I've already found the home I want...why do I need a Realtor®?

Real Estate Agent with Compass

Or you might think of using an internet agent who offers a rebate since you've presumable done all the legwork by finding a home for sale in Northern Virginia.     Well believe it or not, finding the home is not the most important part of the process!

How can that be?  Well think of it this way - finding the home does you no good if you cannot close on the home.  What happens between contract and closing is when the full time dedicated agents earn that full commission.

Think of these questions before you go with a rebate agent or alone:

Is that internet rebate agent going to put your interests first?  Ask how many clients they work with at one time. They love to tout their unusually large volume of sales.  Seems impressive on the surface, but how do they sell 40 houses a month?   They have different people assigned to different parts of the real estate purchase process.  One or more agents to show (who ever is available will show you the homes), another to schedule inspections, another to communicate with the lender, another to communicate wtih the listing agent.   If you work with a full time agent, typically full commission agent, odds are that person will have YOU at the top of their priority list every day with perhaps an assistant covering the administrative end.    But that agent is your point of contact, and the person making sure all parties are communicating and getting your home to closing.  I typically work with no more than 7 clients at one time, leaving me plenty of time to shower them with focus, attention and guidance during the very complex process of buying a home.  You can ask me the status of any of my listings or buyer's loans and title work during the process and I will know it.  I won't have to ask someone else or call you back later.   In fact, if you are my client, you probably won't even have to ask me because I will have already told you.   

Do you want one agent to show you a home, and another to write the offer?   This again, increases the chances for errors, and frankly takes so much joy out of the process.  It is exciting to have an agent show you a home, and then sit down and write an offer with you for it.  When I write an offer, we usually talk about our favorite features and write them in a cover letter for the seller.  We recall the conveyances, numbers of ceiling fans, if the fridge had an icemaker etc.  These things are not always listed in the MLS, and it helps to have the same agent show and sell it to you.

Would you rather have a one dedicated "project manager aka buyer's agent" working to bring your transaction to closing or 3-5 different ones?  Mulitple points of contact, will increase the chances of communications mishaps and critical information slipping through the cracks.  For example, once when I was working as a listing agent, with a rebate agent on the other side, the buyer's lender had rejected the loan, after the financing contingency had been removed, one week before closing.  They were not giving a reason why to the "primary" agent.  Why?  He'd talked to the "coordinator" and the communication between lender to coordinator to client to agent to listing agent had lapsed. That buyer was exposed completely by removing their financing contingency when the loan was not approved.  And there was a real tangible reason for it, but the communication was lost between too many cooks in the kitchen. 

multiple wheelsWould this have happened with one dedicated agent being the hub for the wheel?  Look at one of the the wheels.  Imagine the spokes are the buyer, lender, listing agent, title company, termite inspector, appraiser, home inspector, contractors, home warranty company,insurance agent, underwriter, processor... and the hub is the buyer's agent in a traditional model.  The buyer's agent touches each party.  Do you want each spoke flying out there with no central hub with which they can connect?   If you go with a rebate agent or none at all - you have multiple spokes and multiple hubs that potentaily never connect.  It increases your chances of default, missing deadlines and opportunities for a smooth and safe closing. 

It's a strong seller's market in Northern Virginia (for the most part) and the type of agent you work with will affect your chances of getting an offer among multiple bids.   Remember that as a listing agent, we know how difficult it is to work with multiple agent and coordinators on the other side to get the information in order to close, so going it alone or with a rebate agent could negatively affect your chances.   

A home is the most expensive thing most people ever buy - do you want to go the discount route on something so important?  "You get what you pay for", is a popular quote for a reason.


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Paula McDonald
Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury - Granbury, TX
Magnolia Realty ~ Granbury, TX 936-203-0279
Really nice post. And yes, you do get what you pay for.
May 19, 2012 04:16 AM #7
MaryKay Shumway
The Kellstrom Ray Agency, Inc. (Est. 1948) - Sister Bay, WI
Door County Wisconsin's Real Estate Expert

Great post.  Caveat Emptor!

May 19, 2012 04:56 AM #9
Pamela Smith
Award Realty - Sun City West, AZ
Sun City West, Corte Bella, Sun City Grand

You did a wonderful post.  Most people do not realize the importance of representation.

