The number of homeowners attempting to sell by owner has dropped to record low levels. More than ever, it seems homeowners and buyers are recognizing the importance of using a real estate agent. In fact, 87% of buyers last year used a Realtor, according to the National Association of Realtors, and only 8% of homes were listed for sale by owner.

There are many reasons to use a Realtor, but here are The Top 5 Reasons Every Buyer & Seller Should Hire a Real Estate Professional:

1. Agents Know What Buyers Want: An experienced real estate agent can see what potential buyers will see and can spot details homeowners may have overlooked. Agents are in tune with buyer needs, fears, and preferences. Setting the stage for prospective buyers is an extremely important part of the marketing process. A good agent will provide you with tips, checklists, and feedback from the point of view of someone looking to buy a home.

2. Agents are Real Estate Marketing Experts. An agent will provide a written marketing plan that outlines all the steps you can take to get your house sold at the highest possible price, in the least amount of time. Real estate marketing is not about a yard sign, property flyers in an info box, or open houses. Real estate marketing is all about exposing your home to the greatest audience of buyers and their agents. Most important of all, a real estate professional will set the right list price from the start. They know that if you don’t price it right on day one, your chances of selling, and recouping your equity, will diminish with each passing day.

3. Agents Know How To Handle the Multiple Sell. Not only do they have to sell your home to a potential buyer, real estate professionals have to sell your home to the other agents in the area, and to the lender via the appraisal process. An agent will guide you as to how to best position your property and your pricing to ensure the best odds of satisfying the often conflicting pricing opinions of all three.

4. Agents are Skilled Negotiators. A professional will be the calming influence you need while dealing with stressful negotiations. They’re also the objective third-party “buffer” in the process. Experience has taught them that there are many creative ways to bring contract negotiations to a successful close.

5. Agents Keep the Transaction Together. There are many moving parts before the closing. Inspections, financing contingencies, and title searches are just some of the steps that can derail a transaction and cause tremendous stress to you A knowledgeable and experienced agent will take on these issues, renegotiate the details, and keep the transaction moving forward to a successful close.