The days of purchasing homes solely through a Real Estate Brokerage are bygone with the advent of the Internet. When Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink invented and launched Zillow in 2006 they did something amazing. They took information that once was only accessible to Real Estate Agents and gave it to the world. Not only did they give us the information but they made it readily available to list your house as a ‘For Sale by Owner’ with nothing more than the desire to do so. Recently with the merger of Trulia with Zillow the reach has only gotten larger. The market getting a little more cluttered every day with the late bloomers coming onto the scene like Realtor.com, Forsalebyowner.com, Homes.com, redfin.com and a literal army of others
I for one am an advocate of Digital Marketing and the Internet. I have spent the majority of my adult life and my career as a leader in Digital Marketing and have started several successful Digital Marketing companies. For my Real Estate friends out there reading this – I understand that Zillow causes problems with confusing clients, publishing properties that are not for sale or ‘pending’, and provides so much clutter it is really difficult to find our own properties online. Like I said ~ I understand all of this and am still an advocate. The reason being is that the only thing that has changed in Real Estate is the landscape of the market. If you understand how people are consuming their media then you can use this as a tool to help them in their home buying adventure.
Now to the meat and potatoes of why I am writing this article. You still need a Real Estate Agent. No matter what is provided online, no matter what you can access or publish for free, no matter whom you think you are dealing with these are the top 5 reasons you still need a Real Estate Agent:
1. Better Access/More Convenience
To say better access and more convenience might be trivial to many first or even second time homebuyers. The fact is that the real estate market moves and it moves incredibly fast. I begin my day by reviewing all of the sold properties (on the Multiple Listing Service & Zillow). Once I know what is and what is not I move onto the For Sale by Owners list to see what has been sold. I keep several lists going for different types of buyers; investors, 3/2 Mid Range, under 100K, acreage, etc. All of this is done everyday with my first cup of coffee. When my customers are looking and are loyal to me I send them any listings that I feel would be a good fit almost on a daily basis. This is convenient for me because I am already reviewing and it works out for my customers because many times they did not find that property themselves. Or in the case the property is brand new – we can see it first!
2. Negotiating Is Tricky Business
Negotiating is a skill just like any other. Your money is my money. I have sat in board rooms and negotiated deals with every type of business you can imagine. When I work for you I negotiate for you – no matter if you buying or selling. The little know fact that people do not realize is that a Real Estate Agent only get paid if he sells something – ONLY. Another little know fact is that the commission for the sale comes out of the buyers side (traditionally) unless negotiated other wise. So in essence when you are purchasing a home and the Real Estate Agent spends multiple months showing you house – we are doing it for nothing if a house is not sold.
3. Contracts Can Be Hard To Handle
The second part to handling Real Estate and how smoothly the process goes is how well the contracts are filled out. Now I enjoy contracts (I’m a freak like that) but I see it as my duty to my customer for me to write provisions to protect them going down the road. For instance TERMITES (yes i said it) this inspection will be required by your lender, however who is going to pay for the Termite Treatment? You are already spending money on appraisals etc – why wouldn’t you write it into the contract that the seller would treat the house. Security. I will not go in depth in everything with contracts but it should be kept in mind that if for NO OTHER REASON a Real Estate Agent earns his/her keep just by doing the paperwork and making sure it gets done on time.
4. Real Estate Agents Can’t Lie
I WISH! When I was getting into Real Estate I did not realize how severely we where scrutinized by the state. OREC or Oklahoma Real Estate Commission governs us. No its not a secret cult or some kind of honorary society of mukety mucks. It is the governing body for Real Estate in the Great State of Oklahoma. They require & monitor Real Estate Professionals in their practice of Real Estate. They outline how we can advertise, how we enter into contracts, how we handle your money, how we… well just about do everything. You can find a complete list of the study materials here: License Code and Rules (effective November 1, 2015) To put things into perspective: if you where to buy a car tomorrow. Would you car salesman be required to do continuing education, be secret shopped by OREC or be held to ethical guidelines of the Oklahoma Realtor Association? I would say the chances are minimal and that is your second largest purchase and can be done in 4 hours. Real Estate is the largest purchase you will ever make and it is very very complicated. Do you want to trust this purchase to a homeowner who will in all aspects be your Real Estate Agent?
5. Not Everyone Can Save Money
The desire to save money is a strong one. I feel that most people are born having some shred of intrinsic ability to save money. I am this person. I once was the person whom would not use a realtor, thought it was a scam, I sat and tried to figure out how to purchase and sell homes myself. I spent money time and truthfully worried alot that I had done it correctly. Yes this is sounding more and more like a confession. However the truth is that once i did hire a Real Estate Agent (who now happens to be my Broker) everything started moving quickly. Not only did she find me a home to purchase and got the whole process closed in 41 days but she also sold my home in less than a month. BOOM! Happy Days. In past transactions we waited forever, missed deadlines, no one told us what properties where going for in the area. So i have a stinking suspicion we could have sold for much much more.
The Bottom Line
I am not going to tell you that you absolutely have to use a Real Estate Agent to find you next home. I will tell you that Real Estate Agents and the Real Estate Industry in the Texoma Area are looking out for their clients best interests. I have yet to have met or worked with anyone who simply wants to get one over on their customers. So wrapping up… if you are going to proceed on your own do your research. There are lots of pitfalls.