Buying a Home
There's nothing wrong with being your own agent. That is, if you're well informed about the laws, procedures and regulations for your area. However, most people aren't aware of the numerous subject matters necessary to protect themselves in the buying process. Never forget that you must live in your purchase after the sale is over.
It's relatively easy to learn what you need, but that takes time for research, reading, understanding, and applying that knowledge to your needs. Sure, there are good "how to books", but most readily tell you that you must research your local laws, procedures, and regulations, and if they don't tell you this, then the books aren't very good to begin with. All of that takes time, but, most people work for a living, and can't spare the time to become expert in the things they need to know.
yourself these questions:
1) What must the seller disclose about the property, and what may the seller disclose if I know enough to ask the right questions.
2) How do I protect myself from surprises going wrong with the home that aren't covered by my insurance. Like the heating & air goes out a month after the sale -- what am I to do? Is there a way to protect myself from things like this (they do happen), and even get the seller to pay the costs!
3) Am I paying too much for my home? A good agent knows how to tell you if a home is over-priced, and it's not guess work either -- it's based on facts. A good agent has the tools available to know what property is worth. A good agent knows how to use financial data to tell you whether or not the price is appropriate. The same thing goes for investors. Many investors have paid a price that seemed reasonable when compared to their expectations of the future, but took losses later when they discovered that their investment property was overvalued for the area. A good real estate agent protects you from this type of mistake.
4) Negotiating for things that should be part of the deal. Do you know when carpet should be replaced for a typical home, or what special considerations should be looked at for the area (bad stucco, poor construction, items not-to-code, septic tank considerations, etc.). A good agent is valuable in ferreting out these things and saves you money, while no agent, or a poor agent may leave you miserable for years to come.
Picking an agent! Don't be afraid to qualify an agent before selecting them to work for you. Ask questions. One good method is to ask them up-front to explain the services they provide you. Don't be afraid to ask for details concerning a specific topic, because you'll generally be able to spot when an agent is guessing or groping for an answer. Then, select the agent that knows their job and does it well when buying or selling your home.