Both buying and selling a home can be terrifying, there’s no real way around that. To help, we often enlist of other previous home buyers – our mothers and fathers, other relatives, spouses, etc. – but even still, first time and even second and third time home buying is always strenuous. Having someone who is more familiar with the process is comforting, and there’s really no one better than a professional. Here’s what you need to know about how an agent can make the process easier for you.

Agents have the tools. Like any business, licensed agents have access to tools that can help them understand the neighborhood, market, and home better. Oftentimes working with other agents, an agent can help you better understand where the market is and where it is going. Once you’re ready to buy or sell, agents have connections to title companies, contractors, lenders, interior designers and staging experts who are all ready to help you.

Agents know the neighborhood. What’s the difference in tens of thousands of dollars, maybe even $100,000? Sometimes just the block, not the neighborhood. Agents understand the neighborhood and how you can get the best value from it, helping you choose the optimal time to buy and sell your home.

Evaluation. Agents have seen thousands of homes and are experts at identifying where you may be taking risks, as well as recognizing the most valuable parts in a home. Identifying foundation issues, roofing issues, issues with flooring or other damages be nearly impossible to identify on your own, seek help from someone who’s seen it all before.

Transparency. Maybe you don’t know the right questions to ask the previous home owner in a sell-by-owner situation and need a little more insight. An agent is there for you, wanting you to get the best deal on the home you’re looking for, so they’ll share their research, their findings, and their resources so that you can stay on top of the game and never feel left out.

Agents are expert negotiators. Agents are there to negotiation for you. With a large financial commitment on the line, it’s hard to stay even keeled, but agents take the emotion out of it for you and handle the responsibility of helping you make decision.

Use more than one. If you’re still unsure if an agent has your best interests at heart, interview a couple and see what you find. Ask them questions. How can you better your home before you put it on the market? What’s the current value of your home? These are important questions that have different answers. You list your home too high, you may never get the interest of a buyer and ultimately earn less than you could have.

All of these are important questions to ask yourself when considering buying or selling your home. It’s a tough task, don’t go at it alone. Let an agent help you help yourself.