Do You Need a Realtor to Buy a Home?
Let’s get things straight, you do not need a Broker to buy a home (I can almost feel my colleagues cringing).
Nowadays, you can spend countless hours looking at homes online, and with just a click of a button, you can see that same home the same day. After a few property tours & open houses you start to think to yourself, “Huh, this is really easy. Should I even use a Broker?” Well, you’re not wrong—scheduling appointments and looking at homes is pretty easy! Let’s be real, though…that’s the easiest part.
While we both know you can go at this on your own, I wholeheartedly think you should work with a Broker, but most importantly, one you trust. After all, this is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll ever make.
1. It’s Free.
Really though—using a Broker is free for buyers. The Seller is the one paying both the Brokers & their brokerages out of the money they receive from the sale. Our commission is already predetermined before the property even goes on the market, so it’s really not something a buyer has to worry about.
2. You’re Probably Going to End Up Working with One Anyways.
Unless you’re looking at homes that are “For Sale by Owner,” you’re probably requesting showings through sites like Zillow or Realtor.com. When you do that, the site pairs you up with a Broker who will later give you the home tour. A lot of the time, that person is the Seller’s Broker, which can be a conflict of interest.
My advice: Don’t wait until you’re ready to buy to choose a Broker.
While you don’t have to work with the Seller’s Broker, you may not know of any other Brokers. In that case, the Seller’s Broker will either refer you to one of their colleagues, or you’re picking someone randomly online. Either way, you don’t know who you’re working with and how well that person will advocate for you. It’s a risk, so I always recommend using someone you can trust and has proven themselves a savvy Broker ahead of time.
3. Real-Time Data of Homes for Sale
Real estate websites are great, but they’re not always good enough. Did you know it can take up to 72 hours for the information from the MLS to syndicate to third-party websites like Zillow & Realtor.com? There have been multiple occasions where I’ve sat and watched my own listings not show up on sites for days. If you’ve ever been home shopping yourself, this is part of the reason you’ll see properties go under contract so quickly.
Because real estate can move quickly, hours can be crucial. If you’ve been to my Sip & Learn, you’ll know my favorite example is of a client who missed out on his dream home. After a few weeks, the MLS notified us that the deal fell through (The buyer got cold feet) & was back on the market. Within hours we were able to negotiate a deal and go under contract before any website had updated its availability. Definitely a huge win for my clients.
4. Access to Pocket Listings
A pocket listing is a property that is not publicly advertised for sale. Whether the seller is concerned about their privacy or are not ready to go on the public market, pocket listings are a great opportunity for buyers to find exclusive (and affordable) homes that are not available to the public.
How do we find out about these exclusive listings? Brokers tell each other about them hoping that someone will have the perfect client, so it’s important to work with a well-connected Broker to give you access to all of the off-market opportunities. Beginning in September, I was already hearing about homes that planned on being listed in January—let that sit for a minute. Today, I heard about one for next May (7 months away).
5. Negotiating for the Best Deal
Brokers negotiate for a living—that’s our job. Between multiple offers, bidding wars, ruthless tactics & more, real estate can be a tough place, especially in hot markets, and having someone go up to bat for you can be crucial in closing a deal.
Something most people don’t know: there’s a lot more to negotiate than just the price like contingency lengths, inspection items & more.
I’ve seen buyers and sellers not able to sit in the same room at closing; I’ve seen sellers try to convince buyers to waive their mortgage and inspection contingencies; I’ve seen lawyers get fired for offensively bullying my clients to agree to terms; I’ve seen it all. While all of these things can go wrong, it’s the Brokers who are able to take a step back and get everyone on the same page again or, at the very least, figure out a solution — “Ok, they’ll take a $1,000 credit instead of a $750 credit and my buyers will just make all of the repairs themselves,” or “Hey, your attorney said some awful things. If we want everyone to feel good about this and for this to close, I’d recommend hiring another one.” We’re your advocate, and a part of that is seeing the bigger picture.
6. Your Full-Time Project Manager
This is where the juggling happens & buyers tend to slip up. Once you’re under contract on a property, you have quite a few things you’re responsible for: submitting earnest money (twice), hiring a home inspector and attorney, meeting all of your contingencies & more. If you miss one of those things, it could cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars. Why risk it?
Between that and the paperwork, it can be overwhelming. And while attorneys can help with some of these, Brokers go the extra mile to make sure that everyone is doing their best job and that everyone is happy. Having someone who’s experienced in navigating through tough waters ensures that nothing slips through the cracks.
7. Market Knowledge
Do you know about the next up & coming neighborhood? Do you know about the hot neighborhoods that are now cooling off? Do you know how high or how low your offers should be based on the growth or lack thereof in the area? What about the new parking changes in the area? And, did you hear they’re extending the L over here?
Real estate is an ever-changing landscape, and unless you eat, breath and sleep it, it’s hard to know exactly what’s always going on. Between things like the MLS, easily accessible data, talking to other Brokers, upcoming zoning changes and a lot more, it’s our business to know an area better than anyone else.
From clients wanting to know where the next best investments are to making sure our clients aren’t overspending and are also being realistic, that market knowledge is crucial.
8. Your Therapist & Confidant
Let’s be real—buying a home is pretty stressful. It’s one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, and whether they’re big or small, bumps in the road do happen.
We’re the ones you text late at night or first thing in the morning when you’re feeling anxious. When you’re stressed out because the clock is ticking and you still haven’t found a place, we’re there. When you want more data to feel better about your offer, we’re there. When you want our opinion on the color of the cabinets and backsplash, we’re there. When the seller is being a straight up jerk, we’re there.
And, it’s after the sale too—that relationship never ends.
9. See #1
You get all of the above for free…