Buying and selling a home can seem so commonplace… people do it every day. Whether it be too many episodes of House Hunters and Million Dollar Listing, or having bought and sold personally in the past, the familiarity with the process can make it tempting to handle the process yourself. Who wouldn’t want to save on commissions if they could? I get it, and I’ve seen people do it really really well. I’ve also been on the other side of FSBOs (for sale by owners), and seen it not go so well. In fact, in those instances, I often end up playing Realtor to both sides in the end.
Having a professional on your side can make the process go smoother and hopefully take a lot of the stress off of your plate. Realtors aren’t just there to provide information. No longer do people need to rely on Real Estate Agents to gain access to the MLS. It’s easily accessible to anyone with a computer. What agents today can provide is insight that only comes from real day-to-day experience in the field. I recently read this statement… “The market that exists today has not been seen seen since approximately 1994 and the home buying experience of the period of 2003-2012 has almost zero resemblance to the buying experience of today.” It’s difficult, but buyers and sellers today need to understand that what you might remember about your last home transaction process from 5-10 (or more) years ago offers little value to the process today.
Hiring an agent should also take a lot of stress off of your shoulders. A few thoughts to consider:
1. A good agent has education and experience. You don’t need to know everything, but we do. Henry Ford once said, “When you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are.” I would never try to be my own physician, attorney, car mechanic, etc… You get the point.
2. Agents have neighborhood knowledge. Having someone who possesses insight to a particular area you’re trying to buy or sell in can give you a leg up. Even if we don’t have the intimate knowledge of a particular area, we can get it. For example, you might know that a house down the street from you was on the market at $350,000. What you might not know is that it actually sold for well above or below their list price, due to a competitive bid situation or going through a difficult inspection period. Also, we often have the inside track to deals before they even hit the market.
3. We have a good network of professionals that can help you. A good agent has worked thoroughly and hard to complete a good “team” of individual services to make your transaction go as smoothly as possible. I connect my clients with stagers, professional photographers, handyman services, lenders, attorneys, title agencies… the list goes on and on… that I have had good experiences with in the past.
4. Agents handle the paperwork. Selling your own home is not as simple as setting a sign in your yard and managing phone calls and showings. Before you’re even on the market, there is paperwork to be done. Everything from contracts, addenda, and disclosures need to be written correctly and distributed to all parties who will be involved in the closing process.
5. We act as a buffer for you. When your home is on the market, a good agent will take the “spam” out of the process for you. We will qualify showings and having your home listed with a firm will keep other agents from bombarding you with phone calls and mail to get your business. If you’re on the buyer side, being able to say that you’re “already working with an agent” will keep other selling agents from nipping at your heels.
6. Agents offer price guidance. Contrary to what you may have heard or even experienced in the past, we help guide our clients as they either price a home to sell or make an offer on a home to buy. You ultimately make the decision, but we have the resources to help make what can seem like a gray process much more black and white.
7. We know what the market conditions are like. This particular insight can help you decide which direction to go in as you consider getting in to the process of buying or selling.
8. We offer practiced negotiation skills and confidentiality. I tell my clients often that “part of my job is to remain unemotional throughout this process.” Selling a home can be emotional (of course!), and too many emotions are not good when they come in conflict with negotiations. Top producing agents negotiate better than others because they are able to remove themselves from the emotional aspect of the process. We can offer objective advice even in the midst of your buyers remorse melt-down.
9. Closed already? We’re still around! Many times, questions come up after closing that were overlooked. Good agents stand by ready to assist you at any point after your sale is complete.