Why Real Estate Consumers Still Need an Agent?

Nowadays, Google has become the debate settler and the highest form of truth, well, unless you click on an unreliable link, of course. The way we conduct our lives have changed so dramatically, and it all happened without us even really noticing. Everything has become available, at our fingertips, 24/7. From buying to selling, to education, it’s all there for us. Google’s tagline really should be, “Ask and you shall receive”. No market has escaped the effects of technology and the era of information, and the real estate industry is another great example as to how both consumers and real estate agents have adapted to this change.  

Brace yourself, for this question, has come across the minds of many who are engaging in the real estate market: Do I need a real estate agent? Especially if I can easily access house listings on websites, shortlist houses falling into my price range and meeting my criteria? I can find information on neighborhoods anywhere on the internet. Similarly, sellers can list their property on websites with all the pictures and necessary details and hope to catch any interested buyers. But does it mean real estate professionals have become obsolete? Are real estate agents not needed anymore? Don’t they have any value to add in the process? The answer is No (unless you have money to burn). On the quest to sell/buy your dream home you will ride the roller coaster of emotions, bear financial crunches and face complexities, you will need expert help at some point or the other. So, it’s better to take that expert along before setting out on this journey. You need that partner for such obvious reasons, plus some discussed below:

Relationship Building

Home buying or selling isn’t just a financial transaction between two parties; it’s about relationship building. Agents know how to keep buyers engaged and build relationships. Buyers and sellers often need a third person to communicate their concerns to the other party to avoid awkwardness between them. During a transaction, both buyers and sellers are under the influence of heavy emotions. Sellers feel insecure and defensive for their long-lived, loved and sometimes the priciest possession of their entire life. Buyers feel doubtful, confused and often paranoid for giving their life savings away. These emotions are too much for them to handle any tactful communications and negotiations. The clash of these two extreme emotions leads to conflicts between the two parties. Sometimes such heavy emotions may even destroy a good deal. Therefore, both of them need somebody to keep things going smoothly.

Risk Mitigation

For most people, buying or selling property is once in a lifetime job. They are new to the process, and there is a lot that can go wrong. Therefore, they need help from professionals at some point or the other. It can be at the start where they need professional help to establish their finances or at the end where they need somebody to count on for all the complex contractual specifics and paperwork. Or it can be anywhere in between to do all the talking. Kendall Clark, a lawyer, says he has handled many transactions where the clients involved had no agent representatives. The reason they ended up being a litigant is that they usually were not aware of the contractual obligations. Many of them were buyers who failed to follow the contract’s timeline for applying for financing or even performing inspections. Sellers failed to provide timely payoff information, address title issues, obtain HOA disclosure documents, get termite/septic inspections, etc. Therefore, buyers and sellers need a professional guide who would walk them through the entire process to avoid any pitfalls. Agent’s insight makes the transactions least likely to result in a lawsuit for breach of contract or specific performance.

Real Time Data

Despite the widest range of services being offered online, agents still have inside knowledge which cannot be found anywhere else. They know the market inside and out. That online real estate information is sometimes inaccurate or even out of date. Buyers who do the research themselves still need an agent for real-time data.  

Tip One’s Hand

Sellers often do not tell the truth about their homes. They may not disclose any potential issues or may even hide issues they have had already. For example, they may swear it is termite free, but it is not. Buyers, on the other hand, may not inform the seller that they are not prequalified or pre-approved until very close to finalizing the deal. Therefore, both buyers/sellers need an agent to keep the other side honest.

You can prove yourself penny-wise by doing everything yourself, finding out all you need to know online. But can you trust your understanding and audacity built upon something you found online, for such a big task? The internet can be used to define your needs and narrow down your choices, but you will still need the advice of a specialist to close such an important transaction. Real estate agents can thus help you with the offline part of the process. Site visits, negotiations, bringing buyers and sellers to agree to the terms and finish the paperwork is all that needs to do in person, offline.

To sum up, yes, buyers can find the houses available for sale and sellers may find interested buyers over the internet, but this is only a small part of the overall buying or selling endeavor. A home is likely the most expensive item you will buy or sell in your life. With the laws and regulations, negotiating skills, projected increase of value for properties, investment, knowledge, relationships, referrals and much more that agents offer, expertise in this area will never be replaced by black and white answers we find online. After all, knowledge is half the battle, how we execute our knowledge is what makes the real difference, and that’s the true value a real estate agent adds. So, in short, yes, real estate agents add a tremendous amount of value, and yes, clients need an agent to be well represented.

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