Working with a trustworthy real estate agent is as important today as it ever was
The Internet has undoubtedly changed the way people search for homes, track market conditions and even complete transactions through iBuying platforms. Still, the human component of real estate transactions remains a critical part of the journey.
According to the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) 2022 Home Buyers and Sellers Generational Trends Report, 95% of homebuyers of all ages used the internet in their home search, and just over half found the property they would eventually buy online. At the same time, 87% of respondents cited real estate agents as their most important source of knowledge when looking for a home, and an equal number used an agent or agents to purchase their property.
These results clearly show that while the internet is now a common tool for buyers, having someone with professional knowledge of the industry is still an invaluable resource for most people. A broker’s advice is a proven benefit for both buyers and sellers for a number of reasons.
Real estate agents help buyers and sellers understand what can be an intimidating process
The NAR survey found that for two-thirds of buyers, understanding the entire home buying process was the top benefit of working with a real estate agent. Sixty percent of buyers said their agent pointed out potential property defects, and about half indicated that their agent helped them negotiate the selling price, which is especially important in competitive markets with low inventories. Finding the right real estate agent is even more important for first-time home buyers, who currently make up more than a third of buyers.
Sellers similarly benefit from advice on current market conditions, how to properly price their homes, the number of listings to reasonably expect and how long a sale can take. With buyer demand slacking in part due to rapidly rising mortgage rates, homeowners who need to sell quickly have an even greater incentive to know what to expect in a rapidly changing market.
Real estate agents usually have in-depth knowledge of the local housing markets
Buyers looking for a home in an area they know well have likely already targeted specific neighborhoods that suit their needs and lifestyle. However, this does not necessarily mean that a successful purchase is always possible without professional help.
While homebuyers and sellers can certainly stay informed of market conditions by researching online, those dynamics are changing by the day, especially given the aforementioned slowdown in 2022 due to the intense demand and competition that has characterized the past two years . Many real estate agents specialize in specific cities or towns — or even neighborhoods within those locales — and as such have an in-depth understanding of the most current market trends, including listing levels, the average number of listings for properties, the percentage of all cash tenders, and the quality of local schools .
Realtors have insider tips on off-market properties and the connections to sell them
While online property search engines show what properties are currently on the market in a particular neighborhood, they typically only show those homes that are listed on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
So-called “pocket listings” or those considered “off-market” are houses that are not listed in a local MLS and are therefore largely unavailable on public forums. People looking for the full breadth of supply can use an experienced real estate agent with local connections to better compete by introducing them to properties that other buyers may know about. This can be particularly important in trendy housing markets or sought-after residential areas.
As a seller, there are several advantages to holding a home off the market and hiring a real estate agent to market it: privacy, the ability not to have to bother holding a traditional open house, and agent referrals for Buyers who are already financially eligible to close the deal. However, sellers looking to relocate quickly or own homes in less competitive markets will likely benefit from greater exposure through listing on the MLS. A knowledgeable real estate agent can assess the particular situation based on their experience in that particular community and advise accordingly.
Real estate agents can recommend local lenders and other industry professionals
Using a mortgage lender who knows the local market well is a key concern for potential buyers who want to know if they can realistically buy a home. Experienced real estate agents have typically worked with at least a handful of mortgage brokers who they trust and who know what buyers can afford based on income, credit history, and outstanding debt.
A local lender will also advise you on the amount of down payment required to be competitive. Having full visibility into the financial implications of buying a particular home reduces the likelihood of defaulting on a mortgage or suffering foreclosures.
In addition to lenders, experienced real estate professionals almost always have other recommended industry connections that benefit both buyers and sellers, including insurers. home inspectors and appraisers; and construction and renovation professionals. These recommendations will help move the whole process faster and reduce anxiety on both sides of the transaction.
Nearly three-quarters of sellers who have previously worked with a trusted agent would “definitely” hire that person again or recommend them to others, the NAR survey found. In fact, a recommendation from a family member, neighbor, or friend is the best way home buyers and sellers find real estate agents to work with.
CoreLogic’s OneHome platform enables real estate agents and their clients to better collaborate when buying a home by providing access to the latest listings, neighborhood information, virtual tours, and a PropertyFit score that can help you optimize your dream home. OneHome also offers features for planning your home buying budget and creating checklists that keep the whole process on track and your confidence high.