If you’re a homebuyer in the Austin area, you’re always better off having an agent represent you than trying to buy on your own.
Some buyers are under the impression that if they just contact the listing agent of the house they’re interested in, they might get a better deal, but I’ll let you in on a little secret: Once the listing agent puts that “For Sale” sign in the yard, they’ve already made an agreement with the seller regarding how much commission they’ll pay.
This means that, if you purchase that house without your own agent, the listing agent will make twice the commission at closing, and you’ll probably pay the full list price or more because you didn’t have anyone negotiating on your behalf.
It’s the listing agent’s job is to sell that home for the best price possible, so if you want to get the best deal possible for it, you need a buyer’s agent on your side. They’ll keep you informed through every step of the process and prevent you from making any decisions that will end up costing you. Additionally, they’ll be able to negotiate the best price and the best terms of your purchase.
There are still some situations in which buyers think it’s a good idea to work without representation, with one of the most common situations being when they find a FSBO (For Sale By Owner) home. However, skipping professional representation isn’t as good a deal as some think. Let’s say you find an FSBO home listed for $200,000. Even if this happens to be an appropriate price for the area, the seller would still be walking away with a better deal than you if you chose to pay full price.
Why? Well, when you work without an agent, you’re the one in charge of researching the market, negotiating the contract, checking the title, and doing all the other steps a real estate agent would ordinarily do on your behalf. By doing all of these things yourself, you’re saving the seller about $12,000 in commission fees and about $1,500 in title fees.
To get a good deal in this example, you’d have to negotiate 6% off the purchase price and have the seller give you a discount for all the additional work you’ll have to do to ensure a clean title. The list of things that can go wrong is too long to mention here, but if you do your homework, you’ll see why it’s so beneficial to have an agent by your side to help guide you through the transaction.
Granted, not all agents provide the same level of service, so when you’re conducting your agent search, make sure you only interview those who do three to four deals a month. This way, you know they’re actively learning throughout each sale or purchase.
If you have any questions about this topic or you’re ready to get your home search started in the Austin area, don’t hesitate to reach out to me. I’d love to help you.