Okay, okay - I know what you're likely thinking, how can she give advice on this when she herself is a REALTOR®? Well, I haven't always been a real estate agent and I can honestly fess up that as a DIY-er in generally all situations, I had argued that I could easily buy or sell a home without the assistance from another person. Especially when the transaction is one of the heaviest financially that I could ever make, how could I trust someone to be more on top of things than me? Then, I entered the industry and no longer thought of a REALTOR® as a sales person, but as a service provider. Let me show you all of the ways a real estate agent can service you throughout the real estate transaction, and why working with one is a total must!
1. Insider knowledge that no website can replace
Now a days, you can access a ton of information online about properties available, which is why more than 90 percent of home-buyers begin their search there. I personally think this is great way to get some base line knowledge, but don't believe everything you hear or read in this case. For example, as a real estate agent, I know that one of the most difficult tasks is pricing a home and this holds true whether I'm are representing a seller or a buyer. There are so many variables that go into locking in the right price like market changes, location, the motivation of the parties, condition of the home, homes located around it, etc. No algorithm, however sophisticated, can quantify the value of a kitchen that was remodeled just before a home was put on the market or a yard that is poorly maintained. It simply isn’t possible for any website to predict the value of a home with a level of accuracy sufficient to make a housing decision. Read more on this particular topic in this Washington Post article. In addition, to pricing, a real estate agent can provide:
- Knowledge of off market properties (not shared online) or pre-MLS listings (before they go on the market). With inventory as low as it is, this is crucial for buyers who are looking for a popular type of home.
- Connections with other agents who may have a potential buyer who is looking for exactly what you're selling or vice versa, have properties for buyers to purchase.
- As this is a full-time job, real estate agents study daily the current market including inventory to not only have options for buyers, but when a client is interested in selling, they have the knowledge to develop a successful strategy to sell.
- Information on interest rates real-time and their potential forecast to increase or decline.
- Partners to facilitate the transaction that they know and trust. I will go into this in more detail below, but there are so many key stakeholders involved in the process, it is crucial that your agent is confident in their capabilities for a smooth process.
2. Coordination of stakeholders
Can you guess how many people are involved in a standard real estate transaction? Off the top of my head, I've come up with a list of 19 people below, not including the team members that support them. PHEW! Also, there are strict timelines that need to be met throughout the transaction to ensure that everyone is doing their job by the specified time, which is extremely important in order for the deal to close successfully. I generally have a 'can do' attitude, but trying to do all of this yourself, while likely not knowing any of these people can be more than challenging and it is frankly not worth the risk.
- Seller (owner of the property to be sold)
- Listing Agent
- Listing Agent’s Broker
- Buyer’s Agent
- Buyer’s Agent’s Broker
- Buyer’s Lender
- Loan Officer
- Loan Processor
- Actual Lender
- Transaction Coordinator
- Escrow Officer (generally a team of people in charge of documents, funds, contracts, HOA and closings)
- Title Officer (a team of people in charge of liens, previous insurance claims, and recording the deed)
- Appraiser (hired by the buyer’s lender)
- Termite Inspector (hired by the buyer or seller depending on the contract)
- Physical Inspector (hired by the buyer)
- Insurance Agent (chosen by the buyer)
- Home Warranty Company (chosen by the buyer or seller depending on the contract)
Source, RC Realty of San Diego
3. They are your biggest advocate
When you work with a REALTOR® they will always have your best interest at hand, not just because they are a good person with values, but it is by law that they put your needs and wants first. This is known as fiduciary duty, and all agents must abide by this legal obligation to act in the best interest of another party. This means disclosing all information related to the real estate transaction, so you can truly trust this person and if you find that they are misrepresenting reality, you can take court action.
4. Industry Expertise
The last reason, which I think is the most important, is a real estate agent is going to have expertise on the industry that the average Joe just won't have. Think of your own job, particularly if you've worked their for a long time. Could someone just walk in one day, google what you do, and meet the level of required expectations without training, education or prior experience? Likely no. Successful, active real estate agents are constantly educating themselves on all things real estate so they can in turn, provide the most exceptional service whether you're buying or selling your home.
Keeping this as high level as I could (I could create a top 20 reasons why), I hope this information leads you to think twice when deciding to chose to work with an agent or go it alone. If you need further validation, have questions or want to partner with me on your upcoming real estate transaction, don't hesitate to reach out. I would love to speak with you and share with you the value of partnering with an expert REALTOR®.