The below post is from a real estate agent being asked, "Why does anyone need an agent now that so much is online?"
I would add that it is as important to have someone knowledgeable about the contracts, disclosures and procedures in the local area. Sellers have a legal obligation to make certain disclosures; if they don't give those disclosures, they can be on the hook for a law suit. Check this out: while I was writing this post, someone else was writing an article about disclosures that need to be given, even the font size that has to be used.
A buyer making an offer that is accepted will be bound by the terms of the contract and has their deposit at risk depending on how the contracts are written and what they choose to do during the transaction (release appraisal, loan, or other or all contingencies? when?).
I believe buying a home is similar to starting your own business. Anyone entering any field simply cannot know what he doesn't know, and he puts himself at risk of losing a lot of money by learning the hard way. You CAN draw up the paperwork, but if it is a venture involving significant money, other people, etc., etc., you should hire an expert in the field. I am an attorney but would not dream of representing myself in any court except small claims. We have started several businesses, and at this point would do the LLC documents ourselves, that is, being attorneys and also already having used practicing attorneys to create several businesses, have a forms file, etc..
In addition, keep in mind that the seller's proceeds pay the buyer's agent. The buyer can let the seller pay more to the seller's agent who has a first duty and loyalty to the seller; or the buyer can have the seller pay someone of the buyer's choice to represent the buyer and act with his one and highest duty to the buyer alone. I come down on the side that it's a no-brainer to have an experienced buyer's agent representing the buyer.
Take a look at a scenario that plays itself out daily across this country, as people can see and find homes online, investigate taxes, investigate schools, neighborhoods, crime, restaurants, seemingly everything. But when it gets real - when real contracts are being drawn up and putting thousands of dollars on the line - it is time to call in an expert who can give you the protection that comes with both extensive training and experience on a daily basis with the kind of transaction you are making in a locality...
I was chatting with one of the regulars at my gym the other day and the conversation turned to, "What do you do for a living?"
I said I was a real estate agent. She replied, "Does anyone really need a real estate agent with the internet?"
Well that was a question I did not have a well practiced script for! So I tried to answer as best I could. I told her the statistics show that over 70% of home buying starts on the internet and that the internet is a wonderful tool for getting a feel for homes. However, that a real estate agent lives and breathes real estate every day and can help a buyer understand what the right price strategy is for that home they might originally find on the internet.
I then later told my significant other about the conversation and he could see her point. He could see how real estate market today is in a similar position to where the stock market was when the internet changed how stock brokers worked with their clients.
Full service stock brokers still exist today but they are really providing value add or they do not survive. Is Redfin going to change real estate as much as eTrade changed the stock market?
All I know is that in order to best serve my clients I need to watch the market every day and understand what the market is doing today and understand where it is going or I will not be adding value to the information that my clients have access to already.
So yes you do need a real estate agent but only if they know more about the market than you do. We need to embrace the fact that our clients are doing their research before they find an agent to take them the rest of the way.
Lisa Delzompo (951-704-4559)
"May your home always be too small ... to hold all your friends!"
CA Dept of Real Estate, Real Estate Broker License #01379811;
NMLS Identifer #331744
REAL ESTATE: www.SandToSeaProperties.com. Covering northern San Diego, Oceanside, Temecula, Murrieta, Riverside County and desert areas of Yucca Valley, Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms, CA.
LOANS: PRW Lending, Inc. Call direct 951-704-4559, or email me at lisa(@)sand2sea.us
Information is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed. Information is general and may not address your particular situation. Do not rely solely on this or any information you find on the internet. You should consult relevant professionals directly about your real estate, financial, etc., situation.