Advice To Buyers Working Without Representation….Hire An Agent

Lately I have run into many buyers who are adamant about doing their home search on their own (i.e. without the help of an agent). As I delve a little deeper into why they don’t want to work with a buying agent, they tell me that they think they can save money on commission and they feel very educated about the market in general thanks to websites such as Zillow.com, Realtor.com and Trulia.com. I can’t tell you how much I disagree and feel strongly about this issue because I know that it is absolutely in the best interest of a buyer to have representation.

Below I have outlined several problems that you will run into as you try to search for a home on your own:

Problem #1: Most real estate websites have the wrong property information. Although real estate portals such as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com are very good tools for doing preliminary research, they have also created havoc in the marketplace because they are providing buyers with erroneous information. My team has to review our listings on these websites every day to make sure that the information is correct, and every day we find that they are showing the wrong price when a price reduction has been made, inactive listings as active, and active listings as inactive. These websites pull their information from different “feeds” across the United States, and often times don’t even get them from the MLS. This can be a very frustrating process for buyers who are trying to do the work on their own. If you work with a good agent, you will always have up to date information on which properties have come on the market, been reduced, placed under contract and sold.

Problem #2: Real estate websites such as Zillow make it VERY hard to find the listing agent. This is frustrating to buyers working on their own and causes difficulty in setting up appointments to see a listing. Zillow and Trulia are making a fortune by selling ads to other real estate agents who appear on a property listing page. If they made it obvious who the listing agent was, nobody would ever click on the agents who are paying for ad space. See below a snapshot from one of MY current listings, the words “Listing Agent” appear in very faint letters to the right of my name. I know of many buyers who have been extremely upset when they find out that the person they called off of Zillow or Trulia was not the listing agent. If you have your own representation, your agent will easily be able to make appointments for you. And if you are working with a top agent, you will probably get appointments for new listings before anyone else.

Zillow Snapshot

Problem #3: A buyer without representation has no access to off-market properties. For example, this weekend at an open house someone said to me: “Hey, if you get a 3 bedroom, 3 bath home in the Grove for under $800,000 give me a call”. And the truth is, I probably won’t. The clients who are working exclusively with me or my team get first dibs on off-market properties.

Problem #4: If you don’t hire a buyers agent, you are stuck working with whatever Joe Schmo has the listing on the property. Let’s face it, not all realtors have the experience or knowledge to get a deal to the closing table. There are so many problems that can arise AFTER you put a home under contract. If the listing agent is new or has no clue what they are doing, you will be up the creek without a paddle.

Problem #5: You won’t save money by doing the deal on your own. First of all, you will have to hire an attorney to look over the contract and make sure that you haven’t signed your life away, which will cost some $$$. Second of all, the owners have signed a 6% commission to be split between the buying and selling agent. If there is no other agent involved, then the listing agent keeps the 6%.  Sure, sometimes they will reduce their commission slightly, maybe they’ll reduce it by 1%. But who is to say that the BUYER will get the benefit of that? The seller is the one more likely to reap the reward of a reduction in commission.

So that is my rant for today, please hire an agent to help you buy your house. There aren’t many things in life that are free, but this is one of them and it will save you tons of energy, time and frustration.

And I wouldn’t be in sales if I didn’t put in a plug for my team. We have been the #1 Top Producing Realtors in Coconut Grove for over 5 years and have an excellent reputation of making the home buying process as smooth and stress free as possible. Please give us a call at 305-342-1623 to schedule a consultation with us.