With the rise of online tools to help you search to buy, rent or sell your property/ workspace, you might think a real estate agency is redundant. Some might say agents are biased, disinterested, even dishonest and lazy. While doing the work yourself can save you the what might seem like significant commission fees that some real estate agents command, for many, going it alone may not be the way to go–and could end up being more costly than an agency commission in the long run. Buying or selling a property is a major financial (and emotional) undertaking.
Here are some reasons why we recommend you to re-think going it alone….
We have been on the market since 2006, with tens of thousands of hours of experience put into the business. This is something each of the team does for 2000 hours per year. Our job is to know the areas and districts of Bucharest, Brasov and surrounding counties, the past and future development, the values, the potential that a property offers, a good investment from a risky investment, the bus routes, schools, shopping centers, places of worship, best hospitals, coffee shops and entertainment spots.
A typical client might make one transaction every number of years. Sometimes only 3 or 4 property transactions in a lifetime. A simple mistake such as buying/ renting a place with hidden problems can cost dearly. Like a bad choice of sleeping mattress, a property is something that effects every day of our lives. Commute times, work performance, comfort, mental or physical health, strain on our relationships. These are just a few of the things that suffer as a result of poor choices.
Not every real estate agency can offer the right experience of course, but the right one definitely can.
Case in point: I overheard a conversation this week in which people were discussing buying a bargain apartment they had been offered in a new block because the developer had run out of money & needed the funds of a sale to continue developing the rest of the block.
Experience says: last time I witnessed this was in Jucu, Cluj, where a developer convinced 45 deposit-paid apartment buyers to keep adding funds towards their deposit. “If I had just another 5k, I would add the sewage, 3k, the road and so on”. That was 2011 & even today, the block remains unfinished, with some residents using LPG gas to cook on, common spaces in bare concrete. It resembles a ghetto more than a luxury apartment it was sold as to investors. People don’t move into bad blocks, only out. A good agent will tell you to avoid such a move when a developer reaches that point unless you have control over how your funds are spent
Better market access with less hassle
Real estate agent’s full-time job is to act as a liaison between buyers and sellers or landlord and tenant and . They will have easy access to all other properties listed by other agents and private sellers as well as past clients, referrals and other off-market property that you might not see. Agents work full time in real estate and they know how to get a deal together including identifying property that meets your criteria, get in touch with sellers’ agents and makes appointments for you to view the property. If you are buying on your own, you will have to play this telephone tennis yourself. This may be especially difficult if you’re shopping for property that is for sale by owner.
Similarly, if you are looking to sell your property yourself, you will have to solicit calls from interested parties, answer questions and make appointments. Keep in mind that potential buyers are likely to move on if you tend to be busy or don’t respond quickly enough. Alternatively, you may find yourself making a viewing appointment and rushing property, only to find that no one shows up. If this frustration is made visible it will adversely affect the next prospective client.
Negotiating Is Tricky Business
Some people don’t like the idea of doing a real estate deal through an agent and feel that direct negotiation between buyers and sellers is more transparent and allows the parties to better look after their own best interests. This might be true if both the buyer and seller in a given transaction are reasonable people who are able to get along. Unfortunately, this isn’t always an easy relationship.
Suppose, as a buyer, like a property but despise its wood-paneled walls, parquet floors, and pastel orange kitchen? If you are working with an agent, you can express your contempt for the current owner’s decorating skills and rant about how much it’ll cost you to upgrade the home without insulting the owner. For all you know, the owner’s late mother may have lovingly chosen the style. Your real estate agent can convey your concerns to the sellers’ agent. Acting as a messenger, the agent may be in a better position to negotiate a discount without ruffling the property owner’s feathers.
A real estate agent can also play the bad guy in a transaction, preventing the bad blood between a buyer and seller that can spoil a deal. Keep in mind that a seller can reject a potential buyer’s offer for any reason–including just because they do not click. A seller can sometimes feel he is helping the buyer when selling and if he doesn’t like the person, may not be inclined to sell. An agent can help by speaking for you in tough transactions and smoothing things over to keep them from getting too personal. This can put you in a better position to get the house you want. The same is true for the seller, who can benefit from a hard-nosed real estate agent who will represent their interests without turning off potential buyers who want to niggle about the price.
Contracts Can Be Hard To Handle
If you decide to buy or sell a property, the offer to purchase contract is there to protect you and ensure that you are able to back out of the deal if certain conditions aren’t met. For example, if you plan to buy a property with mortgage credit but you forget to make financing one of the contract conditions of the purchase – and you are rejected for the mortgage – you can lose your deposit on the property and could even be sued by the seller for failing to fulfill your end of the contract.
A well experienced real estate agent deals with the same contracts and conditions on a regular basis and is familiar with which clauses should be used, when they can safely be edited out and how to use the contract to protect you, whether you’re buying or selling your property.
Real Estate Agents Cannot Lie
OK, actually they can. But because they are professionals with a reputation to keep there are more repercussions if they do than for a private buyer or seller who can say anything he likes. If you are working with a real estate agent under an agency agreement, (i.e., a full-service commission agreement in which the agent agrees to represent you), your agent will be bound to a fiduciary relationship. In other words, the agent is bound law to act in their clients’ best interest (not his or her own).
In addition, most realtors rely on referrals and repeat business to build the kind of client base they’ll need to thrive in the real estate. This means that doing what’s best for their clients should be as important to them as an individual sale. You can protect yourself by making sure everything you are told is done so in writing or followed up with an email containing the same information you were verbally promised.
Finally, if you do find that your agent has been lying to you, you will be able to address this through your agent’s manager or perhaps a professional association if they subscribe or possibly even in court if you can prove that your agent has failed to uphold his fiduciary duties.
When a buyer and seller work together directly, they can (and should) seek legal support, but because each party needs to act in his or her best interest, and there isn’t much you can do if you find out later that you’ve been deceived about multiple false offers or the property’s true faults. And having a lawyer on retainer any time you want to talk about potentially buying or selling a house could cost far more than an agent’s commissions by the time the transaction is complete.
Not Everyone Can Save Money
People avoid using a real estate agent to mainly to save money but keep in mind that it is unlikely that both the buyer and seller will reap the benefits of not having to pay commissions. For example, if you are selling your property on your own, you will price it based on the sale prices of other similar properties in your area. Many of these properties will be sold with the help of an agent. This means that the seller gets the keep the percentage of the property’s sale price that might otherwise be paid to the real estate agent. However, buyers who are looking to purchase a property sold by owners may also believe they can save some money on the property by not having an agent involved as they are looking for reduced prices from agent listed prices.
However, unless buyer and seller agree to split the savings, they can’t both save the commission. Additionally, both buyer and seller will probably have unreasonable expectations about the market price so one of the parties involved stands to lose out, or the property is set so high that it sits on the market for extended periods of time, years even. This is very common in Romania.
While there are certainly people who are qualified to sell their own property, taking a quick look at the long list of frequently asked questions on most for sale by owner websites suggests the process isn’t as simple as many people assume. And when you get into a difficult situation, it can really pay to have a professional on your side. As the wise saying goes, If you think good quality advice is expensive, you should see how expensive poor quality advice is.