By Carrie Foley
The other day, I received a call from clients looking for a new home.
Like so many conversations I have these days with my buyers, they had a list of homes they had sought out on the Internet that they wanted to see. Each home had been found, researched and carefully selected based on information gleaned from Google Maps, peer reviews of the neighborhoods or schools, and other detailed listing information found online. Much of their research was conducted either through my website, which links with the MLS or on popular real estate listing sites.
Today, there’s a limitless amount of information instantly accessible to the technology-savvy home shopper. It appears—on the surface, at least—that the role of the real estate agent is diminishing, especially for the younger generations of buyers. In fact, as millennials embrace every emerging social platform and application from Vine to SnapChat, expanding their ability to access an incredible wealth of real estate information and opinions generated by their peers and friends, what will become of agents?
We’ll stay right here. Why?
Because we bring to the table these three invaluable assets:
1. Intimate knowledge of the market and contracts.
With many new restrictions and regulations on lending and real estate markets made increasingly complex by foreclosures and short sales, a level of expertise is necessary to navigate a successful transaction. Addenda, contingencies, inspections and appraisals can rarely be successfully navigated alone.
2. Council and guidance through an emotional transaction.
Homebuying or selling can be a stressful and exciting time. Emotions will inevitably enter into the equation. As a REALTOR®, I have played marriage counselor and psychiatrist from time to time. A great real estate agent can listen, find solutions, reassure and rebuild the confidence of our buyers and sellers to ensure a smooth and successful closing.
3. Expert negotiation skills.
Often, buyers and sellers can start pretty far apart on price and terms, each feeling strongly about their position. Real estate agents can provide expert council on what items or terms should be negotiated to best represent their clients’ needs, while working toward a win-win for both parties. Additionally, agents can play the bad cop for their clients, preventing bad blood between buyer and seller or keeping it from getting too personal which results in a much happier experience for all.
And know this:
Every transaction is different, with its own complicated labyrinth of inspections and addendums, earnest money deposits and endless phone calls and emails. All need to be handled with care. They are stressful, frustrating, exciting, infuriating and ultimately, extremely rewarding. That is why we do what we do, and why those we work for recognize our real value.
CARRIE FOLEY is a REthink Council member and agent with Seattle-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate. Find Carrie at www.facebook.com/CarrieFoleyRealEstate or on Twitter, @CarrieFoleyRE.