Jeff’s Carlsbad Blog for First Time Home Buyers

Do I Need to Use an Agent?

Posted in Choosing a Realtor,Due Diligence,House Hunting,Realtor's Job by Jeff Dowler on February 20, 2007

The question “Do I need to use an agent” may have crossed your mind on more than one occasion. You might be thinking about buying, or perhaps are already out looking on your own.

Well the answer is no – you don’t NEED to use an agent. But I think NEED is the operative word here. Certainly you can drive round and look at homes, visit the house that are held open on the weekends, and find properties on the Internet. You can call a for-sale-by owner on your own to arrange to see the property, and make an offer as well. So if you really don’t see the value or simply want to be in control and do it yourself, you can.  And quite frankly, if you feel very strongly about it, then I would not want to act as your agent in the transaction. We would both be frustrated.

I would challenge you, however, to consider a few things just to be sure you want to go it alone.

  • Who will protect YOUR interests as the buyer? The sellers? Nope, they have their own interests to worry about. They want THEIR price, THEIR terms and conditions. How will you decide what price to offer?
  • How will you gain access to homes that are not open houses and are being sold through a brokerage. Well, you can’t on your own. That agent will have to show you the property because that’s what the sellers want.
  • How do you know you are finding all the properties that are for sale? And that they are priced well? How do you know what has sold and for what price?
  • How much do you know about real estate contract language, buyer liability, your rights and obligations as a buyer, the actual paperwork that is required, the disclosures you must read and sign, when you can walk a way from a deal and not lose your down payment, etc.

Really, if you want to do it yourself you can. You may not get the best price, there will likely be surprises you weren’t aware of or expecting or now how to solve, you may make mistakes, or become incredibly frustrated since you have no one to talk to about what you are doing, and dealing directly with a seller in a negotiation can be a challenge. That’s your choice.

My advice is to make the decision that is right for you. If going it alone is what you want, then do it. Realize there will be implications for that choice, and deal with them. But as a consumer you might find it better to work with someone who knows the ropes. You decide.


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