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What does a real estate agent do for home buyers?

While it’s commonly assumed that estate agents work solely for sellers, they are in fact a great asset to house buyers too.

Article summary

  • Estate agents provide an in-depth understanding of the market.
  • They can assist with negotiations and paperwork.
  • They cost nothing, and in fact can help the home buyer save money by working with a home loan comparison service to secure them the best deal.

While it’s commonly assumed that estate agents work solely for sellers, they are in fact a great asset to house buyers too. From navigating a labyrinth of legalese to scaling a mountain of paperwork, a qualified estate agent will help you negotiate the process of buying a home.

“It’s true that anyone can look for a home, and even get a peek inside, without the help of an estate agent but, unless you have the time to make house shopping a full-time job, chances are an agent will be able to match you with your perfect property considerably faster,” says Rhys Dyer, CEO of South Africa’s largest home loan comparison service, ooba Home Loans.

Here are 7 invaluable services that an estate agent provides to a home buyer:

1. They provide insight into the market

While anyone can spend a few minutes online and pull information on sales of comparable houses, estate agents have the experience to know whether a specific house is over- or under-priced.

“Most estate agents can price a house the minute they walk through the door,” says Dyer. With an agent advising the home buyer, the house hunt will go more smoothly as houses that don’t fit the requirements will quickly be eliminated from the hunt.

Once a desirable neighbourhood has been identified, agents can provide a wealth of data on home sales in that area.

2. They help with home inspections

Often, the touchiest part of the house-buying process involves the delicate dance of requesting repairs. “An estate agent will be able to identify trouble that you may not see, as well as recommend a good independent home inspector who will provide a detailed report on problems with the house,” says Dyer.

An agent can also help the buyer go through the inspection report and identify the important information, as such reports are often dozens of pages long. The agent will have a good sense of which repairs are reasonable to request, and which are excessive.

3. They find available homes

Though most homes for sale are widely available for buyers to assess on websites, not all sellers want their home sales to be widely publicised. In these cases, only the estate agent will know that a particular house is for sale, and will be able to alert a buyer to its availability.

4. They deal with the paperwork

A home purchase involves plenty of paperwork, and a limited time frame in which to process it. Estate agents know the paperwork inside out and can facilitate the process.

5. They facilitate negotiations

It’s easy for a home buyer to lose their cool when fighting with a seller over necessary repairs. Agents are well versed in the art of negotiation, and will be able to make requests on behalf of the buyer in a manner more likely to produce constructive results.

6. They advise on legal procedures

Let’s say the buyer wants to turn the front room of their new house into a small clothing boutique. They’ll need to know if they’re legally allowed to do this.

An experienced estate agent will be familiar enough with zoning ordinances to help the buyer find a house in an area where their plans are viable.

The same goes if they want to build a fence in the back garden or add a bedroom. The agent will advise on whether the city allows it for a property in a particular area.

7. They can partner with a home loan comparison service to get the buyer a good deal

An estate agent can work with a home loan comparison service like ooba Home Loans to submit the buyer’s application to multiple banks.

This improves the buyer’s chance of getting approved, and also enables them to compare packages being offered by various banks and choose the one with the most favourable interest rates.

So if you’re looking to purchase a property yourself, bear in mind that the services of an estate agent plus ooba Home Loans can secure you a good deal while costing you nothing in the process, as both estate agents and bond originators earn from commissions rather than service fees.

ooba Home Loans also makes the home buying process easier by offering a range of tools. Start with our Bond Calculator, then use our Bond Indicator to determine what you can afford. Finally, when you’re ready, you can apply for a home loan.

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