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When to Say “NO” to FSBO: Top Reasons to Use a Real Estate Agent to Buy or Sell a Home

Buying and selling a home will be the largest financial decisions many people will make, so thinking about how and when to save money on the purchase or sale of a home makes sense. Without knowing all of the details, it can seem like selling and buying a home on your own is the way to go. After all, why spend money on a commission for a real estate agent when you can DIY? While selling or buying a home on your own can seem tempting, using a real estate agent actually makes more sense, financially and logistically, when you start to consider the potential roadblocks of doing it on your own.

Lower Sales Price

Homes sold by owners without a real estate agent often sell for less. According to the National Association of Realtors, in 2022, the median home sale price for homes sold by owners was just $225,000 compared to a median price of $345,000 for agent-represented sales. A real estate agent has the knowledge and experience to price your home correctly, market it effectively, and for both buyers and sellers, negotiate the best possible deal. Something else to consider: If you do try to save money on a commission by selling or buying a home without professional help, you’ll be responsible for all the leg work (which is a lot). Remember the saying, “Time is money?” When selling your home without a qualified real estate professional, expect to spend dozens of hours showing your home (or arranging times to view homes if buying), collecting information and paperwork, learning the details needed to comply with the law, and ensuring you have everything you need to close.

Inaccurate Information and Potential Fraud

Online information about a home may be inaccurate, such as certain features or the age of the property. A real estate agent will know the red flags, the questions to ask, and when to bring in an expert for evaluation. An experienced agent will also have a well-vetted list of inspectors, contractors, and other professionals to call on when needed. Moreover, the number of con artists carrying out housing-related scams is increasing every day. A real estate agent has access to detailed, vital information and will what to look for to make sure everything is legitimate. An agent also works closely with all other parties involved, like the lender and title company, to ensure there are no potential issues that would interfere with a smooth closing.

Real Estate Contracts

Unless you’re familiar with real estate contracts, you’ll likely need a lawyer to help you draft an offer and a sales contract. Even if the seller provides the contract, it would be ideal to have a real estate lawyer or similar real estate professional review the seller’s contract. You could make costly mistakes if you aren’t reasonably well informed about standard real estate clauses, required legal disclosures, and your local real estate market.

The Bottom Line: Save Time, Avoid Unexpected Costs, and Get Expert Guidance

Real estate agents have a deep understanding of the local market and current trends. They’ve been through the process many times and they’ve experienced a variety of different circumstances, so they know how to spot red flags and avoid potential setbacks (or effectively deal with those that are unavoidable). Agents also have access to the right contacts and tools. An experienced agent will have a network of contacts from lenders and inspectors to contractors and home stagers. They know who to contact to get something taken care of quickly and correctly. In addition, real estate agents have access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), which is a database of all homes for sale in the area. They can likely show you homes you may not be able to find on your own.

Before deciding to forego using a real estate agent to save money on buying or selling a home, keep in mind that real estate agents are skilled negotiators. They can help you get the best possible price for your home and the best possible terms in your contract, thus saving you money (and time) in the long run.

If you are buying or selling a home and have questions about the process, call Attorney’s Title Group. Our experienced team of real estate attorneys, title experts, and closing pros can help. We have offices in Little Rock, Conway, and Northwest Arkansas, and we provide statewide services throughout Arkansas, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Call us at (501) 734-2233 or contact us online.