We see internet services like Uber and eBay disrupting business models all the time now, but those who think that online real estate tools can save them the trouble of hiring an agent are sorely mistaken.
The fact is that, while online real estate listing tools have their merits, they don’t even begin to substitute a quality real estate agent. Can an app show your home for you? Will it provide advice during tough negotiations? Can it actively call everyone it knows trying to find a home buyer, instead of just sitting there and waiting?
The answer to all these is a resounding, “no,” so young home buyers and sellers should not place too much faith in a listing app’s abilities to shortcut their process.
On the other side of the coin, you have hard-working real estate agents, most of which are great at their job and have the track record to prove it. And when you do find the great ones, they offer you so much more value than you expected. They can save you tons of stress and, typically, money. Learn why a quality real estate agent can be an indispensable guru and worth every penny they charge.
They Serve as Your Liaison and Negotiator
Real estate transactions involve lots of money and deals between perfect strangers. As you might imagine, tensions can climb high and things can get awkward fast in certain situations.
When you are a lone wolf buyer or seller, you are stuck with that tension. Someone calling your phone non-stop asking to see the home at an inconvenient hour or begging you to accept their home offer of a signed Jets jersey and a handful of pocket change can wear your nerves thin rather quickly. You may even be pressured to give in, settling for tens of thousands less than you hoped just to get the monkey off your back.
When you have a real estate agent, it’s their job to stave off monkeys.
“A lot of matchups between first-time home sellers and experienced investor buyers are patently unfair,” says Mark Brennan of www.portcoquitlamrealestatepro.com, a site specializing in Port Coquitlam real estate. He cites instances where families moving out of their first home get offers from aggressive buyers, often from overseas. These buyers understand subtle ways to twist a seller’s arm, “and they won’t take no for an answer,” says Brennan.
A real estate agent can cool off these dogged dealers, or at the very least put distance between them and you. Other times, they can make you aware of negotiation tactics that stump first-timers.
“You would be amazed at how many people pull the ‘I’ve got competing offers’ line to buyers until you ask for evidence,” Brennan reflects. He says that the fact the buyers and sellers naturally get emotional during the process necessitates an objective third party to help clear their head, which can prevent some serious mistakes.
They Put Your Best Foot Forward
First impressions matter a lot in real estate, especially for sellers.
“Statistics show that homes on the market longer get lower closing prices,” asserts Ray Werger, a Maple Ridge real estate specialist from www.mapleridgerealestatepro.com. He says listings older than 90 days get less attention, and attract more haggle-ready buyers.
“They assume something is not quite right with the house, otherwise it would have sold already,” Werger notes. He uses this information to emphasize to buyers that conditions should be perfect if they want a quick, profitable transaction. Everything from staging the home correctly to watching what you say in listings and showings can make a difference in attracting offers.
“The perfect home buyer is someone who is spellbound by a home; they want it right now,” claims Werger. However, when those buyers see flaws or begin to ask questions “that magic goes away,” resulting in a tougher negotiation the other party is now willing to walk away from.
Impressions matter with buying, too, albeit to a lesser extent. Werger says he has seen some buyers get their offers passed over not because of price but because “they rubbed a seller the wrong way.”
Real estate agents ensure that their home buyers and sellers avoid these missteps, saving them the tremendous cost of lost opportunities.
They Do Your Research for You
Home buyers sometimes have trouble finding the home they want because sometimes they aren’t absolutely sure what they are looking for, says Andrew Szalontai who specializes in selling condos in Yaletown, www.yaletowncondopro.com. He notes that buying a house is somewhat like choosing from dozens of car models “except a whole lot worse because every property is unique.”
Szalontai explains that many buyers feel confident at first since they know what size, bedroom count, location and features they think they want. “That can all go out the window pretty quickly, though,” says Szalontai, as the buyers discover just how diverse their options are. Suddenly, a minor feature like a great view can trump concerns like price or the size of a kitchen.
“They get paralyzed trying to make an apples-to-apples comparison because a lot of great properties are really a different fruit altogether.”
Szalontai helps guide stuck buyers by helping them evaluate each criterion on an objective basis. His knowledge of the market can also help buyers think fourth dimensionally.
“Few people live in one house forever,” Szalontai posits, “so I urge buyers to think about resale value down the road.” Upcoming developments, the character of a neighborhood and housing trends can all be unseen factors that buyers fail to consider without an agent.
They Handle Most of the Legwork and Paperwork
For sale by owner transactions can involve a hectic amount of legal and financial obligations that are tough to juggle, but even buying a home can be daunting.
“I rarely see such an expression of relief as when I say ‘just sign here’,” says Carl Bretzlaff of www.stalbertrealestatepro.com. Carl has specialized in buying and selling real estate in St Albert, Alberta for the last 30 years. He says that he has even seen some self-arranged deals get paused or fall through because someone missed a critical step.
An agent can also handle much of the back-and-forth negotiation between buyer and seller without the process becoming stressful and overwhelming. This knowledge is often the difference in ensuring that a seller or buyer gets as close as possible to their ideal price.
“A lot of people simply give up,” says Neeraj Sood a Fleetwood real estate specialist from www.fleetwoodrealestate.ca. “They don’t keep perspective that holding to your line can mean quite a difference in closing price.” Sood says that a lot of people later regret trading that money for temporary relief because “convenience isn’t something you can put in your bank account for later.”
They Earn Their Keep, and Then Some
All of the above factors can help ensure not only a less painful and stressful sale, but one that more directly meets the needs of a buyer or seller.
For home sellers, negotiation tactics and knowledge on what helps home listings sell can ensure a higher closing price in the end. Most of the time that price will greatly exceed the percentage a seller’s agent charges.
As for buyers, they don’t pay a penny for an agent’s services. Instead, the agent earns their commission from the price of the sale they helped facilitate.
In the end, buyers and sellers can feel greater relief and positivity about their transaction as a whole from both a personal and financial perspective. So, while you can’t put a price on peace of mind, you can place value on the diverse range of services and knowledge a real estate agent offers.
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