Posted in: Buying a home, First time homebuyer tips

Do I need to hire a Realtor when buying a home?


Key insights

  • As buyers scour the web for available properties, they may find themselves asking, “Do I need a Realtor?”
  • Buyers need help from budget-setting to negotiations and beyond, so there are dozens of benefits to hiring a real estate agent
  • Buyers who wonder if they need a real estate agent may also want to consider how their agents are paid for their work

Do I need a real estate agent?

Now that anyone can search for homes online and follow up-to-the minute market inventory alerts, many buyers find themselves asking, “Do I need a REALTOR® when buying a home?”

The reality is, there are dozens of benefits to using a Realtor. From in-depth market insights, negotiation and bidding expertise to access to pre-list inventory, buyers will often find that hiring a Realtor is the right choice.

Realtor advantage #1: Market knowledge

Real estate agents spend hours upon hours touring homes for sale each week, which means they have in-depth insights that you simply can’t find online. Because they know what homes are selling for — not just what they are listed for — one benefit of using a Realtor is that they can help you find the “sweet spot” that will allow you to purchase a home that matches your price range and timeline.

Realtor advantage #2: Access to homes coming on the market soon

Real estate agents are natural networkers who love to talk shop and they often clue each other in on listings that will be coming on the market in upcoming weeks. When you work with an Edina Realty Realtor, you’ll take benefit from a network of more than 2,500 agents who live and work in every community across Minnesota and western Wisconsin — and keep each other up-to-date on upcoming homes for sale.

In today’s market, where inventory levels are still at historical lows and buyers are competing over a shortage of homes for sale, having insights on pre-list homes can be a major advantage.

Realtor advantage #3: Bidding and negotiations

Because today’s inventory is so low, many homes are going into multiple offers — and buyers who don’t hire a Realtor tend to struggle when it comes to finding a winning bidding strategy.

Real estate agents have acute market knowledge and intel on local sales numbers that go well beyond the local sales numbers the general public can find online. Because they live and breathe home prices and sales, Realtors can help buyers determine how much to bid so they win the sale without going thousands of dollars over the second bid.

Realtor advantage #4: All those little details

It can be easy to spot a sagging roof or a crack in the foundation, but there are thousands of little details that most buyers don’t know to look out for when touring a home. If you find yourself asking, “Do I need a real estate agent to buy a house?” then you may also want to consider how much you know about:

  • Radon laws and regulations
  • Plumbing and sump pumps
  • Water or storm damage
  • Wiring and gas and electrical issues
  • Zoning laws and contractor regulations

Simply put, the benefits of hiring a Realtor often come out when they illuminate hidden flaws on a seemingly perfect property. 

How is a buyer’s agent paid?

One last thing to keep in mind is that Realtors (whether they are representing a buyer or a seller) only get paid if they successfully close on a property. And typically, as a buyer you will only pay a small flat fee to your agent at closing.

So, how are buyer’s agents paid? In most cases, the lion’s share of the buyer’s agent compensation is paid by the seller at closing — and their payment is based on the commission rate agreed upon by the listing agent and the home seller. This means that if you’re buying a home (and not selling), you likely won’t have to negotiate the commission rate of your real estate agent.

Ready to get started?

If you’re starting to believe that the answer to “Do I need a Realtor?” is a resounding YES, then we’d be happy to match you with a local real estate agent who can help you on your homebuying journey.  

Reach out to our customer care team to get started.

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Status Definitions

For sale: Properties which are available for showings and purchase

Active contingent: Properties which are available for showing but are under contract with another buyer

Pending: Properties which are under contract with a buyer and are no longer available for showings

Sold: Properties on which the sale has closed.

Coming soon: Properties which will be on the market soon and are not available for showings.

Contingent and Pending statuses may not be available for all listings