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-Blogged 29 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lottie Kendall 08/24/2010 06:08 PM
  2. Mary Kay Hopkins 08/24/2010 07:11 PM
  3. Fiona Barone 08/25/2010 11:56 AM
  4. Jan Mullins 08/25/2010 12:08 PM
  5. Ryan Covino 08/25/2010 12:21 PM
  6. Dee Bundy and Leslie Leis Northern Colorado Home Team 08/25/2010 12:25 PM
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  8. Dennis Duvernay Broker/Owner 08/25/2010 12:31 PM
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  10. Tim Krueger 08/25/2010 12:42 PM
  11. Cindy Abel 08/25/2010 12:46 PM
  12. Graziella Bruner 08/25/2010 12:51 PM
  13. Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528 08/25/2010 01:23 PM
  14. Peter Pfann @ 1 Percent Realty Victoria, and Pay-Less For Victoria Real Estate Results! 08/25/2010 02:23 PM
  15. Ken Patterson 08/25/2010 02:28 PM
  16. Rich Lee 08/25/2010 02:55 PM
  17. Sally English 08/25/2010 03:27 PM
  18. Barb England 08/25/2010 03:36 PM
  19. Kathy Stankard 08/25/2010 04:31 PM
  20. Donald Bradbury 08/25/2010 04:53 PM
  21. Shirley Parks 08/25/2010 08:17 PM
  22. David Langlois 08/25/2010 10:22 PM
  23. Roland Woodworth 08/26/2010 12:10 AM
  24. Kirsten Shafer 08/26/2010 02:53 AM
  25. Michelle Carr-Crowe-Selling Silicon Valley Homes in Top Schools San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga, Palo Alto-Just Call 408-252-8900 08/26/2010 03:07 AM
  26. David Popoff 08/26/2010 08:05 AM
  27. Cheryl Ritchie 08/26/2010 10:50 AM
  28. Michelle Gibson 09/12/2010 07:18 PM
  29. Lisa Schlitz 09/17/2010 07:28 PM
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Rainmaker
515,997
Patricia Aulson
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate - Exeter, NH
Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes

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

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Aug 25, 2010 07:32 PM #60
Rainer
31,146
Jesus Sotelo Carrillo
Capitol Real Estate Group - Visalia, CA

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

Aug 25, 2010 08:00 PM #61
Ambassador
857,677
Suzanne McLaughlin
Sabinske & Associates, Inc. (Albertville, St. Michael) - Saint Michael, MN
Sabinske & Associates, Realtor

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. 

Aug 25, 2010 10:24 PM #62
Rainmaker
156,745
Michelle Rottach
RE/MAX Elite Homes - Bettendorf, IA
Scott County Iowa Real Estate

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.

Aug 25, 2010 10:43 PM #63
Rainmaker
168,362
Peter Testa
Nationwide Homes - Bethel, CT
PETER TESTA

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

Aug 25, 2010 11:12 PM #64
Rainer
93,733
Vince McEveety
Gilleran Griffin Realty - Sherman Oaks, CA

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?

Aug 25, 2010 11:49 PM #65
Ambassador
602,206
Roland Woodworth
Keller Williams Realty - Clarksville, TN
Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource- SFR - Clarksv

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

Aug 26, 2010 12:08 AM #66
Rainmaker
100,136
Julie Ferenzi
Real People Realty, Inc. - Plainfield, IL
Julie Ferenzi

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)

Aug 26, 2010 12:16 AM #67
Rainmaker
446,810
Vickie McCartney
Maverick Realty - Owensboro, KY
Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY

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. 

Aug 26, 2010 12:39 AM #68
Rainmaker
979,653
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - Fleming Island, FL
Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents.

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?

Aug 26, 2010 12:56 AM #69
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Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M

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.

Aug 26, 2010 01:32 AM #70
Ambassador
1,579,203
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 800-610-7253 DRE01267479 - Costa M

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.

Aug 26, 2010 01:32 AM #71
Rainmaker
287,293
Melanie Ross
Coldwell Banker Solano Pacific - Benicia, CA
Benicia CA & Vallejo CA Real Estate, 707-319-2828

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!!

Aug 26, 2010 01:33 AM #72
Ambassador
1,146,699
Michelle Carr-Crowe-Selling Silicon Valley Homes in Top Schools San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga, Palo Alto-Just Call 408-252-8900
Just Call (408) 252-8900! - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

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

Aug 26, 2010 03:01 AM #73
Rainmaker
610,280
David Popoff
DMK Real Estate & Property Mgmt - Darien, CT
Realtor & Property Manager, Fairfield County, Ct.

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

Aug 26, 2010 08:04 AM #74
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

Aug 26, 2010 08:45 AM #75
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"

Aug 26, 2010 08:51 AM #76
Rainmaker
1,411,543
Andrew Mooers
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

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.

Aug 26, 2010 10:37 AM #77
Rainmaker
167,051
Cory Fitzsimmmons
ReThink Real Estate Group - Golden, CO
Realtor - Denver, CO

Great blog Ann.  Tough topic and good discussion.

Aug 26, 2010 11:33 AM #78
Rainer
112,426
Lisa Schlitz
Home Run Real Estate, Inc. - Wellington, FL
Realtor - Wellington, Florida Homes 561-214-3216

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

Sep 17, 2010 07:18 PM #79
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