It's true that the online age has been hard on all kinds of intermediaries. Travel agents, soft goo retailers have all been outpaced by Amazon and other 21st century businesses. And yet, real estate agents are still with us. Sure, their numbers declined due to the economic recession of 2018, but still.
During the housing boom of the early 2000s, real estate was considered a fast way to make easy money, and the less-than-serious participants of the profession didn't survive when sales dried up. Some agents say that it benefited the profession, because it got a lot of people out of it that shouldn't have been in it in the first place. And although there are a lot of people who - thanks to the internet - can arrange buying / selling their homes all by themselves, there are a few reasons why agents are still around and why you should invoke their assistance during one of your most lasting decisions of your life.
The post-recession world is more complex
The recession and the ensuing tighter lending standards have made the average transaction harder to navigate without expert help. Getting financing and negotiating tricky contracts, for example, probably shouldn't be done on your own.
The internet increases agent leverage over brokers
Agents are in a position where they can keep more of their money, because they're not reliant on the brokerage to get their business." To adapt and add value, brokerages have scaled back on their office space, so more agents now work from home, rather than a private cubicle.
People don't trust cheap things
Buying a home is a big decision, and people don't tend to want to take a risk on a cut-rate agent, which is why there hasn't been much undercutting or negotiation of commissions - at the end of the day, this is the biggest asset people ever own, so if they believe the agent would handle that process correctly, they are willing to pay for it.
They have better access to homes
Real estate agents know the local market inside and out. Sure, most homes are listed online for buyers to explore, and many sellers want to keep their sale rather private. There are many reasons for this, including nosey neighbors, divorce, financial struggle, or just family and friends in general that they might not want to know that they are selling their house.
Superior negotiation skills
An experienced real estate agent can detect issues with a potential home that otherwise, may have gone unnoticed. They will review a home evaluation in great detail, while observing the house for themselves as well. No matter how level-headed you usually are, buying a home is a very overwhelming and stressful process. Allowing an unbiased agent with no emotional attachment to the home make the negotiations will help you get what you want, and most importantly, what you deserve.
Along with the sale of a home comes a copious amount of paperwork. Some of these documents can include the following:
- affidavit of title
- bill of sale
- seller’s affidavit
- transfer tax declarations
- written offer
When it’s all said and done, you’ll probably have an entire folder on your shelf dedicated to the purchase of your new home. With all this paperwork comes signatures, records, and multiple copies. A real estate agent can help you track the paperwork, and most importantly, ensure that everything is signed and complete.
Agents help you avoid closing issues
In the final hours before the home is officially yours, you might want to avoid any bumps in the road. Some closing issues can include document errors, mortgage delays, last-minute requests, unclear titles, etc. An experienced realtor can foresee these issues from kilometers away, helping you overcome obstacles or resolve them before it’s too late.