Buying a home is the largest single purchase you will ever make and there are many good reasons to use a real estate agent when you buy or sell a home. How many times in your life do you drop a quarter of a million dollars or more on a shopping spree? Hiring a skilled real estate agent will help you navigate the complex home buying and selling process. Both buying a home and selling a home is full of pitfalls that can be avoided with professional guidance to provide you with expert knowledge of the market and negotiation skills. Professional realtors can help you get the best value but realtors also help with the very basics of the real estate process:
Zillow and the Amazon Model of Real Estate
Nearly 90% of buyers purchase their home through a real estate agent, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.
Real estate website Zillow recently announced that it will begin buying and selling homes directly to and from homeowners. What that means is that Zillow itself will soon be buying homes directly from sellers, then turning around and reselling them.
While Zillow has grown into a resource for house hunters, the move into buying and selling homes is not beneficial for home buyers and sellers. Zillow is a media company, not a real estate company. Even Zillow’s CEO Spencer Rascoff* said that the company views itself as a media company, not a real estate company:
“We sell ads, not houses. We’re all about providing consumers with access to information and then connecting them with local professionals. And we do a great job of giving those local professional high-quality lead, they’ll covert those leads to at a high rate and then want more media impressions from us. So we’re not actually in the transaction, we’re in the media business.”
The “Amazon” trend — a giant company selling products at a lower price–is a good thing in most cases. But buying a book or cereal is vastly different than buying or selling your home. Even if you don’t call Brinton Realty, if you’re buying or selling a home, it makes sense to use a real estate professional to help you. Here are a few reasons to hire a realtor:
Rules Always Changing
Home sale rules are always changing and it’s your agent’s job to stay on top of the market and bring that expertise to you.
Your agent is the unbiased voice of reason who brings objectivity to the table. An agent helps sellers see past their emotional connection to their home and helps buyers deal with a multiple bid situation.
Your agent can recommend a good local home inspector who can provide a list of repair needs. Then, the agent will help evaluate which repairs are reasonable and which are excessive as you get your home ready to sell. Your agent also has contacts with excellent contractors to make the necessary repairs.
Determining the price of your home is difficult: you want to realize a maximum profit without scaring off potential buyers with sticker shock. With their experience in your market area, most real estate agents can set the price of a home very quickly.
If you’ve ever bought or sold a house, you know that it involves a mountain of paperwork. Your agent can really save the day here because the possibility of missing something — such as initialing all the proper boxes — can drop substantially when you are working with a pro who knows all the paperwork nuances.
Knowledge of Local Zoning and Codes
Professional real estate agents are familiar with local zoning ordinances and codes to be able to know if you can add on a new bedroom or put up a privacy fence. The agent should be able to make sure the city will allow your changes.
Last Minute Problems
Challenges can appear in the final hours of a sale that might kill the deal. Your agent knows to watch for trouble before it’s too late. Problems with the title or financing or timing are all things the agent knows to watch for and take steps to avoid. Agents are used to dealing with these kinds of issues and can work through nearly any challenge that might occur.
Resource After the Sale
Licensed agents are required to keep a complete set of all your real estate transaction documents, making them a good resource for years after the deal has closed.
Update: In February 2019 Zillow replaced CEO Spencer Rascoff with original CEO Rich Barton. Barton founded Glassdoor and Expedia.