Updated: Feb 11, 2020
Here we are in the digital age!
There is so much information out there right at our fingertips, never before have we been better informed or connected! Research says that about 81% of people research something before they purchase. From this, we can surmise that about the same percentage of people do their own market research before choosing to buy or sell a home.
With apps and platforms like realtor.com, zillow.com, nerdwallet.com,niche.com, nextdoor.com, and more - consumers are doing market research, reading reviews on agents, and are generally more informed than ever before. There's also a wealth of resources on sites such as howstuffworks.com and thebalance.com you can find step by step instructions on how the home buying or selling process works without ever having to consult your Realtor or Lender.
So why bother hiring the pros?
Here's my (biased) opinion on why I think it's still a good idea to have a team to help you with your Real Estate goals.
Have you ever had a technical issue with something and after looking up how to fix it and finding nothing, you called their customer service number only to get more generic unhelpful answers from a computer?
So frustrating right?
While there may be a wealth of information out there, every real estate transaction is different and it really helps to have a real-life person there to answer all of your questions for you!
Rate shopping, and alternative financing.
The most stressful part of purchasing a home by far is the financing for most people - especially if it's your first home. A Realtor can connect you with a few of their trusted lender partners ( if they are doing their job right) that you can shop. If you already have a lender or mortgage broker don't be afraid to see what other options are out there. You want to be sure that you are working with someone you can trust and has great resources and expertise.
For example, there are a couple of programs* running right now that allows certain buyers to purchase a home with no down payment! There are programs like these out there, and it's important to shop around and ask what your options are so you don't miss out or overpay when you don't need to.
Once you partner with a Lender, they can take a look at your entire financial profile and give you step by step advice. They also can tell you what to do and what not to do to keep your credit score and debt to income ratio stable during the home buying process. They have the tools and resources needed to ensure that you get into a home that works for you while keeping your finances in check.
In addition to this, a Lender partner is simply someone who can explain the complicated financial jargon and concepts that are associated with purchasing a home. Like what is the difference between a USDA loan and an FHA loan? What is a rapid rescore? And so on. Each person's financial story is different and having a real-life financing pro helps prevent a lot of headaches and missed opportunities.
Advice tailored to your needs, negotiations, and market knowledge.
It can be lucrative to represent yourself in a Real Estate transaction, especially on the selling side because of the money you save. It can also be tempting if you have had a bad experience with a Realtor before. It's not uncommon for Realtor to get "commission breath" and to act with their own agenda in mind. (Read this article for tips on how to hire the best Real Estate agent!)
Fun fact! In Oregon, the seller's agent pays the buyer's agent half of their commission. This means that if you hire an agent as a Buyer you get their Real Estate expertise for free!
A Realtor will work with your lender and/or their team to make a plan specially tailored to you and your goals. A good agent will interview you about where you are now, where you want to be, and how long until you want to get there. Their job is to make the process as simple and as made-for-you as possible. They should also be communicating with you and educating you along the way to ensure you are as well informed as possible.
When it comes to negotiating, that is something you will be grateful you had a Realtor to do. A Realtor will do all the heavy lifting and negotiate well on your behalf to get you the best deal possible. There's a lot of strategy and knowledge that goes into being a good negotiator and into choosing the best offer in a multiple offer situation. The highest offer may not always be the best one, and your Realtor will help you look at the big picture and make educated and savvy choices.
Your Realtor will also have in-depth knowledge of the legalities surrounding a real-estate transaction - thus being able to protect you and represent you better than you maybe would yourself. They also will be able to explain some of the more complicated concepts and help you navigate the transaction without any guessing or uncertainty.
This brings us to market knowledge! While Zillow can give you a "Zestimate" of a home's value, this is simply a price based on what homes near that home have sold for. A Realtor will make you a custom CMA to determine value. A CMA (Comparative Market Analysis) takes into account comparables (updates and unique features of the home), financing, past market trends, places of importance nearby such as schools, neighborhood, and more to get you the most accurate market price possible. This gets you a much clearer and more accurate number on what a home is worth. That's a lot of work that you don't have to do!
All of this and more are reasons you want people who have experience and expertise on your side. But most important of all is that it's great to have a real-life human there to answer all your questions and to guide you through what can be a very emotional and complicated step in your life.
That's all folks!
*Please contact me for more details. Subject to change and won't be around forever! Courtesy of Steve Macey at Mann Mortgage