As we wind up 2016, we’ll be focusing our final posts on lessons the past year has taught us, about our city and, in this case, our industry. Check back Wednesday and Saturday afternoon for our roundups on the state of our Birmingham real estate.
In an age of digital everything–including house hunts–it’s tempting to think the realtor is obsolete. There are all sorts of automated settings you can program, after all, that send you an alert when a property matching your specifications hits the market. But there end up being two big arguments for why realtors still matter:
- Mass market sites don’t know everything, and
- Buying or selling property is a full-time job.
Consider the time you can wile away browsing your favorite real estate aggregating site. You’ll plug in the things you really need–like that extra powder room–and try different combinations of things you like to see what’s available. Or, as a seller, your bare-bones selling points versus the current competition. And that’s all before you start touring homes or planning your essential pre-listing upgrades.
Now imagine you’ve put in all that time, and you’re still not getting a complete picture. Because that’s the reality you’re facing. “Realtors are able to pull accurate information from the Multiple Listing Service that your typical buyer does not have access to,” explains our own Lynlee Real Hughes. “I think Zillow is great for just looking at pictures of homes and all, but it is just not accurate information.”
And even if it were, it still couldn’t factor in the many nuances of place that make one location more desirable than the next. The ones that tell you not just what’s there but what soon will be. “I think the biggest advantage that comes with having a realtor is market knowledge,” Lynlee says. Realtors can give you a better sense of an area’s lifestyle, including how it varies a bit by street.
Then there’s the negotiation process, where minute details matter. How accurate is the pricing? What’s coming on the market soon? Those things help hone in on (and communicate) a fair price. (If you’ve ever watched the beginning of HGTV’s Property Brothers, you’ve seen this in action.)
It’s fair to worry about the price tag associated with a realtor’s services, but it’s worth looking at the broader picture. “I feel that agents end up saving their clients a lot of money in the grand scheme of things,” Hughes says. And that goes for both buying and selling.
Are there people who can quickly and successfully DIY a property transaction? Absolutely. But they also tend to be the ardent DIY types with flexible schedules. Not total unicorns, in other words, but not most of us.
Need help with your Birmingham real estate? Give our team a shout.