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When you are buying a house, always remember that buyers and sellers are on different sides of the fence.
Both have the same goal – they want a sale – and both sides can benefit from hiring a property agent to assist, but their reasons will be different.
Doing the work yourself can save what you pay an agent, but it could end up being more costly than a realtor’s commission in the long run.
Selling or buying a home is a major financial (and emotional) undertaking. Here is why it is advisable to hire a property agent.
1. More convenience and better access
A property agent acts as a liaison between buyers and sellers. This means they will have better access the property listings of other agents.
Both the buyer and seller’s agent work full time as property agents, and they know what needs to be done to get a deal together.
They will find the house that matches your criteria if you are buying, get in touch with the seller’s agent and make appointments for viewing.
If you are doing this on your own, you will have to play this telephone tag yourself. Which may be difficult if you are shopping for homes that are for sale by the owner.
And if you are looking to sell your home yourself, you will have to solicit calls from interested parties, answer questions and make appointments.
Bear in mind that potential buyers are likely to move on if you are busy or do not respond quickly enough. Or you may make an appointment and rush home only for no one to show up.
2. Negotiating a deal is tricky and challenging
Some people find making a deal through agents tricky. They feel that direct negotiation between buyers and sellers is more transparent and allows the parties to better look after their own best interests. But this is not always an easy relationship.
Dealing directly with the owner can be challenging.
For instance, if the buyer likes the home but not the plaster ceiling and green kitchen cabinets, getting an agent to act as your messenger means you don’t have to criticise the owner’s decorating skills and complain about the cost of the potential upgrade to their face.
A seller can always reject a potential buyer’s offer for any reason. But an agent can speak for you in challenging transactions and smooth things over to keep them from getting too personal.
3. Agents are experts and know what fits you best
Buyers have a clear picture of the type of property they want, from the number of bedrooms to an attached bathroom to any number of other must-haves and deal breakers.
You would probably feel pretty comfortable looking at homes with that list tucked firmly in the back of your mind.
However, your agent will be alert to issues that might not cross your mind, such as leaks, roofing problems and so on.
They can recognise the signs of these problems and know how best to approach them. Bear in mind that this experience and knowledge can end up saving you thousands down the road.
As a buyer, you know exactly how much you want to pay for your home. But if you are the seller, is the price you have arrived at reasonable?
You might only know for sure if can compare sale prices in the area to confirm you are in the right range. Agents can do this comparative market analysis in their sleep.
4. Agents cannot tell a lie
Agents are not allowed to lie to you. Since they are licensed professionals, they must give accurate advice on what is in your best interests.
When working with a licensed property agent under an agency agreement, they are bound by law to a fiduciary relationship.
In other words, the client places special confidence in the agent, who must act in the best interests of their client.
Furthermore, most property agents rely on word of mouth to build up their network and business. Any wrong move could tarnish their business.
5. Sometimes, being penny wise is pound foolish
Some people shy away from using an agent in the hope of saving some money, but this may not end up being a win-win solution for both buyer and seller.
If you are selling your own home, you may price it based on the selling prices of other homes in your neighbourhood and you get keep the commission that otherwise would have been paid to the agent.
But the buyer may ask for a lower price, knowing how much you are saving from not using an agent. Unless both sides agree to split the savings, neither will win.
There may be some who are knowledgeable enough to sell their own home, but the long list of frequently asked questions on houses “for sale by owner” proves the process is far from simple. It can pay to have a professional in case things get messy.
This article was written by Sharina Ahmad of PropertyAdvisor.my, Malaysia’s most comprehensive source of property data, property analytics and insights.