Do I Need a Real Estate Agent to Purchase or Sell a Property?

Filed under: Real Estate Law

The do-it-yourself lifestyle has grown in popularity thanks to the easy availability of information on the Internet. Those who are budget conscious or enjoy a challenge have adopted a pioneering attitude toward home repairs, vehicle modifications, and other areas of life. It’s understandable then, if you’re in the market to buy or sell a home, to wonder: “Do I really need a real estate agent for this?”

To answer that question, let’s discuss what real estate agents do for their clients.

If you’re selling a home… Sure, there are plenty of sites online where you can advertise your home for sale. If there are not a lot of homes for sale in your neighborhood you might generate a lot of interest and spend time showing your home to prospective buyers.

But locating buyers and scheduling showings is a fraction of the services that real estate agents provide. The real work starts when it’s time to negotiate a price and contract terms, collect earnest money deposits, schedule home inspections, make property disclosures, and close the deal. Each of these steps can be complicated and if you are not familiar with handling a real estate transaction you could end up facing legal issues. Would-be buyers can be easily spooked if things don’t proceed as planned and having a real estate agent at your side can often keep the buyer in the transaction.

Then there’s one of the biggest potential problems of all: It’s possible that after closing the sale, the new owners could discover something that leaves them less than thrilled with the purchase. If all steps of the sales process were not followed precisely according to the law, you could be named in a lawsuit. Especially in California there are significant disclosure requirements and the sellers must comply to protect themselves from post-transaction claims. An agent will assist in that process by providing all of the necessary forms and helping you understand the critical importance of full disclosure.

Real estate agents are intimately familiar with those steps; therefore part of their job is to try to prevent after-closing issues which can cause significant stress and financial loss for both buyers and sellers.

If you’re buying a home… Many of the same rules apply, but in reverse since the agent is now representing you as a buyer. A real estate agent will help you negotiate the best price and terms, and walk you through each step until closing day. An experienced real estate agent will look for signs of potential issues, and can direct you to the right people to solve the issues before they become legal problems. Simply put, there is a ton of WORK involved on both sides of a home sale, work you will be hard pressed to complete properly and in a timely fashion on your own without any guidance.

Even if you enjoy the DIY way of life, applying that approach to potentially the largest financial investment of your lifetime deserves a second thought. We would suggest that you contact our real estate attorneys if you have questions about the home buying or selling process. We can address any concerns you might have regarding real estate agents. In the vast majority of cases, utilizing the services of a knowledgeable agent can save you both money and heartache down the road.

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