Why use a real estate agent when everything you might want to know about a home is available online? Here are three reasons why Realtors are just as important as they were years ago—if not more so.
1. You need someone to interpret all that information.
Yes, there’s a ton of information online for the general public. But all that data, in and of itself, is meaningless if you can’t interpret it or predict how it might affect your investment.
For example, imagine that you’ve found a home online you love. You’ve discovered a comparable home that sold two months ago for $50K less. You might decide to wait and not make an offer, or make a lowball offer. But a good agent would know that the “comparable” you found has dry rot and termite issues. They’d know there was work done in the basement without permits. This is crucial inside knowledge that, usually, only an experienced agent would have. Also, having a Realtor to bounce ideas off of, who can validate things you were thinking about a home, or who would highlight a disclosure you wouldn’t have noticed, gives you peace of mind.
2. It’s the agent’s job to know the market inside and out.
Most likely, you have a job that consumes a lot of your time and focus. You probably have expertise in your area, too. But in reality, trying to buy or sell a home is like a part-time job, one that requires its own expertise. Buying and selling homes is a real estate agent’s full-time job. Their livelihood depends on knowing the market and the history of all the homes sold in a particular neighborhood. They help a variety of buyers and sellers through the process over and over. The sheer repetition of completing so many deals is something buyers and sellers just don’t have. Through that repetition, an experienced agent learns when to avoid a certain inspector, when and how it makes sense to make their client put in an offer ahead of the open house, or how to navigate a title issue with the escrow company prior to a closing.
3. You can’t afford to make a mistake.
The past five years have shown how volatile the real estate market is. Prices went up and up and up, then crashed, and are now rising again. The equity many people counted on was wiped out and, depending upon when they bought, might never come back. At the same time, job security has become a thing of the past. The point is, life is more unpredictable than ever, and buying a home is a huge investment. If you make the mistake of buying at the height of the market, or buying the best house on the block, and then you have to sell sooner than expected, you could lose a lot of money.
Ultimately, a good real estate is your trusted adviser. Given that buyers don’t have to pay the Realtor’s commission (that’s the seller’s job), the question is: Why wouldn’t you use a real estate agent?