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!