6 things to keep in mind when using realtors

October 9, 2015

Getting a realtor has some distinct advantages, but that doesn't mean they always have your best interests at heart. Here are some things that you should keep in mind when dealing with real estate agents.

6 things to keep in mind when using realtors

1. Qualifications vary

Licensed real estate agents aren't as qualified as their pay scale might lead you to believe.

  • Sometimes, all you need to get an agent's license is one, three-unit college course and a passing grade on a three-hour, multiple-choice test.

2. They might not be showing you all the listings

Sometimes, realtors will only show listings that pay the highest commission.

  • Make sure your agent is showing you all listings, the ones that pay three percent and the ones that pay 2.5 percent.

3. They're tactical

Real estate agents sometimes delay putting a home on the multiple listing service.

  • When they do, they can show it to their clients first and potentially rake in both the seller's and buyer's commission.

4. Open houses are not a great way to sell houses

Open houses are a great way for agents to snag new clients, not necessarily the best way to sell your home.

  • Agents often include very few details in the ads they run for your house. They want as many people as possible to call.
  • Even if your home doesn't suit the house hunters, the agent now has their names as potential clients.

5. Agents don’t always push for the highest price

Sure, they're working for commission, but sometimes a quick and easy sell for $190,000 is better than waiting for $200,000.

  • That price difference is a lot of money to you, but at a three percent seller's commission, it comes out to only a few hundred dollars for the agent.

6. You can back out of the deal

Though it's rare, some sellers change their minds after they've received offers on their homes.

  • If the offer is equal to or better than the asking price, the agent may claim that you owe the commission anyway, since the buyer has met the terms of the agreement.
  • But there are other conditions that still must be met, such as inspections, appraisals and obtaining financing. You can use these as grounds to back out.

Although you can sell or buy a home on your own, it's tricky, and most of us opt to use the services of real estate agents. While these pros can be very helpful in finding the right buyer or locating the perfect house, you have to remember that they're in the game to collect a commission.

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