May 19, 2012 05:19 AM #10
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Connecting you to the L.A. real estate market

Excellent points, Coral.  Buying a home is one of the biggest transactions most people will make in their lifetime.  They are getting the services of a Realtor® free.  Why not take advantage of it and use a good one who is going to make sure everything goes smoothly.  Trying to save a few bucks by using an online agent can end up costing them way more.

May 19, 2012 05:38 AM #11
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Coral, I'm feeling a little over-whelmed right now because I handle all the things you mention above. But as you mention above, it is the best way to insure something important doesn't get missed during the transaction.

May 19, 2012 07:18 AM #12
Robert L. Brown
www.mrbrownsellsgr.com - Grand Rapids, MI
Grand Rapids Real Estate Bellabay Realty, West Mic

This comes down to common sense. On a purchase that will affect you for years to come why would you not.

May 19, 2012 07:37 AM #13
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

The spokes in a bicycle wheel are a great way to show the different avenues of a real estate transaction. I'd rather work with someone who knows the whole process, not just a small part of it.

May 19, 2012 09:09 AM #14
Jay Markanich
Jay Markanich Real Estate Inspections, LLC - Bristow, VA
Home Inspector - servicing all Northern Virginia

Outstanding post Coral.  You demonstrate that people don't know what they don't know.

And great job stacking those bicycle wheels!

May 19, 2012 09:21 AM #15
Kevin Sembrat
Diversified RCS Inc; http://www.ManhattanPropertiesGroup.com - Manhattan, NY

You summarized the situation well -- great post -- worth referring back to again and again! Thanks!


May 19, 2012 09:23 AM #16
Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Terrific analogy Coral.  I can't imagine trying to pass off the face time pieces of my business to multiple people.  And how confusing is it for the buyer?

May 19, 2012 10:46 AM #17
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

Yes it's not FINDING the house you need us for -- its negotiating, making the offer, getting you to closing...

May 19, 2012 11:36 AM #18
Sharon Alters
Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308 - Fleming Island, FL
Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL

Coral, this really says it all -

the communication between lender to coordinator to client to agent to listing agent had lapsed

In the most expensive purchase most people ever make, they deserve ONE person at the helm representing them.


May 19, 2012 11:43 AM #19
Joan Whitebook
BHG The Masiello Group - Nashua, NH
Consumer Focused Real Estate Services

Excellent post... and a question that comes up frequently..

"finding the home does you no good if you cannot close on the home.  What happens between contract and closing is when the full time dedicated agents earn that full commission."

I had a FSBO call and they wanted to know if I could help because they paid the seller the money, but never recevied the deed.. I gave them the name of a real estate attorney.

May 19, 2012 12:06 PM #20
Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Serious buyers work with a buyer's agent. Search on the internet is easy but the rest is not.

May 19, 2012 01:31 PM #21
Kathleen Daniels
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
San Jose Homes for Sale-Probate & Trust Specialist

Coral,  Anyone who does not think they need a buyer's agent clearly does not understand all that is involved in the process of buying a home.  There is FAR MORE to it than finding the home!

May 19, 2012 01:44 PM #22
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M
Coral - It's important to have an agent who is involved in the transaction. Though many agents have assistants, and it's helpful, agents still need to know what's going on.
May 19, 2012 02:35 PM #23
Doug Bullwinkel
Envoy Mortgage - Roseville, CA
NMLS #281609

We're not in your fathers Real Estate Market anymore.  Things used to be much simpler and sometimes you could get away without having an agent represent you.  These days, you really need an agent to represent you or it could cost you dearly.

May 19, 2012 02:49 PM #24
Cheryl Ritchie
RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com - Huntingtown, MD
Southern Maryland 301-980-7566
I like the expression that it can be expensive being cheap.
May 19, 2012 07:56 PM #25
Teresa Tedder
Carolina Realty of Wilkes Inc - Wilkesboro, NC

I want to say "If all you want to do is find the home, then you dont need a Realtor. However, if you want to buy it and actually live there, then you may need some help".

May 20, 2012 12:59 AM #26
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Coral, You have really explained this one well! Hopefully the buying public gets this very important message.

May 20, 2012 08:27 AM #27
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Coral Gundlach

Real Lives. Not Just Real Estate.
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