As already answered here, you don't have to have a realtor to purchase a home, this is something that you can do on your own, by looking at realtor.com and other sites that contain information on homes that are for sale. There is sometimes a hesitancy on the part of buyer to commit to working with a realtor, but if I may point out some of the advantages. You can find a realtor by speaking with friends, family, co-workers who have already gone through this process. Finding a realtor that can truly listen and be responsive to your search requirements is vital. You want a realtor that first off answers the phone, knows the local market and can guide you along the way. In working with a realtor, you will also have someone actively looking for you for any new homes that come on the market for sale. Sites such as this are a great start, but there is nothing better than having an agent that can set up a search for available homes in the areas you are looking in, in the price range you want, and can alert you the same day that it appears on the market. There are currently many buyers on the market here in Miami, and when a new listing hits the market, there are many offers presented, and it is key that you know just as quickly as others of the new listing. By looking here on Trulia or other sites, you may not see the home appear till a few days after it has actually gone on the market. A realtor can also guide you in making the proper offer for a home, so that you are not offering too low a price, or heaven forbid too much. As stated already, the commsion for the agents are paid for byt the seller of the property. Godod luck in your home search.
My four colleagues who responded though did a great job in explaining why you don't *have* to hire an agent but why you *should*.
Think about your situation this way: you need to go shopping for a new car, but you are not a business woman and you don't know anything about the car industry or negotiating. But your brother works in sales for [Chrysler/Ford/GM/Porsche...] and offers to come along. Now, would you rather go car shopping with or without him?
Let me know if you have any questions or if I can help you, and all the best,
Tobias Kaiser, MS, CIPS
Modern Architecture Specialist
Greater Fort Lauderdale Real Estate Broker + Consultant
Director, Fort Lauderdale Realtors Commercial Alliance
No, you don't have to have an agent to buy a home. But, why wouldn't you want one? They will make sure you are protected and all paperwork is completed. The seller usually pays the commission for both the listing agent and the buyer's agent so it wouldn't cost you anything to hire a buyer's agent.
get them the best possible price for their home !
Need; no. Should have; YES.
You can use the listing agent and have no independent representation or confidentiality and wonder if you are making wise decisions or you can select a buyer's agent who will represent you, maintain confidentiality and provide independent research to support your process.
I realize that Florida has different rules than other states, but the principles are essentially the same.
Now, if you are buying a For Sale by Owner, you can proceed without an agent, but again you'll have no assistance or protection.