“I can find homes on the internet, so why do I need an agent?” In our ever more-connected world, this question probably runs through the mind of many, if not most, people when they begin the search for their new home. While it is true that you may well be able to find your perfect home on-line, hiring a real estate professional to assist with the entire transaction will almost certainly make life easier and a whole lot less stressful for you. Why? Well, there are several reasons.
First, buying a home is much more complicated than just finding a house and buying it. (If you have ever purchased a home, you already know this!) There are lenders, home inspectors, appraisers, insurance brokers, title companies, property or condo owners associations, and possibly other entities involved, not to mention the sellers and the pieces associated with them. A person may buy and/or sell a home once every 5 to 7 years or so. Compare this to a real estate agent who may be involved in 20 or more sales every year. Who will be better prepared to recognize and address the myriad issues that may arise? The agent will coach you throughout the process, making sure you are aware of what is happening. She will also watch for those potential issues and make sure they don’t become full-blown crises.
The knowledge and experience a real estate agent brings to the process should be reason enough to hire one, but the agent can also make the home search itself more efficient. She can develop very refined home searches based on your needs and desires, and ensure you are informed about new properties as soon as they come on the market. Then when you see homes on-line that you would like to see in person, you have a single contact to arrange everything.
Finally, why would you not hire an agent to help you find your new home? Here in Northern Virginia, the agent explicitly represents you, the buyer, and will work to support and protect your best interests. Also, agents’ fees are generally paid by the seller from the proceeds of the sale. The broker may charge you a relatively small flat fee over and above this amount, but it is not a great deal of money compared to the purchase of a home, and is included in your closing costs.
Yes, you can find homes on the internet on your own, but why would you do so when a professional is there to help you at almost no additional cost (and much lower stress)?