With the influx of new technology and web based solutions, it isn't a surprise that everything is moving fast into the era of the internet. From sites like Uber to Grubhub, we generally can pull up our phones or laptops to order what we want with ease. And with every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are "attempting" to be applied to the real estate industry.
We could all agree that the simplification of the process through paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike; but the attempt of replacing the agent by sites like Zillow and other third party resources, can lead to a snowball affect of disaster. Think about real estate being smack dab in the middle of fast food and a doctor. You can use your mobile device to quickly place your order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to getting a surgery, you'll want to put that phone down and visit a professional. Now think of your real estate agent being in the middle of all of that. You can use your devices to look for a home, look at market data the way you look at WebMD, knowing not to take it too seriously because you need a real professional's input, but it's fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect. But there in lies the issue, the data online is an oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling. The same way it oversimplifies medical diseases and surgeries, you'd still expect to get a professional's diagnosis.
Although a real estate agent isn't quite like a doctor, the industry in it's legalities, contracts, and processes is similar in the sense that it needs to be taken seriously. Looking for a house online and wanting to put an immediate offer on one can be exciting and fun, but the issues that require a professional's guidance comes after the initial contract is written up and the hard work comes into place to actually make the home your own. Same for sellers, if you decide to put your home on the market and want a website that will give you an automatic offer, how do you know you're not being taken advantage of in the price? But most importantly, how do you know you're not being taken advantage of in other aspects of the contract? Because there is a lot more to the sale of the home then just agreeing on a number.
The next time you're digging through public sites for homes for sale, and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple process to give you an idea of your market. A very general idea. But after you've found the perfect house, or after you've decided that the numbers make some sense for you to sell, call your favorite real estate agent and make sure they give you a more detailed look into the market and assist you through the full process, not just the exciting first parts. Because it's going to be in the middle of a contract when the lending is falling apart, or negotiations can't be made on repairs and emotions are at an all time high, that you are going to wish you had put down your laptop and had an agent fighting for you by your side. Use the internet, have fun with it's amazing resources, but don't let it replace your agent. We aren't in an age, just yet, where technology can do everything a professional can.
According to Trulia, (and we agree) here are 5 reasons you should hire a real estate professional:
The fastest and most affordable way to sell your house is to price it correctly. Price too high, and you risk your home’s becoming a stale listing. Price too low, and you lose money.
Experienced agents know the nuances of your local market and how to price based on those specifics. By hiring an agent, you’ll ensure you won’t make any emotional home seller mistakes when pricing your home.
Selling your home is a major business transaction. The sale process has three significant negotiations: the initial offer, the counteroffer, and the postoffer period, which includes inspections and requests for concessions.
Bottom line: You need a skilled and objective negotiator on your side during these discussions.
You want your home to get the maximum exposure to the greatest number of potential buyers. Your agent will prepare all the marketing materials, coordinate the Internet marketing, host open houses, and network regularly with other agents who may have interested buyers.
4. Buyer perception
The vast majority of potential buyers are going to be represented by an agent of their own. FSBO deals can often deter those agents, who prefer to work with another real estate professional or who worry about not receiving their own half of the commission.
And if, as the seller, you do plan to pony up a buyer’s agent commission, you’re really saving only 3%, not 6%, on the sale.
5. Smooth sale process
A professional real estate agent has the experience to work through the sale process efficiently, stepping in when there are financing problems, dealing directly with buyers’ objections and complaints, keeping everything on track, and facilitating the contracts and escrow to a successful, smooth close.