When to Hire a Real Estate Agent?

House model next to house keys at a real estate agent office

If you’re reading this, you may be considering to hire a real estate agent to help with buying or selling your home. 

Here’s what you should know: Real estate agents can be game-changers whether you’re selling or buying. 

They have access to information and expertise that most home buyers and sellers just don’t have, and they can help ensure that you get the best deal on your new home or the best price for the house you’re selling. So when should you hire a real estate agent? We’ll tell you in this article!


#1 If you’re not very knowledgeable about real estate trends

If you’re not very knowledgeable about real estate trends, hiring an agent is a good idea. A good agent will have the following knowledge:

  • Knowledge of the market
  • Knowledge of the neighborhood
  • Knowledge of the property
  • Knowledge of building(s) (if applicable)
  • Property’s history and location (if applicable)
  • Property’s condition and value (as well as financing options if applicable)

#2 Discover Hidden Property Listings

If you’re looking for a home, real estate agent can help you find properties that aren’t listed on the MLS. This includes:

  • Properties that are not yet listed. An agent can be informed about a pending listing and alert you before it goes on sale.
  • Properties that are “off-market”—that is, they’re privately owned and not being shown by an agent. Many people sell their homes this way because they don’t want to pay commissions or don’t need to advertise their property publicly (for example, when they’re moving across town). Agents know where these homes are; we do too!
  • Properties in other cities or towns are within commuting distance from where you live—and even outside those areas! Real estate agents often have access to information about properties outside their area of expertise. This gives them an advantage when it comes time for you to look at what’s available nearby or further away than usual.

#2 Don’t have time for a home search?

It is worth hiring a real estate agent if you don’t have the time to search for a new home. 

A real estate agent will be able to help you find homes that meet your needs, your budget, and location. You may also need assistance finding houses that fit your timeline or even moving out of state.

#3 Privacy, Confidentiality, and Fiduciary Duty

Real estate agents are bound by a fiduciary duty and are not required to report your private information. 

Real estate agents are also required to keep your information confidential and will not disclose any of your personal details without your permission.

Additionally, real estate agents must act in good faith, act with reasonable diligence, avoid conflicts of interest and be loyal to their client’s interests first. 

These duties mean that the agent must work diligently on behalf of their client at all times while also considering their best interests when choosing between competing offers or negotiating contracts.

#4 MLS listings

If you want access to the MLS database, it’s best to work with an agent who has access. The MLS is a database of all the properties for sale in a given area. 

This information is freely available on the internet—if you know where to look and have the expertise necessary to navigate it—but your average homebuyer probably won’t be going there on their own.

A real estate agent can provide more than just insight into this data. They can also help you learn about new properties coming on the market, which might not yet be showing up online if they’re currently under contract or being shown exclusively by another broker.

#5 Price negotiations

Real estate agents have a lot of experience negotiating with sellers. They can provide insights into the market, your position (as a buyer), and the seller’s position (as a seller).

Small plant in a glass filled with coins
Photo by micheile dot com on Unsplash

#6 FSBO (for sale by owner) property

If you’re interested in an FSBO property, consider a few things before you give up on the idea of working with an agent.


  • Lower commission (usually)
  • More control over the sale process


  • Difficulty in finding buyers, especially without professional pictures and descriptions of your home’s features and condition

#7 If your local real estate market is competitive

Hiring a real estate agent is worth it if you’re considering selling your home and want to ensure you get a reasonable price.

A competitive market means homes are getting snapped up quickly, and buyers often bid over the list price. If this is the case in your area and you’re trying to sell on your own, hiring an agent can give you an edge over other sellers. An agent will help you prepare for the sale and marketing of your property. 

Agents can help set up showings of your home with potential buyers, negotiate offers on your behalf, negotiate repairs needed before closing, and more.

#8 Hire a real estate agent whether you’re selling or buying

You’re not hiring a real estate agent for their charm or personality. You’re hiring them because they have the knowledge, experience, and connections to help you find the perfect home in your price range.

A real estate agent is an absolute must if you want to sell your home quickly and with little hassle. They will know all the right steps to take if you are approached by, for example, a cash house buyer in Toronto. 

Their expertise helps sellers get their homes ready to go on the market and price them at just the right amount to attract buyers without scaring them off (which could lead them to save money). 

They’ll also assist with appointments with contractors like painters or carpet cleaners. This can help make your home look its best before it hits the open market. 

Finally, once everything’s ready for showings and potential buyers start coming through—you’ll be grateful if your agent is handling negotiations so that there won’t be any unpleasant surprises when offers come in from other agents as well as from buyers interested in purchasing directly from a seller (also known as “For Sale by Owner”).

Realtors know how important it is for buyers of any age or stage in life: homeownership has many benefits, including financial independence; security against rising rents; pride of ownership; tax benefits deductions for mortgage interest payments; equity growth through appreciation over time which can be used later towards retirement savings.

How much does it cost to hire a real estate agent?

The average commission is 6%. The average commission for an FSBO is 3%.

If you sell your home through a real estate agent, they will generally get paid by the seller and collect 6% of the sales price. 

Their compensation is known as a “commission.” The percentage that agents receive is negotiable between buyer and seller. 

Suppose you choose an FSBO (for sale by owner). In that case, no middle man or broker is involved. Hence, you don’t have to pay any commissions. 

Still, other costs are associated with selling your home, especially if you’re going directly through companies instead of an agent. 

These platforms charge anywhere from 1-3% of the final sale price when using their services as opposed to using an agent at 6%. 

Because of this higher fee from these sites and companies, selling yourself can cost more than hiring someone who knows how it’s done!


Now that you know when to hire a real estate agent, you can make an informed choice about working with one. 

In general, agents help you every step of the way in the process. It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling your home or buying a new one. 

They have access to listings and information that can help you make good decisions. Also, they take on much of the work, so all you have to do is focus on your next move.