Why the Best Real Estate Tools can't Beat an Agent
These days, many home buyers are using online platforms to find properties, and sellers are using these same sites to find buyers. There has been a lot of debate recently about whether or not real estate agents are even needed.
However, even with the best new platforms, a resourceful agent is gold for both buyers and sellers. If you are thinking about listing your home or if you are looking for homes for sale in Bellevue, WA, read on to learn why working with an agent is vital.
Agents Know the Market Intimately
In spite of the level of detail about properties online today, few buyers and sellers are as intimately acquainted with your local market as real estate agents are. They know which areas are trending upwards and downwards, how comparables look, and which areas to avoid because they are privy to information the average person isn’t. They may even know about properties coming on the market that haven’t been listed yet.
Some home buyers think they can lay their hands on this information after just a few months of looking online. But in reality, this kind of knowledge, integrated with other skills, as noted below, takes years of experience to build.
Agents Are Nearly Always Best for Sellers
Likewise, many people listing their home think they can just plunk a “For Sale By Owner” sign on the front yard and wait for the competitive offers to come rolling in. Maybe if they have a turnkey property in the most desirable neighborhood in a blazing hot market, that might happen. But otherwise, sellers need a listing agent to help with:
• Pricing strategies based on comparables and market trends
• Hosting broker open houses and networking to bring in traffic from other agencies
• Staging the home to sell
• Taking professional-looking photography
• Creating brochures and 3D tours
• Setting up a property website
• Collecting helpful buyer feedback
• Screening buyer credentials
• Ensuring legal requirements and proper disclosures have been met in the listing
Agents Bring Strong Negotiating Skills to the Table
Once a buyer is ready to tender an offer, or once a seller has been presented with an offer, a real estate agent has far more negotiating power than most people who aren’t in the business. In fact, the hardest part of buying or selling a property takes place once the negotiating has begun.
A seasoned agent can manage issues such as:
• How much to make the initial offer for
• How to counteroffer
• How to use contingencies to supplement the negotiations
• Dealing with unexpected findings on the inspection
• Handling a loan appraisal that doesn’t correspond to the offer
• Interacting with co-op boards
• Complicated contracts
• When to walk away from the deal
Your agent is there to serve as a buffer between you and the other party. If the negotiations get heated, they are on the front line so you don’t have to be. A good agent helps you as the buyer or seller feel less stressed and keeps things moving efficiently so your time isn’t wasted.
Agents Can Help DIY Buyers Reach Their Goals
Sometimes, buyers can get fairly far into the process on their own but they need an agent to help them complete that final 10 percent to get the property they really want. For buyers who are fighting a sellers market, or for sellers who are struggling with a buyers market, an agent is invaluable.
In addition to the skills they bring to the table, professional real estate agents can help buyers and sellers who must still keep up with their jobs and other responsibilities, which makes time a premium. Agents can file and organize documents, make phone calls, set up appointments and meetings, and arrange the closing. Those might seem like mundane tasks until it’s a week before the new owner is supposed to take possession and everything is still in chaos.
Agents Are Still Required to Purchase Upscale Properties
In spite of how much buyers can do on their own today, agents are still typically required when upscale or luxury properties are on the market. Few sellers and their agents will even allow a potential buyer to view their property when they haven’t been properly screened by a buyer’s agent and pre-approved for a mortgage.
These types of properties also usually have more complicated negotiations, involving large amounts of cash, fussy clients, unusual contingencies, rigorous documentation, and arduous inspections. If you think about properties that involve historical homes, stables, or waterfront rights, this makes sense, so in turn, it’s logical to get an agent involved. Even within the industry, junior agents don’t often handle these purchases, deferring to more experienced agents.
Agents and Technology Don’t Have to Be Mutually Exclusive
Often the decision about using a real estate agent to buy or sell a house is framed as an either-or proposition, but it doesn’t have to be. Today’s technology is really developed with both parties in mind. A buyer can peruse the market on their own and then be sent a narrow list of properties that meet their needs from an agent via an app. These apps can interface between the agent and the client to schedule showings and help with other tasks.
Sellers can stage their own homes or set a ballpark asking price before bringing in a real estate agent to finalize the listing. An advantage of working with an agent, even at the last minute, is that buyers and sellers rarely wonder if they paid too much or accepted too little in a deal involving the biggest investment of their lives.
In the end, what agents offer, including to those who are super tech-savvy, are qualities buyers and sellers simply can’t get on the Internet: well-honed intuition, market knowledge, and negotiating skills in the heat of the moment. The top real estate agents Bellevue, WA residents turn to for advice would tell any client, “Go as far as you can without me. When you’re ready for help, I’m here for you to help you achieve your real estate goals.”