By Monte Mohr
It’s no secret that the real estate industry has evolved in numerous ways over the last decade. With the internet and mobile devices taking the market by storm, buyers have unprecedented access to property information at their fingertips, without depending on a real estate agent.
In some instances, property searches have been abandoned altogether by real estate professionals in an attempt to make themselves more efficient with their time. Some agents assume that since the majority of consumers search for homes online, it has somehow become the consumer’s responsibility rather than their agent. So that begs the question, are buyer’s agents still necessary? In short, yes and here’s why.
For starters, home buyers should not always rely on the sometimes partial or outdated information that many online sources provide. But more importantly, a good buyer’s agent will still carry out many tasks in the buyer’s best interest — tasks that reach far beyond the property search function. Here is a condensed list of the essential tasks that should be handled by a qualified buyer’s agent:
- Be an adviser and advocate during the entire home buying process
- Take time to uncover the buyer’s needs and wants as well as what’s motivating their purchase
- Educate buyer’s on current market conditions
- Find a way for buyers to attain as many of their needs as possible when dealing with the realities of the marketplace and/or specific financial constraints
- Research homes in the area and sort through active listings to make suggestions after cross-referencing buyer’s needs (i.e. Which homes are located in areas that have retained home values? Which homes are located inside good school districts? Lower taxed areas? Easy work commutes? etc.)
- Help buyers achieve their lifestyle needs with a different set of features than originally anticipated (this is particularly useful when dealing with financial constraints)
- Aid buyers in narrowing their search until they have identified their top choices
- Handle the ins and outs of the negotiation process including the preparation of all necessary forms when making an offer and/or counteroffer
- Provide oversight and follow up for any inspections deemed necessary
- Counsel buyers on how to handle any repairs needed on the property
- Be present at closing to ensure that all the buyer’s interests are protected
Buyer’s agents are no longer the gatekeepers of property information, but understanding, evaluating, and presenting that property information to home buyers remains an integral part of an agent’s job. If done properly, everyone benefits; if ignored or executed inadequately, everyone suffers.