negotiations and closing, a real estate agent can help you navigate the process.
What does a real estate agent even do?
According to Hollywood, we spend a lot of time putting together charcuterie boards, driving fancy cars, and having mental breakdowns. That might be part of why 67.5% of people told Google Surveys that they don’t trust real estate agents. Luckily, Hollywood isn’t real life.
In reality, real estate is both more complex and more mundane than elaborate cheese platters and crying jags. When you buy a home, your agent helps you:
Find the right property
Search filters are great. But when you work with an agent, we bring our experience and local expertise to the search process. A good agent will take the time to figure out your needs, preferences, and hard nos. And with MLS access, we’re able to show you exclusive properties, not just what’s on the web. Plus, unlike an algorithm, we’re able to creatively problem-solve. Can’t find a four-bedroom in your price range? Maybe this loft could be converted. Love everything about a house except the weird living room? We can help you visualize a remodel and design that turns it into a dream home. When you opt to buy a home without an agent, you can look forward to long nights spent researching the market and local neighborhoods.
Offer emotional support
It’s a less tangible benefit. But that doesn’t make it any less notable. Your real estate agent serves as an advisor, a confidant, and a sounding board throughout the home buying process. And we’re not gonna lie: that process can be stressful.
We’re also able to offer an objective perspective on properties, keeping your goals at the forefront. This perspective helps when you’re on your eighth tour and ready to settle for anything just to make it stop. Nobody wants to be the guy who decides to buy a home without an agent and ends up getting less than their dream home.
What a real estate agent can’t do
Of course, even the best real estate agent has limits. For example, we can’t:
- Change the oil in your car.
- Plan your cousin’s baby shower.
- Mow your lawn.
- Walk your dog (though this one might be negotiable, depending on how cute your dog is).
All joking aside, when it comes to helping you buy a home, there’s nothing your agent can’t do. We won’t just stand in your corner. You can tag us in to handle the heavy hitting.
Who should buy a home without an agent?
As OwnUp’s Nick Clarke notes, there are some exceptional cases where buying without a real estate agent makes sense. For example, if you’re a realtor yourself or have a realtor friend willing to advise you. Or if you’re buying from a trusted family member. Otherwise, the risks, time, and energy associated with the home buying process outweigh the potential savings of handling things on your own.
Still want to fly solo?
You’re not alone. In fact, 11% of home buyers chose to forgo an agent or broker in 2019. But if you decide to take this particular less-traveled path, here’s what you should do to prepare.
Learn the market and neighborhoods
Know who to hire
If you don’t have an agent to help finalize contracts and sift through the paperwork, you’ll definitely want a real estate lawyer. One small legal mistake could cost you dearly. You’ll want to line up a lawyer’s services early so you can move quickly once you find your dream home.
Ask the right questions
Study up on negotiation strategies
Also keep in mind that personal information can—and probably will—be used against you. For example, if you drop during the open house that you’re hoping to move before the school year starts, the seller’s agent can use that information to put pressure on your timeline.
Finally, offers and counteroffers are about more than just the purchasing price. They need to include contingency clauses, inspection periods, and any other conditions that need to be met before the sale closes.
In short: want to buy a home without an agent? Just because you can doesn’t mean you should
There are lots of things you can do—swim with sharks, be your own lawyer, take your car off-roading. But when you do, you’re taking avoidable risks. Deciding to buy a home without an agent falls in this category. In the end, home sales are complicated. And real estate agents have the training, experience, and connections that the average person doesn’t. And the Resident team is ready and waiting to help you buy a home.