What the...does a real estate agent even do?
If you’re thinking about doing a real estate deal all on your own - with no prior experience - then you need to read this article. If someone you know is considering it, then you need to share this post with them!
I get it. With all the DIY build-your-home shows out there, it’s tempting to think you can DIY buy or sell your home too.
After all, you used to need an agent to get access to listings, but the internet has changed all that. Now access to information on listings is so easy. Why should you give thousands of dollars in commission out of your deal to someone who has pretty much the same access to listings as you do? It can’t be that hard, right?
Maybe you’ve thought, “We got rid of travel agents in favour of booking sites, didn’t we? Why shouldn’t real estate agents should be next? Aren’t all those real estate agents basically overblown used car salesmen? You just need the right paperwork, which I can probably download for free! I mean, WTF does a real estate agent even do anyways?”
Just because a good agent makes it look easy, doesn’t mean it is easy. Any professional will make it look easy. A locksmith will make installing a door lock look easy. An artist will make drawing look easy. Being a real estate agent is more than just listings and paperwork. Here’s what we do for you.
Knowing the information vs. Having the information
Any data scientist will tell you, it’s not the information you have, it’s what you can do with it that has value. It’s like the difference between knowing Spanish and having a Spanish dictionary. You may have all the same information, but a good real estate agent is fluent in the market, and will make it easy to buy or sell a home. Stumbling through yourself, not unlike stumbling through Spanish at a resort, you might end up ordering something you didn’t want. Except in real estate, it might get yourself into financial and/or legal trouble, instead of the wrong cocktail.
What do I mean specifically?
We provide context. Good agents know the history of the market, and are constantly looking out for what’s next. We’ve seen many homes, and can walk you you through the process without wasting time learning how it’s done. It’s routine for an agent. For a DIY, it’s all new and you don’t fully know what to expect. We protect our clients by knowing the full extent of the paperwork and liabilities.
We are a financial guide
Agents can communicate the full cost of not just buying a home, but owning a home: utilities, property taxes, services, zoning restrictions, these are all costs that don’t generally pop into mind when thinking about your dream home. We’re also practiced negotiators, able to facilitate the transaction and come to a deal that, frankly, most people wouldn’t be able to do on their own. A good deal will pay for the commission several times over.
Greater Access to Information
There are still some pieces of information that a real estate agent has that the general house buyer doesn’t. We can give you more details about the listing and the history of the home.
Services that you can’t google your way through
Agents spend time showing you homes, not just opening doors, but highlighting the pros and cons of the home and neighbourhood. Try searching for that online!
“Hey Alexa, is this house good? What’s the neighbourhood like?”
Agents develop marketing plans to sell your home. When strangers come into your home, we know how to handle that to your benefit. We know how to market it, suggest repairs and decor to stage it perfectly, and we actually sell it, for hundreds of thousands or (in some cases) millions of dollars.
We’re also built-in problem solvers. We monitor the sales progress and will work with you - and all relevant parties, for that matter - to resolve any issues prior to closing.
The good ones are also counsellors, able to deal with the roller coaster of emotions that can come with - what is for most people - the single largest financial transaction of their lives.
The best agents are there for you after closing
Even after you’ve moved in and settled into your new property, the best agents are still there to make sure you have someone you can count on to help you with questions if you need it. Most of us will have a network of skilled trade workers and home servicing providers we know that are reliable and fair. When owning a home, sinks get clogged, water heaters break, basements flood and you’ll need partners whom you can trust. We know our relationship doesn’t have to end after you get the key.