Do you need a Realtor to buy a condo? - Metro US

Do you need a Realtor to buy a condo?

Think you can take care of your own condo purchase?

I can completely understand and appreciate that since this is written by a Realtor, many may dismiss the article after reading the title. Honestly, if I were in your shoes I might be tempted to do the same. However, my purpose here is not to promote buyer agents or Realtors in general, but to illuminate to buyers on some of the realities that I have witnessed.

The main reason a buyer would choose to avoid an agent is because they believe they will end up paying less for the home if there are less people sharing the pie. Theoretically, it makes sense, doesn’t it? If there’s one lesson in business that never gets old, it’s that nothing is free. So, if Brian purchases Julie’s home without his own agent — in other words, using Julie’s agent — he may theoretically save some money but he is also limiting himself to that particular home. You can be sure that Julie’s agent will not be in a hurry to “un-sell” Brian on Julie’s home, and go over some other options.

Of course, Brian would insist that he’s reviewed countless homes on the MLS system and gone to a dozen open houses, and he knows what he wants better than any agent.

Brian may be right. Unfortunately, Brian may be unaware that the public MLS system is a week or two behind the one that a Realtor is granted access to. He may also overlook the fact that the best homes, best-priced homes or fanciest homes can sell within a week of being listed, meaning they never even make it to the public MLS.

The most important thing Brian needs to consider is the potential ramifications of going into battle without armor. Make no mistake — in this market, real-estate transactions are a battle, and your representative is all the protection you have. Julie’s Realtor has a legal obligation to get the best price possible for her home. In other words, if he manages to sell her home for $15,000 above market value to an unsuspecting buyer, there’s absolutely nothing that unfortunate buyer can do about it. What’s more is, if Julie’s agent fails to reveal a few defects about the home, the area, the market or anything else, the unfortunate buyer can, once again, do nothing.

The truth is, that the buyer has only his own agent to rely on and, consequently, to turn to for recourse should something come up smelling fishy. There is absolutely zero protection for Brian if he goes into a real-estate transaction without being represented. Julie’s agent owes only Julie the best and most honest competence.

So, in his quest to save a little dough, Brian should ask himself at what risk is he saving that money. He might also want to ask himself if the place he’s going to live is the place to save money, or would he do better to concern himself with finding a home that will make him money, in the long run.

For any questions on Realtor responsibilities, or real estate matters in general, you can email Amit at amitp@rogers.com. Happy Hunting!

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