The explosion of big data onto the Web has, without doubt, changed how everyone does business in real estate. Buyers and sellers now have access to the previously “behind-the-scenes” information once only available to agents, making them savvier consumers. Some may fear that this will lead to real estate agents becoming obsolete. But there are many, many things agents do for their clients that are irreplaceable.
Here are five things agents handle that your average client (or robot) can’t:
- Inspections – In most home transactions, an inspector is going to get involved (typically at the buyer’s request) and when they come in, according to relocation and moving company SIRVA, “expect (the inspector) to find things that need to be fixed before closing.” Most home buyers and sellers have little, if any, experience handling inspections and the resulting to-do lists that are likely to follow them. However, for an agent, this is just another part of the average work day.
- Contracts – There are few instances in which a contract will not be complicated, and plenty of complicated contracts can be found in the real estate world. Purchase contracts can be exceedingly lengthy and riddled with legalese and industry jargon that many clients will be unfamiliar with. In Illinois, the standard purchase agreement includes more than 40 items and covers everything from “interim financing,” to “interest bearing account(s),” to “real estate property tax escrow.” While it’s true a handful of buyers and sellers will have the wherewithal to navigate such contracts on their own, the average client won’t. A good real estate agent will.
- Connections – Some clients will need lenders; some will need builders; some will need home inspectors, or plumbers, or electricians; the list of moving parts in a home transaction is long and diverse. Clients rely on the networks of trusted professionals that agents (or their brokerages) have built.
- Showings and open houses – Agents handle the headaches of scheduling and the legwork of actually getting potential buyers through the home. If a potential buyer wants to see a home at 10:30 a.m. on a Wednesday, and another wants to check it out at 2 p.m. on a Friday, agents make it happen, and the homeowner doesn’t have to worry about taking off work or juggling schedules. In the same vein, if a seller wants to showcase their property through an open house, agents have the marketing power and knowhow to organize the event and catch the attention of the right people (particularly buyers’ agents).
- Negotiations – This is perhaps the most value an agent can bring to the table: the particular skills and experience needed to get their client the best possible outcome at the negotiation table. Negotiation can make the difference between having an offer accepted or rejected.