Yes, it’s trues that these days you can find just about anything you want on the internet, including almost all the property listings that an agent could be sending you from the MLS, so why do you need an agent to do that for me? Well let me explain:
Website sites such as Zillow.com or Trulia.com do have a very large inventory of homes BUT they also have a big flaw: They are definitely not updated on time or sometimes not at all. Which is why they have so much inventory…I often get emails or phone calls from buyer clients who ask me: “Michel I just saw a property on Zillow that looks great and it’s in my price range, so why didn’t you send it to me?!” So I will look up that listing on the MLS (the ONLY reliable source for listings in my opinion…), and sure enough that property was already sold 3 months ago…”that’s why I didn’t send it to you…”.
The reason why these websites do not update their listings in a timely manner is because the more listings they have online, the better they look (the visitors feel like they are looking at the best source for listings) and most of all, the more advertising ad exposure/revenue they get (every time you bring up a property listing, you also see a real estate agent ad on the same page, which means more revenue for the website…). So what’s the point of looking at listings which are outdated?…It’s a big waste of your time in my opinion
Sure you can go to open houses by yourself or you can call the listing agent (the seller’s agent) yourself and make an appointment to view the property without the help of your own agent. But why should you? The reason most people do that is because they assume that if they deal with the listing agent directly, they will get a better deal on the property. What people do not understand is that when it comes to the selling price, the sellers do not really care whether the buyer is represented by their own agent or not, what they do care about is their price! If anything, often times, a seller will not let their agent represent both sides for fear that the agent will not represent them well. In terms of the price being influenced by the commission, most of the time, that doesn’t come into consideration either. The reason being that the same commission is paid to the listing agent, whether he or she represents the seller only or bother sides. That commission (5% or 6%) has already been negotiated and signed under a binding contract with the listing agent long before you (the buyer) came into the picture. So the only difference if the listing agent represents both sides, is that he/she will make double the money! They will keep 100% of the commission instead of splitting it with the buyer’s agent.
But most importantly, if you are about to purchase the most expensive item you will ever buy in your life, where you will live in for many years, possibly raise a family there, don’t you think it is worth having your own expert represent your interests and guide you through a process you most likely know nothing about?
Finding a property that youwill fall in love with is great! but it’s only the beginning! Once you open escrow, who will guide you through the various inspection process? How will you know which inspections you should get? If you use the listing agent to represent you, how do you know if they will look after your interests? Some may, some may not…Who will guide you though the cumbersome and sometimes overwhelming paperwork? The listing agent?…He may do it diligently or he may be pressured by the seller (his “other client”…) to get the deal closed, especially for double the commission!.
So with all these uncertainties, why take a chance when the stakes are so high? especially since the buyer’s agent is not going to cost you a penny?! Since his commission is being paid by the seller (half of the listing agent’s commission).
Good luck with your search of new home!!