Are real estate brokers safe in a digital world?Real Estate Thursday, June 11th, 2015
The digital world is our reality and most people now regularly and without difficulty pay their bills, make travel arrangements, prepare their own income tax returns, buy what they need including even groceries and perform many more tasks that used to be provided by others all online. As a result, many occupations are becoming obsolete, or are fast slipping from view. Email has reduced the need for postal workers; digital photography has done away with photo processors and supermarket cashiers are being replaced with machines.
But what about real estate brokers and other real estate professionals? You can now shop for a home online and tour homes via virtual video tours. So who needs a broker any more to find and sell homes?
Well, wait a minute. Let’s delve into this a bit further. Buying a house is not like buying a shirt and what’s more, you can’t just return it when it doesn’t fit. Sure, you may be able to identify an interesting property searching online, but that’s only the first step. Making sure it’s fairly priced, is the best option on the market, doesn’t have any serious negatives and getting it at the most advantageous price and terms, that’s where your friendly real estate broker can lend a hand.
A savvy broker keeps a close watch on his market and may even have knowledge about properties that haven’t hit the Internet yet. He knows the history of properties, what owners’ paid for them, and when they relay that information to the buyer, it can make a big difference.
The broker may select properties you might not have chosen yourself. Buyers often set out with a particular style or location in mind and wind up in a totally different property on the other side of town. A good broker will listen to your “dream list” but tantalize you with something you did not think you wanted but found out you did.
They are also trained in the art of negotiation, and this is no small thing. It may be difficult for you, as the buyer, to present an offer directly to the seller. How much easier it is for the intermediary to argue on your behalf. After all, you want that seller to like you, and insulting him directly with a low offer may work to your disadvantage.
When it comes to important decisions in our lives, we still like to seek out professionals, and for very good reason. We want the best and most highly trained doctor, the most astute financial adviser, the sharpest attorney. But when we set out to buy property, we may not be thinking of the broker as a professional.
In truth, the broker is not a house-picker or a tour guide. He is an investment adviser who is assisting you in making what may be your most important and lucrative investment decision: buying property. A good choice at the right time and for the right price and financed well may pave the way for a great retirement, or be a stepping stone to a totally new lifestyle.
So let’s not write off the real estate professional quite so soon. We may be able to book a hotel online, or buy a new refrigerator, but the good advice of a house-savvy broker may just figure a bit more prominently in our present and future happiness. Let’s keep them around a bit longer, shall we?
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