Welcome to the 21st century – the consumer-empowered, internet-fueled, DIY era, where people feel that they are able to tackle most of life’s obstacles on their own.
Consumers are increasingly savvy and budget minded – something we see often in the real estate market. Any given neighborhood will surely have a few “For Sale By Owner” signs in yards – promising potential home buyers a friendly, easy, and inexpensive alternative to dealing with real estate agents and “red tape”.
While we are all for the empowered consumers who can handle things on their own, remember that buying or selling a home is a tremendous financial transaction with real-world legal obligations and outcomes. There is often the misconception that “Realtors are just in it for the money” – referring to the commission that is paid to agents upon the successful closing of a home. While it is true that Realtors are getting paid, they are not just trying to profit off of your home’s sale – they are actually there to protect your money and best interests.
If you are considering taking the “FSBO” route on your next real estate deal, consider the following reasons why you should reconsider and use a Realtor instead…
Real estate can be confusing – there are rules (and laws) governing real estate transactions, in addition to the numerous forms, terminology, requirements, and expectations that go along with a sale. Realtors know all of these things like the back of their hand. This is their industry and they stay up to date on the latest trends and regulations affecting it – just like any serious professional would. Not knowing these things could result in a costly mistake, or worse – legal consequences. Why risk it, when there are dedicated professionals to help guide you through it?
They’re Like Secret Agents
Okay, not really, but they do have access to resources and networks that consumers do not. Believe it or not, there are listings that don’t end up on Zillow – use an agent and be the first to know about properties coming to market soon, or those not openly advertised. Agents often have networks they can reach out to (because they generally know almost everyone) and can even find homes for buyers that would not have come on to the market otherwise. Where there’s a will, there’s a way – and Realtors have the will!
“The Art of The Deal”
In competitive markets, negotiations can get heated quickly. There will be competition, sometimes cut-throat tactics, all-cash or contingency-waived offers, and any other “edge” you can think of that would help a buyer get their offer accepted. This is when you want a professional negotiator on your side – someone who will negotiate with your best interests in mind, who can get your offer accepted while getting you the best deal, and without throwing all of your rights or protections out the window to get it done.
They Adhere to a Code
While not every real estate agent is a Realtor (a member of the National Association of Realtors), those that are get held to a higher standard. They belong to a national trade group that holds its members to a strict code of ethics. There are also individual state licensing boards and trade groups that regulate behavior among licensed agents to ensure ethical standards are followed. When working with a licensed agent, you know that you are working with someone who understands what their obligations are to you, and you have recourse if you ever felt that those obligations were not fulfilled.
They Are Always There For You
Whether it’s some late night or weekend negotiating, or just some sage advice when you’re making the biggest purchase of your life, your agent wears many hats. In addition to being professionals in their industry (with endless connections and resources) they are people – just like the rest of us. Many are involved in their communities and neighborhoods and make it a point to be available to their clients at any point during, and even after the sale. What if you just moved in and decided you’d like to overhaul the landscaping in the back yard, or want to get started on that unfinished basement that sold you on the home in the first place? Give your agent a call – they will be able to give you a referral to a professional in your area that’s been vetted and comes highly recommended. Have a friend or family member that’s also looking to buy or sell? They would be eternally grateful for your referral – it’s the highest compliment you can give them!
If you are considering buying or selling in the future, and think that you should go it alone to save some money – do yourself a favor and talk to an agent (or two) in your area to see what they can offer you first. They love what they do and they love their clients too!