I Have All the Data, Why Do I Need an Agent?!

For those of you who are considering buying a new home, we have good news: finding the most accurate information on currently available listings has never been easier. During the second week in May, Northstar MLS Matrix released a long-awaited update to the client’s search portal. Now when a client goes to view searches built by their realtor, the client will see a new button that reads “new search.” The client can then create their own search or multiple customized searches. Searching for homes using the MLS portal allows for the most detailed search available. It also provides the most accurate and up to date information. 

Historically, low utilization of realtor-owned online tools (websites, mobile applications, etc.) prompted a demand for better tools for realtor clients. Many clients have preferred third party tools like those on offer from Zillow, Trulia, etc. The ability for clients to create their own searches directly in their MLS Client Portal along with mobile applications like HomeSpotter and HomeSnap are in response to frustration from both clients and realtors. However, many clients still choose to use third party apps/websites due to their familiarity with the name Zillow, and the simple fact that oftentimes those apps tend to be more user friendly for the client. With that in mind, you may wonder, if I can use third party websites/apps that are easier to use, why would I choose to work with a realtor? Here are three reasons why realtors bring more value to the table than third party apps/websites: 

Get the Most Accurate Data: Sometimes when a client asks about a listing from Zillow that was not on their MLS search, it turns out that the listing is already pending or sold. Clients often become frustrated when they fall in love with a home on Zillow, but later find out the home is no longer available. Additionally, because a homeowner (seller) is able to update certain information on the home on these 3rd party websites, occasionally there is inaccurate information that was entered inadvertently. Live data streams from the MLS are the best direct source of information. 

Expertise and Focus: There are instances when a client asks about a listing on a third party website and later realizes that the listing in question does not meet the search criteria that they initially discussed with their realtor. Sometimes the listing may have fewer bedrooms, bathrooms, garage spaces, or less finished square footage than originally set as a requirement by the buyer(s). Often the listing may exceed their budget in asking price, maintenance fees, or carrying costs and upkeep. One key function of a realtor is to continually assess the clients’ true needs and wants as they tour and evaluate different properties. A good realtor will also help assess true market value and compare that to the buyers’ expectations.

Choose a Dedicated Advocate with Your Goals in MInd: Home buyers that casually search on third party websites are missing out on one important component of home buying- a knowledgeable advocate that invests time in them to understand their goals. Zillow users may click the “contact agent” button on a property listing, thinking that it contacts the listing agent. This button may connect them to a realtor that simply has purchased ads. This agent may not know about the property, and certainly does not know if it meets your needs. The agent is unable to highlight things that you may want to consider based on what they know about you, and your offer strategy and execution may be compromised.

Not all buyers are ready to start their search in earnest, but it is wise to connect with a buyer’s agent with experience to help you plan the best search and offer strategy, even if your timeline is several years or longer. That way, when you find that dream home, you’ll know exactly what to do and not miss out on the opportunity. 

~Fritz Soberay

Leave a Reply