For some, convenience, advice, and peace of mind that a professional will correctly finish the job is more important than saving money. Others will go with the cheapest option, no matter what will be sacrificed. Whether you value time, money, convenience, or experience, you will be best suited by working with an agent.
For me, I take this type of question very seriously. I do not carelessly spend a dollar. I have learned that the cheapest price tag is not always the cheapest solution in the long run. There are many other considerations, like how long with this item last? Will I need to replace it if I buy the less expensive and poorly made version instead of one that is built to last? To my husband’s dismay, I go through this process whether I am buying peanut butter or a house.
So I did not take the question of working with an agent lightly. I had read about the possibility of being able to negotiate with a seller to reduce the sale price if you are not being represented by agent. In general, the seller must pay the buyer’s real estate agent a percentage of the home. So, if the buyer is not working with agent, that money could possibly be negotiable. Some listing agents will even offer a portion of the commission to the buyer, as a sort of “cash back.”
I was certainly interested in this concept. On further research, I found that this is typically not even possible because most contracts specify that the commission will all go the seller’s agent if there is no buyer’s agent. In this case, the buyer is essentially paying the same price and receiving no representation.
Even in the case where a listing agent offers you part of the commission, will you be actually saving money? The listing agent is hired by the home seller to get maximum sales price for the home. If they are doing their job well, they will sell the home for top dollar. This is typically not going to be the best price that you could pay for the home, and so you will still likely end up losing money.
Ultimately, the buyer’s agent will be able to help you determine a homes fair market value by professionally evaluating comparable home sales. This is where the real money can be saved. First, it can protect you from purchasing a home for more than it is worth, and second, it gives you strong negotiating power. The amount that can be saved here is greater than the amount that can be saved by negotiating agent commission.
The bottom line is, you can save money, time, and reduce stress by working with a respectable agent. In this case, it’s a no brain-er.