Certainly there are pros and cons to having an agent represent you when buying or selling your home. But to answer the direct question of whether an agent is needed is simple. In Arizona you do not need a real estate agent to buy or sell your home. While an agent is not necessary, there may be some practical reasons why someone would want to hire one.
Agents can often assist with preparing contracts and counteroffers that most people may not be aware of. They may be able to assist with appropriate time frames for responses and discuss what reasonable requests can be made or should be expected in the transaction. Agents often times have connections to other professionals who can assist in the process. These connections might include mortgage lenders, contractors or home inspectors to name a few. It is certainly possible to find these individuals on line, but sometimes helpful to get a personal referral.
While the above reasons are important, the most helpful thing an agent will do is to save you time. A good agent will know what you are looking for ahead of time and they will be able to narrow down the houses available to find a group of houses that fits your needs. This is certainly possible to do on your own, but with an already busy schedule many buyers simply don’t have the time. Of course, this is one of the main reasons agents get paid. To be sure it is a valuable service and your agent will be paid by taking a commission out of the sales price.