Selling and buying real estate seems like a no-brainer; a buyer and a seller exchange property for money and the deal is done, but of course, most people involved in the transaction will say that it’s much more complicated than that. So is there really any point to having a real estate agent?

Real estate professionals have begun to call themselves real estate advisors, which is actually an appropriate title. For many Americans, our homes represent the largest asset we have, it only makes sense to hire someone that has more experience and education in buying and selling real estate than we do.

For buyers and sellers, the real estate agent or broker has become a trusted advisor. It’s important to listen to them when it comes to buying or selling because it can save you thousands of dollars or earn you more on the sale of your property. But there are some things that most buyers agents and listing agents will tell buyers and sellers.

For buyers

Make sure you are prepared financially.

Before looking at properties decide how you are going to pay for it. Get yourself financially prepared by speaking with a lender or a bank and getting a letter of preapproval. This will tell you exactly how much money you can spend on a house and you have a letter to prove to sellers that you can legally afford it.

Know what you want.

What are the things that you must have in a home versus things that you might just want? Are there deal breakers or things you will tolerate over other things? Does location matter, view, yard, home office, how many bedrooms and bathrooms? All of these things need to be very clear so your agent can help find you the right home.

Listen to your agent on negotiations.

When touring open houses make sure you tell your agent what you like and don’t like but then ask their opinion if there’s something you might be missing. Does your agent see something that you might not until you’ve lived there for a few months?

For sellers

Cleanup and Declutter.

Before listing your property it’s important to clean everything, have a professional cleaner if necessary, and Declutter. This means moving everything off of counters, dressers, tables, and keeping stuff as clean as possible. Pack away any personalized items, photos, or collections.

Stage the home.

You don’t have to hire a professional stager but it is important to set up each room as it was originally designed. Buyers expect neatly staged homes, especially if you are looking to get the most out of the sale. You have to sell the dream of a bright, clean, and beautifully staged home. Make some updates if necessary or bring in newer pieces so that you can sell quickly and for more profit. Again, make sure you listen to your agent on the best way to stage your property.

So, bottom line, yes, you should listen to your real estate agent. Unless you buy and sell real estate on a daily basis, why wouldn’t you trust someone that has the experience and skills necessary to not only negotiate but to help you find the right house or sell for top dollar?

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