How to Weigh the Pros and Cons of Hiring an Estate Agent

Estate Agent selling a house at dusk with a garage.

Real estate is a tricky business. Everyone seems to have an opinion about it, and every opinion is different. One of the big debating points is always whether or not you should hire an estate agent. 

Hollywood movies haven’t exactly done the profession any favors, with the stereotype of the slick, well-dressed, and cunning realtor being imprinted in many people’s minds. But some would argue that the image exists for a reason. 

Whether you want to buy a house in Canada, or if you’re looking at the properties available via Great Colorado Homes, you want to make sure that you’re making an informed decision by surrounding yourself with the right people. This article looks at reasons why (and why not) to hire an estate agent to help you find a home.

Know What You’re Looking For

Before you even consider talking to an estate agent, make sure you know what you want. Are you part of a family of four who need a big house and a yard for a dog, or are you single and looking for an apartment in a building? Do you plan on living there yourself, or do you want to rent it out? Knowing exactly what your needs are will make it harder for other people to try and talk you into something that won’t make you happy.

The Internet is Your Friend

Do some digging of your own. Search properties online that might appeal to you. You’ll be able to gauge the price range and see what’s on the market and find out more about the agents.

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An Estate Agent multitasking with an iPad and a cup of coffee.

Visit Some Open Houses

Looking at open houses over the weekend might sound tedious, but it can also be an ideal opportunity. You might be lucky and walk into a house that works perfectly for you, but you’ll also have the chance to meet and talk to agents. 

Get a feel for them and see how they conduct business. You might find someone who has what you want. These days, virtual viewings have been becoming increasingly popular.

What to Look for in an Agent

Before you contact an agent, try getting information about them beforehand. The first thing to check is whether or not they cover the area you’re interested in, which already narrows down the list of potential candidates quite a bit. 

If they have a website (which they should), check their referrals. Former clients often give a good insight into someone’s capabilities and can provide you with advice on how to proceed. This will also give you an indication of how trustworthy they are.

Estate Agent showing clients a house.

Pros of Getting an Estate Agent

They Save You Time, For Free

The first big benefit of working with an estate agent is that they do a lot of the dirty work for you. A good agent will weed out listings that don’t fit your specifications and sniff out any dirty deals. They are further motivated by the fact that they’ll only get their commission once they make a sale, so they’re pressed for time.

Negotiation

It’s much easier for someone with industry experience to navigate the murky waters of negotiating a deal between buyer and seller. An agent can talk a seller down from an astronomical price while encouraging a buyer to consider putting some more money towards a property that is truly worth it.

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Getting There First

Because they have their ears to the ground, estate agents are the first to know when a new property goes on sale. They might be able to get you to your dream home before someone else gets it.

A stack of coins with a house and a plant growing out of it, representing an Estate Agent's success.

Cons of Getting an Estate Agent

They Don’t Always Listen

Some agents can be so fixed on making a sale that they’ll try to take you to every house out there. This can be very time-consuming and frustrating as there is nothing worse than having to walk through a house that you can already see won’t work from the outside. 

Make sure to be firm and clear in your specifications. You are perfectly within your rights to refuse to look at a property you don’t want to look at.

Saving on Commission

Although agents generally only take somewhere between three and five percent commission, this could still be a significant amount if you are purchasing a property that is worth a lot of money.

Concealment

Although it is unfair to think of all estate agents this way, the fact is that not all of them play open cards. They might not disclose all the unseen problems a house has, leaving you with costly repairs and installments later on.

It’s Your Call

At the end of the day, whether you use an estate agent or not is up to you. Both approaches hold merit and risks. Although most people still make use of their services, people can purchase homes on their own. It’s merely a question of what your needs are and what you are willing to do and put up with.

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If you have the time, the know-how, and the motivation, it might make sense for you to go it alone. For the majority of folks, it may be a better idea to get representation for things like these. 

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