With the advent of the internet came a new kind of buyer, the truly “go it alone” real estate buyer. They come through my open houses, and their answer is always the same when asked ‘if they have a buyer’s agent,’ “I’ll find the house I want and then make an offer through the listing agent!”
Well, that all sounds good on paper but how does that work out in the real world of buying real estate in an ever hotter market?
#1 The major thing to keep in mind is that the listing agent has a primary relationship with the seller and though I have known some awesome listing agents, like myself, who are as honest as the day is long and can double end a transaction with integrity and virtue. Still , there is a vast contingent out there who are not. They conspire with the seller to hide defects from buyers. I know, I have protected many of my buyers from them.
#2. Listing agents are notoriously hard to get a hold of. So if you are out to tour a few homes in one day, you yourself have to make appointments with all of those listing agents to let you in the various properties you want to see. As a buyer’s agent I have an MLS lock box key, I can show you all the vacant properties and make the appointments for you to see all listings that have occupants in them in the area you want to live in. It is quicker and you see more homes in one tour then you can on your own. I have shown as many as 20 to 30 homes in one day’s house hunting tour with a buyer, try doing that on your own.
#3. Writing the contract. Everyone thinks that a chimpanzee can be trained to do real estate, and sadly there are many agents who fit this description, but only a seasoned veteran can really help you in negotiating and writing an offer with all of the proper safeguards to protect you and your deposit. Buying a home is the biggest investment of your life, having a Realtor with the skills to protect and help you is a must.
#4. Experience with inspections and property condition. Having someone who only represents your interests means that when it comes time to think about and ordering inspections on the property you are in contract in, rather then with someone who has a vested interest to get it sold and doubling their commission is important. It pays to have an experienced eye to help you decide what to inspect and what is not necessary.
#5. Real Estate is not a Ride Share. There is a push to automate everything and to remove human beings from almost all of the jobs/careers. Almost anyone can drive a car, but very few have the skills to negotiate a contract, advise on inspections, smooth over problems, look out for pitfalls and dangers and make sure the home that you buy is the home you will be happy with, without any unseen repercussions coming back on you in the years to come.
We can automate a lot, but when it comes to the home of your dreams, it takes an experienced agent/broker to see the carbon scoring on the roof vents indicating an attic fire that a property had in the recent past, which both the listing agent and the seller were trying to hide. My buyers at the time missed it, I saw it clearly. When the listing agent told me she had no knowledge of it and the seller denied it, we walked.
Going it alone in some things works, but in real estate if you want to save time, effort, your precious weekends off and money, hire an experienced buyer’s agent like myself to represent you and only your interests. You’ll be glad you did.