You would think that with all the real estate information now available online fewer buyers would be working with a Realtor than before. But that isn't the case. Realtor use increased about 38% in the last eleven years… from 69% in 2001 to 95% of Minnesota buyers in 2012!
In recent years there has been talk of Realtors being squeezed out of real estate purchases altogether, including the prediction that buyers would find and buy homes exclusively online. This increase in Realtor use seems to indicate otherwise.
Why? I think one reason is that as buyers become more educated about the process they come to understand how much more is involved than they may have thought before… realizing they need a guide to help them sort through the myriad of information out there. They also may come to realize that they really should have legal representation for what is likely the biggest purchase many buyers will ever make. It's an example of the old adage that 'the more you know, the more you know you don't know'.
Here are 10 reasons why it makes sense to have a Realtor represent you when you are buying a home, now more than ever…
- Real estate transactions have become more complicated – In most cases, buying a home requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgages and appraisals requiring more documentation than ever, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page government-mandated settlement statements in addition to the sales Purchase Agreement, which is now usually 20-30 pages long and some even longer. A knowledgeable guide through this complexity can help you avoid delays or costly mistakes.
- Foreclosures and short sales are more challenging than traditional sales – If you are dealing with foreclosures and short sales, it is important to have a Realtor who understands how they work and is able to guide you through the minefield of potential pitfalls.
- With the ups and downs of the market in recent years, it can be hard to assess the 'real' current value of a property – Property values have been changing so rapidly it can be hard to determine if a particular property is on an up or down cycle. It is tempting to think properties are still regularly selling for 15-20% below asking price, when it is now can be more common to be involved in multiple bids with sale prices over asking price. You need a professional in your corner to help assess the current value of a property.
- Buying a home is time consuming – A Realtor can show buyers any property listed for sale, regardless of the agent or real estate company listing it… even For Sale By Owner properties. Instead of making separate appointments with different people to see each home, your Realtor can take care of it all. It takes an average of 12 weeks for a buyer working with a Realtor to find a home.
- Real estate has its own language – If you don’t know a CMA from a CIC from an REO, you can understand why it’s important to work with someone who speaks that language.
- Realtors have done it before – Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase… and even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations change every year. That’s why having an expert on your side is critical.
- Realtors provide objectivity – Since a home often symbolizes family, rest and security, not just four walls and roof, homeselling or buying is often a very emotional undertaking. And for most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you keep focused on both the business and emotional issues most important to
you… and provides a 'reality check'.
- Realtors subscribe to a stringent code of ethics – Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors, a trade organization of nearly 1 million members nationwide. Realtors subscribe to a stringent code of ethics that helps guarantee the highest level of service and integrity.
- Realtors provide legal representation – When you are represented by a buyer’s agent, you
have someone legally obligated to look out for your best interests. It’s a fiduciary relationship, just like a lawyer-client relationship.
- The seller usually pays for it – Where else do you get legal representation and have someone pay for it! In most cases your buyer’s agent is paid a commission by the seller as part of their listing contract. If you aren’t represented by your own agent that portion of the commission doesn’t go to you… it goes to the seller’s agent.