Real Estate Myth: I already found the house of my dreams, I don't need a REALTOR

Real Estate Agent with First Properites of The Carolinas

FALSE- Touring people around to find the perfect house is only 10% of the real estate agent's job. There's still 90% of the job to do. That's where you truly need a good REALTOR. After the house is found, you still need to write the offer. How are you going to write the offer?  Stop and think about that for a second.  Most consumers don't know.  Do you know the critical aspects that need to be in the contract to protect your best interests as a buyer? Will your contract protect you legally in case of default on the other party? What else should you submit along with your offer to strengthen your position?

After all this, you are going to need to negotiate the offer. Do you have real time access to comparables to do this adequately? How are you going to know if you are not vastly overpaying for the home? Will it appraise? What are the ramifications if it does not appraise?

After you have successfully negotiated the contract, do you know what comes next? Is your loan in order? Do you have a loan officer you know and trust will take good care of you? How about inspections? Did your contract stipulate what it needs to in the event that the house is a money pit? Do you know what inspections are relevant based on what year the home was built?  What about negotiating repairs? Do you know what's negotiable and what's not? Did you remember to get the appraisal ordered? Do you know about the importance of getting a survey done on the home? What attorney should you use? What are the attorney's responsibilities?  What about title work, and getting clear marketable title? What kind of deed will transfer with the property? Will  you get a General Warranty Deed? Do you know what that is?

See, finding the house is the easy part. Holding the deal together through all of the land mines and pitfalls of the on-going transaction is the hard part. Your REALTOR should be well versed in all of the above aspects of the transaction. Furthermore, your REALTOR should know and trust a solid team of individuals to ensure the transaction goes smoothly. Members of this team include a lender, appraiser, various inspectors, attorney, surveyor, title company, and a myriad of others that all help to make the transaction get to closing without falling apart.  According to the National Association of REALTORS, in a typical real estate transaction over 35 individuals touch close to 100 documents to make the deal happen.  If one detail is overlooked, it could have serious financial implications.

It is so wonderful that the internet empowers the consumer by providing tools to assist in finding that perfect home.  Just remember, there is still plenty of opportunity for the REALTOR to earn their keep!  

Steve Schwartz is a licensed REALTOR in NC and SC specializing in Fort Mill, Tega Cay, Lake Wylie, and Charlotte and the host of  Real Estate Law varies from state to state.  The comments made herein pertain to a typical real estate transaction in NC and SC and may not be relevant in your state.  Make sure to enlist the help of a licensed REALTOR in your state.

Comments (3)

Pam Joffe
Solaris Realty - Tampa, FL
Steve- You are so right. There are a lot of hurdles to get over that non-realtors don't know and can cause the deal to fall apart.
Apr 25, 2008 01:41 AM
Ron Parise - Cape Coral, FL


I believe that we buyers agents get paid for three things,

1) our product knowledge: We need to know our market; know whats available and be able to match the right neighborhood and home to our buyers needs and wants.

2) negotiating skills: We need to be able to work to get the best deal for our client

3) manage the transaction: We need to be able to move a deal from contract to closing

 All three of these things are necessarry to a successful deal; no one less important than the others. I would therefore take issue with your statement that finding the home is only 10% of the job. In fact I would argue that your numbers should be reversed. I think finding the right home is 90% of the job. Look at it this way. Without the right home there is nothing to negotiate, no contract to write and no deal to close.

In fact the way I look at it , is that if a client has found the right home they dont need me at all.  At the very least I should be willing to cut my fees to help them close the deal

This is why I prefer to work with an out of state buyer, looking to relocate or purchase a second home. They know they dont know the market as well as I do, and they need my knowledge and expertise (and they are willing to pay for it)



Apr 25, 2008 01:43 AM


I appreciate your opinion and welcome your input, however, I still think our real value to the public starts at the time the right home is identified.  I know we are all different, and we have different aspects of the job that come easier to us than others.  For me, most of my business comes from referrals and the internet.  I do a lot of due diligence getting to know my clients needs prior to our first meeting.  Sending them listings, getting them pre-qualified, and then communicating with them over the phone prior to ever going out drastically reduces our time to find the perfect home. 

Because I have a good rapport with most people I put in my car, I really enjoy this time with them.  I know my market, I preview homes prior to seeing them with a client, and I just never get stressed out during this period of the transaction.  Sometimes I have so much fun, I forget I'm working.  I have just never lost an hour of sleep during this phase of the transaction.

Now, when it comes time to write the offer, negotiate the offer, sit on pins and needles waiting for inspection results, negotiate repairs, hoping the appraiser does their job right, hoping the loan makes it through final underwriting, and the list goes on and on - is where the real nail biting and lost sleep occurs.  Buyers can use the internet to find that perfect home time and time again, but they really need us to guide them through all these post offer land mines. 

Please understand that I did not mean to belittle how much work we do helping our clients find "the one".   Everything we do is difficult.  There is a very good reason why 9 out of 10 people don't last 3 years in this business. 

Apr 27, 2008 11:50 AM

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