With access to seemingly unlimited resources and information on the Internet, our DIY abilities are stronger than ever. It makes us confident that we could do just about anything ourselves—so long as we’ve done the appropriate research. The same goes for house hunting. With online databases of listings and thousands of How To articles at your fingertips, you might wonder why you should bother paying a realtor. But online research can’t match the value of real-world expertise. There are many perks of working with a realtor to find and purchase your new home that you can’t replicate on your own.
- House hunting is work, so unless you’re ready to make it your new part-time job, you’re better off handing it over to a professional. Hunting down listings that match your criteria, calling listing agents and setting up showings, staying on top of paperwork when you decide to make an offer—these things all take a lot of time. Your realtor will handle all of this for you and will handle it well. All you’ll have to do is show up and make decisions.
- Realtors are the experts, and no matter how much time you’ve spent on Trulia or Zillow, you are not. Their experience allows them to appraise whether a house is truly worth its listing price, whether a listing is going to be worth your time to visit, and whether there are any red flags in the house that you might not notice. Their expertise will save you time and ensure that you get the most value and best match out of your new home.
- Inform your search with privileged market information not available to the public. Realtors have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which contains more up-to-date information than anything you’d find on 3rd party websites. The MLS displays houses that aren’t listed anywhere else and registers immediate changes to listing information. It will also send you listings that match your criteria as soon as they are posted.
- Your realtor is your advocate. Most realtors join the National Association of Realtors, which requires them to abide by a code of ethics. Agreeing to this code means agreeing to always put a client’s interests ahead of their own. From negotiating the offer to requesting repairs from a resistant seller, your realtor represents your best interests. The same cannot be said of working directly with a listing agent. A listing agent will always prioritize the interests of their own client—the seller—so you will never get as good a deal as if you’d had your own representation.
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