If I Can Research Properties on the Internet, Why Should I Work With An Agent?

By
Real Estate Agent with Real estate agent at Oak Real Estate

I am a do-it-myselfer.  I enjoy the challenge of fixing what's broken on my own, of discovering something new, and of finding a good bargain.  So I have to admit I get it when people tell me they think they don't need an agent for buying a house.  Between being able to search our MLS online, internet postings about open houses, and virtual tours, buyers have so many tools at their disposal, it's easy to start believing you can do it yourself.  Too easy . . . because there's a lot more to buying a house than simply finding a pretty one on the Internet.

We are seeing a real trend - buyers researching properties on the Internet, attending open houses, and then trying to put in offers on their own in an attempt to save on some commission.  Sometimes it works.  But more often than not, the buyers' attempt to save a buck ends in disappointment.  A couple of weekends ago I saw the perfect example of why you can't always do it yourself.  I hosted an open house at an extremely well-priced townhome in a popular subdivision in Boulder.  People were literally waiting at the door for me to open it, saying they'd seen it come up on the MLS and couldn't wait to check it out.  Unfortunately, their ship had already sailed.  Other buyers had already jumped on the property, having had early notice of its being on the market and having seen it before the open house.  How could these open house visitors have avoided this disappointment?  By having their agent alert them of the new listing and get them into the property as soon as possible to check it out.

Your agent alerting you to new interesting listings is just one small example of how working with a buyers' agent can pay off.  There are so many other benefits: the agent's knowledge of the market and sales prices, which can help you avoid overpaying; the agent's experience with contracts once you make an offer; the agent's experience in bringing in qualified inspectors and professionals to evaluate the property you're buying . . . the list goes on and on.

All things said and done, after negotiating an offer, inspections, appraisals, and mortgage issues, working with an agent will often save you more than you will pay out in commission.  It also avoids countless evenings filled with stress and worry over the pending transaction.  Buying a house is just not the time to be a do-it-yourselfer - save that for the new kitchen remodel!

Posted by

Boulder County REALTOR

www.oconnellhomes.com

303-868-3957

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Re-Bloggged 29 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lottie Kendall 08/24/2010 06:08 PM
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  23. Roland Woodworth 08/26/2010 12:10 AM
  24. Kirsten Shafer 08/26/2010 02:53 AM
  25. Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Luxury Homes in Top Silicon Valley Schools-San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga & Palo Alto 08/26/2010 03:07 AM
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  28. Michelle Gibson 09/12/2010 07:18 PM
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Rainmaker
506,295
Patricia Aulson
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate

Thanks for the good post today.  It's appreciated.

Patricia/Seacoast NH

August 25, 2010 07:32 PM
Rainer
31,146
Jesus Sotelo Carrillo
Capitol Real Estate Group

Great post. I agree. We offer value that is not easy for our clients to grasp but its there.

August 25, 2010 08:00 PM
Ambassador
803,426
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael)

very good point.  Would you want to work with an agent who KNEW what you wanted to buy in your price range and get you the best possible deal?  Probaly.  And, buyers don't pay the commission, duh. 

August 25, 2010 10:24 PM
Rainmaker
155,543
Michelle Rottach
Scott County Iowa Real Estate
RE/MAX Elite Homes

There is so much information for the buyer to look at on the internet. I do question if they know which information is fact and which is fiction? Do they make their offer based on a Zillow zestimate or do they want a comparative market analysis, done by a professional who is looking out for their best interests.

Representing both the seller and the buyer is a fine line to walk. Do both parties get treated equal or does the seller get special treatment from the listing agent? If I were a buyer I would want someone looking out for my best interests and trying to get me the best price and terms. I think that the buyers lose the agent commission concessions during the negotiations anyways.

There is a lot more to making one of your largest financial investments than just finding a house you like.

August 25, 2010 10:43 PM
Rainmaker
164,902
Peter Testa
PETER TESTA
Nationwide Homes

All true, not to mention that buyer doesn't pay for personalized service and expertise. Why drive when you can be driven?

