Should You Use a Real Estate Agent?
Are real estate agent fees worth paying? If you’re looking into selling a home, you might be weighing the pros and cons of hiring a Realtor. Some sellers will avoid hiring a Realtor because they think Realtor fees are too high. We get it! We’re all about saving money, right?
Others will avoid going the agent’s route because they’ve had a bad experience with an agent in their previous dealings. These folks will end up choosing to sell for sale by owner. But is that the right move?
And this begs the question: Is paying for Realtor fees worth it? In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the day to day life of a Realtor, and explain what it takes to become one, and why you should consider hiring an agent in your next home sale or purchase.
What Does It Take to Become a Realtor?
On a quick note, a Realtor is a real estate professional who’s an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). To become a member, aspiring agents must abide to agree by the association’s standards and adhere to its code of ethics.
That said, all Realtors are real estate agents but not all real estate agents are Realtors.
Now that we know the key difference between a Realtor and a real estate agent, what does it take to become a Realtor? Here’s what you need to know about real estate education.
First, aspiring agents have to get a real estate license. While the eligibility for licensing varies by state, all states require applicants to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, and complete 24 – 180 hours of pre-licensing education courses.
On average, real estate school costs between $100 – $900. Your costs will vary by state, school, and your preferred mode of learning.
Prospective agents must then take and pass state and federal licensing examinations before applying for licensing. Note that getting a license doesn’t automatically make you a Realtor. To become a Realtor or a member of NAR, you must first join a local real estate association, then apply for membership.
So when you are hiring a Realtor to sell your home or find you one, more than likely, you have someone who is invested in their business.
What Do Realtors Do?
Ever wondered what the typical day of a real estate agent looks like?
We are here to shed some light. According to realtor.com, for every hour a realtor spends in your presence, he or she will spend over five hours out there, putting things together to make your deal a success. Here’s what they do behind the scenes.
1. They Review MLS Activities
Houses are sold, bought, and taken off the market each day.
Agents must stay on top of the MLS to ensure their clients don’t miss their dream home. They continuously review the MLS for any pertinent listings and updates on properties of interests to their buyers and sellers.
If there are relevant changes or updates, especially those relating to pricing, contract, and listing competitiveness, they will inform their customers.
2. They Play the Middleman
Real estate agents spend a great deal of their time negotiating on your behalf.
They play the role of a middleman–taking your place in negotiating for best prices and favorable terms on all deals. Negotiations can go on for weeks or months, and during this time, agents must work hard to ensure that everyone involved is doing their part to make the deal a success.
3. They Schedule Meetings & Appointments
Real estate agents working for the buyer (buyer’s agent) always have a list of buyer-related tasks tacked onto their daily calendar. These tasks include scheduling meetings and appointments. As far as appointments are concerned, real estate agents may have to prepare for:
- Visiting properties
- Loan meetings
- Staging photos
Scheduling meetings might sound easy, but real estate agents have to contend with the ever-changing needs of their clients.
4. They Write Up Offers and Counteroffers
Offers and counteroffers are very important aspects of sales as they can save you thousands of dollars. Writing these documents is a time-consuming process, yet agents have to write them up and explain to their clients every little detail contained in the offer.
5. They’re Actively Involved in Marketing
Besides selling properties, real estate agents are also actively marketing themselves to build a personal brand. Because most people will rent, buy, or sell property at some point in time, every person an agent meets is a potential client.
That said, agents spend a great deal of time building their sphere of influence (SFO) while devising strategies to market their clients’ properties. From time to time, they will place premium ads on listing sites, distribute fliers, or even engage in paid social media advertising.
Is Paying for Realtor Fees Worth It?
Yes! Paying a real estate commission is worth every penny. Here are some reasons why you should consider hiring an agent.
First, agents know where to look and what to look for in a property. The real estate market is humongous, with houses of all shapes and sizes. To that end, looking for a specific home in a high inventory market can seem like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
If you’re buying property without a Realtor, then you’ll have to sift through all the available options yourself. However, agents know every house in the market and will do a stellar job at finding one that fits your budget. This can save you a lot of time and effort.
Secondly, a Realtor can help you evaluate and secure financing. They will help you navigate through the available financing option and help you choose the one that fits your needs. They can even help you secure financing through a mortgage broker.
Last but not the least, a Realtor will make your home buying process easy and hassle-free. When buying a house, several professionals are needed—a real estate attorney, a home inspector, title representative, etc. Getting them yourself can be tricky.
However, when you hire a Realtor, you can expect them to have a pocketbook full of all the professionals involved in the home buying process. Moreover, an agent will coordinate everything and negotiate the best price on your behalf, whether you are buying or selling.
About the author: The above article on whether paying real estate fees is worth it was written by Andrew Helling. Andrew is a licensed real estate agent, property manager, and founder of REthority, an online resource for real estate professionals and their clients