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I Do You Need an Agent? f you’ve bought or sold a house before, it may be tempting to decide to go through the process without the help of a real estate agent and their fee. Know what you’re getting into before taking on this responsibility. For both buyers and sellers, an agent is an important ally who can handle the paperwork and negotiating, which can get tricky, and make the process much less stressful for you. Here’s what to know when you’re considering an agent. SellerS Time Magazine reported that 90 percent of home sellers use a real estate agent. The agent understands the market and the appraisal process and can provide expert advice on how to move a home more quickly, how to market it effectively and more. Knowing market trends, they often are better able to negotiate the details of the contract. Your agent handles all of the walkthroughs and open houses as well, making them particularly helpful for sellers with inflexible work schedules. If you’re not sure about your agent or having an agent at all, consider signing a short-term contract, so you can re-evaluate how well the relationship is working. BuYerS An agent can help you find a lender, a title company and an assessor and answer questions about the types of loans available, different down payment assistance programs in your area, how much house you can afford based on your budget and the benefits and drawbacks of different neighborhoods, although many aren’t allowed to directly tell you yes or no about a neighborhood. Agents also know what to look for when you’re walking through the house. You may not notice a slight hump in the floor, but an experienced agent will and knows to ask the owner what caused it. They know possible issues to look for and questions to ask depending on the neighborhood (traffic patterns, persistent noises, if a family of raccoons lives nearby, what electricity usage is like). Your agent works for you, so do your homework and find one you’re comfortable with. You can ask for recommendations and check online reviews. The buyer’s agent is paid through the sale of the home, not out of your pocket.