Is hiring a realtor worth it?


Fact Box

  • Real estate news site Inman explains how the terms ‘realtor’ and ‘real estate agent’ are not interchangeable, “A real estate agent is anyone who is licensed to help people buy and sell commercial or residential property. A Realtor is a trademarked term that refers to a real estate agent who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the largest trade association in the US.” 
  • The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) estimates that as of 2022, there are over 3 million “active real estate licensees” in the US. 
  • Bankrate reports that realtor commissions “typically run about 5 percent to 6 percent of a home’s sale price.”
  • Sixty-five percent of realtors are women, with an average age of 52.

Dougie (No)

Realtors are no longer required, and hiring an overpaid agent simply isn't always worth it anymore. For this reason, many people are now taking home transactions into their own hands.

Realtors are needlessly expensive. The usual fee on a $300,000 home is a hefty $18,000. Especially when the market is up, houses frequently need minimal promotion, so what are people actually paying for?

Real estate agents are known to operate with little transparency, employ shady tactics, manipulate situations to take advantage of desperate individuals for personal gain, and always give themselves far better deals than their clients. Real estate professionals count on cornering the market with unionized monopolies and massive lobbying efforts, which enable corruption and corporate crime. But ultimately, without their not-so-difficult-to-attain gatekeeper positioning, selling and buying a home can be fully achieved by determined laymen.

Auctions and for-sale-by-owner listings are more accessible than ever. The average person is capable of learning and completing the tasks involved and can even contract a reviewing consultant or lawyer for a fraction of what a realtor costs. The 'iBuyer' market is burgeoning. Local school ratings, tax information, crime rates, neighborhood statistics, local home values and sales histories, and more are all just a few clicks away. With the abundant availability of online information, resources, and tools, like comprehensive databases and platforms, retaining a realtor can be a huge, unnecessary expense.

Homeowners are realizing there's a better way to navigate real estate: remove the middleman. Expanding public access to a wealth of digital data is transforming realtors into glorified marketers who could soon become completely obsolete.

Chad (Yes)

Even in today's information age, it is still worth hiring a realtor when renting or buying a home. Despite the promise that technology would make real estate transactions easier, it actually made it more challenging

Many websites often have no affiliation with sellers and don't know the status of the properties. Renters and buyers are wasting their time looking at and applying for places that are already off the market or were never there to begin with. Conversely, a realtor can access a database that most people can't and can get real-time info on properties. Realtors can also access a property's history, alerting clients about any red flags the seller doesn't want potential buyers to be aware of. Not only does this reduce one’s chances of being scammed, but it also provides a system to seek recourse for any issues. 

Realtors are also indispensable when selling a home. As Investopedia points out, 'Agents can get broader exposure for your property, help you negotiate a better deal, dedicate more time to your sale, and prevent your emotions from sabotaging it.' Notably, realtors can also help clients by handling the complicated legal and financial aspects that inevitably arise during any real estate transaction. Realtors ultimately save people time and money because they know the local market and can help ensure a bad deal isn’t signed.

Because almost half of a realtor's work comes through personal referrals, it is in their best interest to ensure that their clients walk away from newly-inked deals feeling good. Finding a good one will significantly reduce the headaches of renting, buying, or selling.

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