I’m Planning to Buy a House in the DC area. Do I Really Need a Realtor?
Let me guess: you’ve been searching for homes online and attending open houses. You may even be pre-qualified for a mortgage. You are ready to take your home search off-line. Do you really need a Buyer’s Agent? Or should you work with the property’s listing agent?
I am both a listing agent and a buyer’s agent. As such, I can say without a doubt that every buyer should have their own agent representing their interests.
Working with a buyer’s agent to purchase property is one of the smartest decisions you can make as a home buyer. Realtors do much more than just show homes. Here’s what a real estate agent can do for you:
1) Your realtor can get you into homes that don’t have open houses. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a house in private without crowds of people and the listing agent breathing down your neck? YES!
2) Your realtor can recommend mortgage lenders who are proven performers and whose pre-approval letters actually mean they can approve your loan. I can’t tell you how many times a buyer will insist on using their cousin, friend of a friend, on-line lender, etc. and the deal falls apart at the last minute. If a realtor recommends a lender, you can be sure that person has a track record – be willing to at least interview the realtor-recommended lender.
3) Your realtor can recognize and point out some of the pluses and minuses of a home that you might not be aware of, such as repair issues, resale viability, etc.
4) Your realtor will (hopefully) be experienced negotiating the terms of your offer, and be familiar with the legal documents required for your purchase. You will get a thorough explanation of the contract and addendums you will be required to sign.
5) Your realtor can recommend resources that you will need both prior to and after purchasing your home, such as: home inspectors, termite inspectors, roofers, contractors, handymen, etc.
6) After purchase, your realtor can keep you apprised of your home’s value over time. Just call and ask.
The bottom line is that your realtor should be happy to help you with information, referrals, and resources that you need as long as you own your home. They are also virtually FREE* for home buyers – where else can you get this type of service for no cost. But it’s important to find an experienced agent you like and feel comfortable working with.
Related Post: How Much Are Homes in Washington DC?
If you are considering working with the listing agent of a property, just remember that the listing agent represents the Seller. This means they are not looking out for your best interest. The listing agent is legally required to be honest in your dealings, but they will not do anything to benefit you at the expense of their client. Some buyers think that they can negotiate a lower price by working with the listing agent. Listing agent commissions are negotiated prior to the listing of the property. Typically, working with the listing agent doubles their commission but has little positive impact for the buyers.
The bottom line is, unless you are a real estate expert, get someone on your side who is. You have much more to lose than to gain, going it alone.
*Most real estate brokerages charge an administrative fee, due at the time of settlement of the property. No settlement, no fee. Typically the fee ranges from $250-$400, and is charged whether you hire a buyer’s agent or work with the listing agent.
I love living, working and playing in the Washington DC area and will be a true advocate for you before, during, and after your home purchase. Whether you are looking at a home, rowhouse or luxury condo anywhere in the DC real estate area, you can be sure your needs will be met and your requirements for a home taken as my top priority. It really pays to have someone who knows the area.
Not only do I represent buyers and sellers of DC Property, but I also represent MD Real Estate and Virginia Real Estate as well. I am your exclusive Long and Foster Real Estate Professional. Click here to learn more about me.