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Do you need a real estate agent?

When it comes to buying or selling a home, most people wonder whether they should hire a real estate agent. Nowadays there are plenty of resources online, but an agent has something no buyer especially a first-time buyer does, and that is a wealth of experience. Buying a home is a big step, and although it's certainly possible to buy or sell a house without using a real estate agent, NYC-based real estate expert Adam Hochfelder recommends having someone who will help you understand your options, advocate on your behalf and get you the best deal possible.

An experienced agent will save you both time and money, but even more importantly, it will protect you from the stress and strong emotions can easily confuse your judgment and cause you to make a decision you’ll later regret.

As the CEO of a real estate company, who through the course of his career has worked with many real estate service professionals over the course of his career, Adam Hochfelder has access to some of the basic benefits of using an agent, which can help you make the decision.

  1. Allows you Access to Homes and Multiple Bids
    Buying a home is an emotional process. For many people, it’s the largest transaction of their life and it’s often done during other major life changes. When you tour an open house with an agent, you not only have access and privacy, but you also have an advocate whose main duty is to look after your best interests. Professional brokers and real estate agents have easy access to listings offered by other agents, even to those who are not publicly advertised. In addition to that, they have access to a Rolodex of real estate service professionals.
  2. It saves your time
    Agents look at a transaction with a more experienced, rational eye. That means your agent can help you understand all of your options, guide you throughout the process and protect you from making a rash decision. Real estate agents manage the negotiating and contracting process on a daily basis. Thanks to the experience and contacts they have, they can save a lot of your time. For example, if you are looking for a new home, a real estate agent will find homes that meet your criteria and are close to your needs and desires. Based on his experience, Adam Hochfelder suggests that then the agent will contact the seller and arrange for a meeting to review the offered home. If you are buying by yourself, you will have to go through this process alone, which naturally will take you a lot of time and effort.
    Similarly, if you want to sell your home without an agent, you will have to answer all calls and interested buyers, schedule appointments and answer their questions. Keep in mind that most prospective buyers are likely to continue their quest and skip you if you don’t react quickly, or if you are busy and can’t fit into their schedule. A great agent will encourage serious buyers to sign the contract as soon as they make a decision.
  3. Facilitates the negotiation process
    As Hochfelder explains on his blog, a good real estate agent will advocate on your behalf, especially at the negotiating table. He’ll get you the best deal possible, without letting strong feelings get in the way. If you work with an agent, you can express your dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the home, and negotiate a rearrangement without violating the owner's feelings that will create disagreement. That means, your agent will serve as the middle man between you and the sellers, negotiating the offer and providing advice along the way.
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