For most people, searching for the home of their dreams is easy to do and the services of a realtor may not seem a necessity. After all, anyone with a computer and internet connection can find zillions of listings at the touch of a button. So why would a buyer need an agent to represent them?
Well, for one thing, visiting open houses and checking out all the latest listings on your computer will tell you nothing about the current market conditions in the area that you are searching. An experienced agent is a true expert in the area that they service. He/She knows what a fair asking price is and what it is not. It’s also important to remember that market conditions can change very quickly in any given area and may not be reflected in the asking price of the homes that you are interested in.
It’s also possible to be in a situation where there are many other buyers interested in the same property that you are. In this case it’s not just a simple matter of making an offer, getting it accepted and ending up at the closing table in a few months. You are competing with other buyers that have also made offers and the seller has the luxury of choosing the best offer. Do you know how to make your offer more attractive than your competition?
An experienced agent can help you to make an offer that has a better chance of being accepted. Perhaps you may need to offer a bit more than the asking price, or maybe eliminating certain contingencies in your offer will attract the seller to your offer instead of someone else’s; this is a “touchy” situation to say the least. If you make an offer that is too high it may be accepted but at what cost to you? If not attractive enough to the seller than you are sure to lose your dream home to another more savvy buyer. Isn’t this the time to have an experienced professional on your side?
What if you are considering buying a home in an area that has been experiencing a drop in real estate prices? It is a common occurrence in some areas that if there are many homes for sale at the same time the value of the homes will decrease in value. You may buy your dream home only to discover that is has actually lost some it’s value and you may find yourself owing more money on your home than it is currently worth in the marketplace. An agent familiar with an area will be aware of this trend and will make you aware of it. Can you get that from an online listing? At least you can be armed with this important information before making an appropriate (and possibly lower) offer on a home.
In any case, it is you, the buyer that must be comfortable with any offer that you make. A good agent will serve as a guide but ultimately it is your decision to make. I wouldn’t dream of making such an important financial decision without the guidance of an experienced professional. Although being represented by an agent may not seem to be a necessity during the exciting time of house hunting, I can assure you that unless you are an industry professional there is much that you are not aware of and as we both know, “What you don’t know can hurt you”.