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Is your Real Estate Agent Telling you Everything?

Today most home sellers as well as home buyers work with a real estate agent to assist them in listing or a buying a home. Real estate agents provide a wealth of services including advising sellers as to the market value of their home, helping them to improve a home for showing, locating homes for sale as soon as they come on the market and even tipping buyers off as to when they should turn down an offer. There are some details that real estate agents may not be quite so forthcoming with; however.

First, it is important to understand that while the agent you are working with may be quite well-qualified, that does not mean that there might not be another agent in the local area who is better qualified and would be able to help you negotiate a better price whether you are a seller or a buyer.

Both buyers and sellers should also understand that real estate agents typically work with several clients at a time. If an agent is working with a client who has the ability to bring in a higher commission, it goes without saying that this is the client who is going to get the lion's share of your agent's attention.

Real estate agents who are experienced always seem to know which homes on the local market will be the biggest competition as well as which improvements and repairs should be made to make a home more appealing to buyers. Never assume that you need to make expensive improvements in the hopes of drawing in buyers. Such improvements could make a home more visually appealing, but there are also other options that you could utilize as well, including lowering the selling price or offering a financial allowance at the time of contract that would allow buyers to make changes on their own.

Buyers are also often unaware that they do not have to work with the contractors that are recommended to them by their agents, including repairmen, appraisers and inspectors. While your agent may have an established relationship with certain contractors, they may not necessarily be the best or the least expensive. Since you are ultimately the one who is going to be responsible for the final bill you should know that you have the right to choose and hire such contractors on your own.

In some instances, real estate agents are reluctant to tell sellers that the problem is really not their home but instead the neighborhood in which it is located. Even if you have made every improvement and repair recommended by your agent, if your home is still languishing on the market, the fault could be due to the neighborhood itself.

When it comes to the amount that you have agreed to pay your agent for their sales commission, you should also know that there is some room for flexibility. The general rule of thumb in most areas is that an agent's commission will fall somewhere between 5% and 7%, but like everything else, even this has changed in light of the current housing market. There are some agents and real estate companies that will charge clients a flat fee or by the hour rather than by commission. Others are willing to offer a rebate if the seller locates a buyer on their own. Before you hire an agent, always make sure you discuss whether they are open to the idea of a discount on their fees. You can use the HomeGain online service to find an agent who would be flexible on their commission.

If you are selling your home, be sure that your real estate agent is completely familiar with your market. Regardless of how much experience they may have, they could be useless to you if they are not familiar with the market where your home is for sale.

If you are buying a home, be sure they are showing you all of the properties that are on the market, including those that are for sale by owner (FSBO). Unfortunately, some agents opt not to show FSBOs because it means less money for them.

The bottom line is that no matter how helpful a real estate agent can be, they are still in business and their main objective is to make a profit. Understanding these crucial keys before you make any assumptions while also asking questions can help you to get the most of your relationship with your real estate agent.



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