August 25, 2010 11:12 PM
Rainer
93,733
Vince McEveety
Gilleran Griffin Realty

that's a great question...

how's that e and o insurance working for you?

who you gonna sue?

what if you knew you'd lose 5k by doing it yourself?

August 25, 2010 11:49 PM
Ambassador
596,883
Roland Woodworth
Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource- SFR - Clarksv
Keller Williams Realty

What a great post. Buyers really do need a REALTOR® when searching for a new home.

August 26, 2010 12:08 AM
Rainmaker
99,633
Julie Ferenzi
Julie Ferenzi
Real People Realty, Inc.

Buyers believe me when I tell them the need me when over 70% of the houses they really like are already under contract.  I provide them with fresh, pertinent information every time I do a search from my state's MLS.  I also know more about the area statistically than Realtor.com or Zillow will ever know :o)

August 26, 2010 12:16 AM
Rainmaker
445,994
Vickie McCartney
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY
Maverick Realty

Hi Ann~  I think part of the problem is that we make it look so easy.  They just don't understand all that goes into it. 

August 26, 2010 12:39 AM
Rainmaker
973,701
Sharon Alters
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty

Third party negotiations yield best results. What about inspections? How mad is a buyer going to be when they realize they didn't require a Seller's Disclosure of the property and/or didn't do a proper inspection, then they find termites or that the air compressor is bad?

August 26, 2010 12:56 AM
Ambassador
1,550,626
Christine Donovan
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Donovan Blatt Realty

I think our industry needs to educate the general public better about exactly what we do.  Until they're better informed, many will think that we are simply door openers.

August 26, 2010 01:32 AM
Ambassador
1,550,626
Christine Donovan
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Donovan Blatt Realty

I think our industry needs to educate the general public better about exactly what we do.  Until they're better informed, many will think that we are simply door openers.

August 26, 2010 01:32 AM
Rainmaker
278,343
Melanie Ross
Benicia CA & Vallejo CA Real Estate, 707-319-2828
Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific

This is awesome!!  I enjoyed this as I can just picture some of the people being so proud they found it on their own, but with an agent to represent them, it could have been found faster!!

August 26, 2010 01:33 AM
Ambassador
1,092,442
Michelle Carr-Crowe Just Call 408-252-8900 Luxury Homes in Top Silicon Valley Schools-San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga & Palo Alto
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years
Just Call 408-252-8900 Lynbrook Homes Cupertino KW

As long as a buyer realizes he is hiring an amateur...

August 26, 2010 03:01 AM
Rainmaker
583,120
David Popoff
Realtor & Property Manager, Fairfield County, Ct.
DMK Real Estate & Property Mgmt

Ann, you have hit a really good point on this blog. There are so many pitfall one can encounter when buying a house, one really needs the local expert Realtor to represent them. I'm going re-blog this for my Ct. associates ~ DAve

August 26, 2010 08:04 AM
Anonymous #75
Anonymous
Anonymous

LOL, Mozzletov: here is a congruent excert form my top ten objections guide:

Why can’t I do what you are saying without you? I am a do-it-yourselfer:

This need not be a hot-potato issue: people who try to do everything by themselves to save overhead simply fail: ask yourself these questions: • Would you represent yourself in court? • Would you operate on yourself? • Can you grovel and blow your own horn at the same time? The obvious answer to all three is NO: so why is it that people try to catch up with online marketing experts and over 20 years of experience...LMAO

August 26, 2010 08:45 AM
Anonymous #76
Anonymous
A buyer

As a buyer, my thoughts after reading the blog and all the comments:

#9 "Buyers Agent commission would have been paid by the Seller" 

#64 "And buyers don't pay the commission, duh"

Isn't the money coming from the Buyer to the Seller?  If there is no buyer is there any money? (really want to add a Duh here) Are there multiple buyers for most properties out there so you can dismiss ones you don't like?

