Using a trusted real estate agent is as important now as ever
The internet has undeniably altered the way people search for homes, track market conditions and even complete transactions via iBuying platforms. Nevertheless, the human element 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 age groups used the internet during their home search, and just over half found the property they would eventually purchase online. At the same time, 87% of respondents cited real estate agents as their main source of knowledge during their home search, and an equal number used an agent or broker to purchase their property.
These findings clearly indicate that while the internet is now a common tool for buyers, having someone with professional industry knowledge remains an invaluable resource for most people. The counsel of an agent is a tried-and-true 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
NAR’s survey found that for two-thirds of buyers, understanding the entire homebuying process was the most important benefit of engaging with a real estate agent. Sixty percent of buyers said their agent flagged potential property flaws, and about half pointed out that their agent helped them negotiate the sales price, which is particularly important in competitive markets with low inventory levels. Finding the right real estate agent is even more important for first-time homebuyers, who currently account for more than one-third of shoppers.
Sellers similarly benefit from advice on current market conditions, how to properly price their homes, the number of offers to reasonably expect and how long a sale might take. As buyer demand beings to wane due in part to rapidly rising mortgage rates, homeowners who need to sell quickly have even more incentive to know what’s in store given the quickly changing market.
Real Estate Agents Typically Have Deep Knowledge of Local Housing Markets
Buyers hunting for a home in an area that they know well have already likely targeted specific neighborhoods that meet their needs and lifestyle. But that doesn’t necessarily mean a successful purchase is always possible without professional assistance.
While homebuyers and sellers can certainly stay educated about market conditions via online research, these dynamics shift day-to-day, particularly given 2022’s aforementioned cooling from the intense demand and competition that characterized the last two years. Many real estate agents specialize in specific cities or towns — or even neighborhoods within those places — and will therefore have a deep understanding of the most current market trends, including supply levels, the average number of offers on homes, the percentage of all-cash bids and the quality of local schools.
Real Estate Agents Have Insider Tips on Off-Market Listings and the Connections to Sell Them
While online real estate search engines will show which properties are currently on the market in any given neighborhood, they typically only display the homes listed on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
So-called “pocket listings,” or those considered “off-market,” are homes that are not listed on a local MLS and are therefore largely unavailable in public forums. People looking for the full breadth of what is available can tap an experienced real estate agent with local connections to help better navigate the competition by introducing them to properties other buyers may know about; this can be particularly important in hot housing markets or highly desirable neighborhoods.
As a seller, keeping a home off-market and entrusting a real estate agent to promote it can offer several benefits: protection of personal privacy, the possibility of not going through the trouble of holding a traditional open house and agent recommendations for buyers who already meet the financial qualifications to seal the deal. That said, sellers who are looking to move quickly or own homes in less-competitive markets will likely benefit from greater exposure by listing on the MLS. A savvy real estate agent will be able to gauge the particular situation based on their experience in that particular community and advise accordingly.
Real Estate Agents Can Recommend Local Lenders and Other Industry Pros
Using a mortgage lender who knows the local market well is a crucial concern for prospective buyers who are eager to know whether they can realistically buy a home. Experienced real estate agents have usually worked with at least a handful of mortgage brokers that they trust and who know what buyers can reasonably afford based on incomes, credit scores and outstanding debts.
A local lender will also advise on the size of the down payment needed to be competitive. Having full visibility into the financial implications of buying a particular home greatly reduces the chance of becoming delinquent on a mortgage or entering foreclosure.
Besides lenders, experienced real estate professionals will almost always have additional recommended industry connections that benefit both buyers and sellers, including insurers; home inspectors and appraisers; and construction and renovation professionals. These referrals help move the entire process along quicker and reduce anxiety on both sides of the transaction.
Almost three-quarters of sellers who have previously worked with a trusted agent would “definitely” hire that person again or recommend them to others, NAR’s survey found. In fact, a referral from a family member, neighbor or friend is the top way that homebuyers and sellers find real estate agents with whom they want to work.
CoreLogic’s OneHome platform enables real estate agents and their clients to better collaborate on the homebuying journey by offering access to the most up-to-date home listings, neighborhood information, virtual tours and a PropertyFit score that can help you best target your dream home. OneHome also provides features for planning your homebuying budget and creating checklists that keep the whole process on track and your confidence high.