You can sell or buy a home in Florida without a realtor. However, just because you’re allowed to doesn’t mean it’s the best idea. Whether you’re planning to buy or sell, having a qualified realtor on your side to guide you and represent your interests is always a good idea.
Below, we’ll explore the top reasons to hire a real estate agent.
1. Realtors Know the Contracts & The Process
Buying or selling a home comes with its own step-by-step process. A realtor guides you through, answering your questions and advocating for your best interests every step of the way. Realtors in Florida also handle the contract, as well as all addendums, from start to finish. Lawyers aren’t typically used in a residential real estate transaction in Florida. Your realtor is the person you ask questions to about the contract, can help you review your home inspection report, answer if your offer is competitive enough, or help decide if it’d be practical to add a bathroom to the home you’re interested in or if you should just look at a different property.
Let’s consider even just a few of the decisions that your realtor will be able to help you with:
- Should I get a home inspection?
- What home sale contingencies do I need to add to my offer?
- What type of mortgage can I qualify for if my credit isn’t the best?
- Are there any red flags in the inspection report?
- How do escalation clauses work?
- How do I switch over utilities?
- What changes could I make to the home so that it will sell faster or for more money?
- How much should I list my house for?
- Is this offer the right one? Or should I hold out for a better one?
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2. Working with a Realtor is Financially Beneficial
Realtors don’t work for free. Commission fees on a home sale in Florida typically equal 5 to 6 percent of the purchase price, with half going to the buyer’s realtor and half to the seller’s. But that doesn’t mean using a realtor will set you back. In most cases, using a realtor, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, will actually benefit you financially.
Sellers who work with a listing agent tend to sell their homes for more money than those who go the for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) route. In 2021, a typical FSBO home sold for a median price of $225,000. Agent-assisted homes sold for 42 percent more, with a median sale price of $345,000.
A listing agent helps you price your home for sale and negotiate the final contract. They also market your home, take photos, handle open houses, and put a lot of time and effort into helping your home sell for top dollar. Seller’s realtors help you navigate contingencies and concessions so that you’re left with a home sale contract that you understand and meets your financial goals.
Buyers who work with a real estate agent win out too. In fact, they don’t technically pay their realtor anything. Sellers typically cover realtor commission fees, so while it’s factored into the cost of the property you’re buying, it’s not one of the direct expenses you take on as a buyer.
For buyers, realtors can really help you avoid making costly mistakes, such as forgoing crucial contingencies, ignoring first-time homebuyer programs, or taking on too big and too expensive of a fixer-upper. All of those mistakes can hurt your financial situation and potentially lock you into a home contract that you don’t want to be in.
3. Realtors Help You Find Hidden Properties
One of the top reasons to hire a real estate agent is to help find houses. While you can easily find house listings online thanks to websites like Zillow, there’s no guarantee that you can find what you’re looking for when you’re looking for it. In fact, the majority of American home buyers feel that finding the right property is the most difficult step in the home-buying process.
And it’s a difficult step you don’t have to take alone.
Realtors have the resources and connections to make your home search simpler and more effective. They know other realtors who have clients who are looking to buy and sell. They have access to a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). And they learn about properties coming for sale before they even pop up on websites like Zillow.
4. Realtors Help You Find Buyers
Realtors also help home sellers locate and connect with buyers. They will market your home and ask colleagues what their home-buying clients are looking for. They’ll also create an MLS listing that automatically appears on Realtor.com, local agent websites, and sites like Redfin. When you work with a realtor, these marketing expenses are covered by the real estate commission.
5. Realtors Have Valuable Connections
Along with knowledge and experience, realtors have valuable connections that you’d miss out on if you decide not to use one.
- Other realtors with clients looking to buy or sell
- Mortgage lenders who offer pre-approvals outside of normal business hours
- A reputable title insurance company
- Trusted home inspection and pest inspection companies
- Roofers and other contractors who can offer quotes to help with post-inspection negotiations
- Contractors who can make needed home repairs before closing
- Top-notch real estate photographers and home stagers
6. Realtors Save You Time
A lot of time and energy goes into successfully selling or buying a home. When you work with a realtor, they handle most of the work. Listing agents take care of photographs and listing the home, pricing the home for sale, hosting open houses, and more. Buyer’s agents find properties for you, schedule showings, and manage communication with the seller’s agent. Real estate agents also handle the paperwork, ensuring everything is submitted properly and on time.
With your realtor handling all of that, you can focus on other related tasks. For example, finding a new job, preparing your kids to move, packing up your belongings, and getting your budget in order.
7. Realtors Don’t Let Emotions Get in the Way
Buying a house or selling your home is an emotional process. Your home is filled with memories, which can influence how you perceive its value. You might be so stressed about buying your next house that you’d overlook major, financially risky red flags.
Realtors don’t get emotional.
They aren’t attached to homes that you’re looking at or selling.
While that might sound cold, it’s not. It’s one of the greatest assets a realtor brings to the table. They can help you see what a property is actually worth, point out those red flags, and guide you to sell your house for a realistic price in a realistic time frame.
When you hire a realtor, you have a voice of reason on your side as you make perhaps the largest transaction of your life.