#17 "The listing agent will keep ALL the commission. It's the same to the seller and the agreement is between the seller and the listing BROKERAGE, not the seller, listing agent and unlicensed buyer..... now beat it" Really?  Telling a buyer to get lost is a bit over the top. And is it in the Seller's best interest? 

Why is this scenario not viable? No buyers agent. Offer is made at a lower amount, with explanation of 4% total commission instead of 6%. The selling agent/broker are better off, the buyer really does pay a lower price and the seller is a few hundred dollars better off with a more competitive price to actually sell the house.

Some numbers: $300,000 house - offer made at $294,000.  $6,000 real dollars less cost to the buyer.  4% commission to selling side ($11,760) instead of 3% on $300,000 ($9,000). Seller nets $282,240, which is $240 more than $282,000 on 6% commission at $300,000. The agent/broker are both actually better off (30% more commission dollars than sharing a commission) than the seller (maybe the 4% should be 3.5%) 

Or would you not present the offer that way and double dip?  Wouldn't seem to be in the best interest of the client to take 6% ($17,640) on the $294,000 - netting the seller $276,360 à$5,880 less. Then it is the sellers money since the buyers offer terms were changed. And does not seem in the sellers best interest.

Back to #17 - Yes, it does change the original agreement. Amendments happen all the time to signed contracts given changing circumstances.  Final result, house sold, win for buyer (lower price), win for seller (house sold with a few extra dollars) and selling agent/broker win with 30% more commission money. 

Why is this not a Win/Win/Win situation for those involved? Or would you rather "stand firm" and not complete the sale with more money in your pocket because you want to potentially double dip even though it hurts the seller?

#25 has a good perspective - real estate is not brain surgery or dentistry or IRS audit... Some people are able to handle the process themselves - some can't.  Do you choose not to work with them or explain it to the seller and let the seller make the choice?

#58 also has good points. Let them learn.  Or help them learn so maybe they turn to you in their next transaction. Or give you a referral rather than belittling us which I see throughout many of the blog comments.

#46  "I don't know how buyers come up with the mindset that if they are not working with an agent that it entitles them to a commission."  Perhaps buyers don't see why sellers have to pay a full commission and have a higher selling price.  Are you saying the full commission should be selling agent even though it was meant to be split. Seems greedy. 

#75 "As long as a buyer realizes he is hiring an amateur". Another take on the attorney joke about Attorney representing himself having a fool for a client.  Part of the issue is there are amateur real estate agents.  An amateur won the World Series of Poker a few years ago....

Again, my thoughts as a potential buyer. Thanks for your time and hopefully you will consider another perspective.  This is anonymous - after reading some of the caustic comments (not just here) I choose not to provide an email or name. I'm going to take 17's advice and "beat it now"

August 26, 2010 08:51 AM
Rainmaker
1,346,089
Andrew Mooers
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker
MOOERS REALTY

People skills unique to the emotional roller coaster of listing, marketing, selling real estate means a trained professional to help steer the process and avoid land mines, quick sand will never go out of style. More on line resources to get the details of the property out helps the process and can free up the broker if tons of images, real full motion video, details on the listing and community salt and pepper the internet for the buyer to glean, digest. But the offers, legal angle, logistics of domino real estate deals, possession, and when screw ups happen perspective on do this, or do that guidance needs one captain leading the way. It's all they do day in and out. To sheperd folks to a closing.

August 26, 2010 10:37 AM
Rainmaker
158,102
Cory Fitzsimmmons
Realtor - Denver, CO
ReThink Real Estate Group

Great blog Ann.  Tough topic and good discussion.

August 26, 2010 11:33 AM
Rainer
112,426
Lisa Schlitz
Realtor - Wellington, Florida Homes 561-214-3216
Home Run Real Estate, Inc.

Thanks Ann - Enjoyed the post and some of the comments-Going to reblog this great information.

September 17, 2010 07:18 PM
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Rainmaker
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Ann O'Connell

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