Many consumers these days are turning to the Internet to replaced the critical importance of the working with an experienced Realtor with local knowledge. Unfortunately, all it takes is one failed transaction to serve as a painful lesson to both buyers and sellers alike, who forgo using the services of a Realtor to represent them in the most expensive sale or purchase they will likely ever make. Before you join the ranks of these "internet first" consumers, take a moment to familiarize yourself with the value your Realtor brings to the negotiating table.
The internet, including real estate sites such as Redfin, Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and many others, has made it possible for consumers to engage in much of the initial legwork of locating a property. Most home buyers today depends on the internet as one of their primary go-to research sources when shopping around. However, at the end of the day, there is no substitute for having a Realtor represent your best interest in executing a real estate transaction. Why? Because buying or selling real estate is not like buying or selling a car!
Experience and Local Knowledge
Having an experienced agent with local knowledge represent and guide you through the ins and outs of an inherently complicated transaction is invaluable. When purchasing a home, for example:
- your Realtor will help you locate your next perfect home (he or she has access to the newest listings and even some homes that are not listed yet or are listed privately)
- your Realtor will assist you in making a solid offer and fight to negotiate for the best price on your behalf
- your Realtor will deal with the assortment contracts, riders, disclosures, and other complex legal documents and forms to make sure your interests are protected legally.
- your Realtor also has a great network that includes all kinds of experienced and responsible professionals who's services may be needed during the transaction, (such as attorneys, mortgage brokers, contractors, etc.)
Buyers sometimes will forego hiring the typically free services of an agent to represent them in a purchase, erroneously believing that going directly to a listing agent will give them more leverage when negotiating on price or other contract terms. This is typically not the the end result.
Value Added Service and Transaction Support
A Realtor operates under a strict code of ethics, and will make certain that their client’s offer is presented in a timely fashion. A good listing agent will transmit and make sure that the highest and best offer is presented to his/her client, whether submitted by a buyer’s agent or by a buyer without representation. Additionally, a Realtor who represents a home listing has a fiduciary duty to the home seller and provides even more value for sellers in particular. They bring to the table the experience and knowledge needed to prepare the home for sale, and they provide marketing exposure that simply can’t compare to a 'For Sale' sign placed on the front lawn or a few pictures uploaded to a Zillow FSBO listing.
When helping you to prepare your property for listing, your Realtor will prepare a thorough market analysis based on current data and local knowledge of your market, suggest the best listing price that will sell your home within a reasonable time frame, coordinate staging the home if necessary, give your property the most marketing exposure possible, and work many endless hours to get your property sold for the highest price that local market conditions will allow. All the time, wearing many different hats and staying cool and calm while dealing with the many very difficult and aggravating situations that can and do arise during the sales process.
Sellers sometimes bite off more than they can chew. Contingencies such as financing, inspections, or appraisals can put any deal at risk if not managed correctly. An experienced agent will put their professional skills at work for you in order to manage these risks, and keep the transaction moving forward to an eventual close.
Minimize Your Risk and Exposure
Full time Realtors know what is necessary to make every transaction a successful one. They stay informed of constant changes to the law, contracts, and local marketing trends and put that knowledge to work for you. They manage difficulties that arise and keep you informed of your options in order minimize your risk during any deal. It is important to remember that your agent does not get paid unless there is a successful closing. There is a very strong motivation for your agent to deliver results for you. Many times they work countless weeks, sometimes months, to get a deal completed. If a deal falls through, your agent may receive no compensation at all for the hundreds (sometimes thousands) of hours of hard work that they have put into a deal. This is a fact that often times goes unnoticed by the general public.
You can see why due to the inherent complexities of the closing process and the risks to all parties involved in a deal, buying or selling real estate is most definitely not at all like buying or selling a car!