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Buying a home is not like purchasing a plane ticket, and selling a property is not like selling a car

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In the eyes of some consumers, the Internet and associated technology have replaced the critical importance of the working Realtor. Unfortunately, a bad experience or failed transaction is the painful lesson for buyers and sellers who forgo a professional real estate agent to represent them in the most expensive purchase/sale they will ever make.

Before joining the ranks of these now-enlightened consumers, take a moment to understand the extraordinary value your agent brings to the table — and the risks he or she must accept on a daily basis.

The internet (through major real estate sites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, and many others) has made it possible for laymen to do much of the initial legwork of buying or selling a home themselves. According to The Digital House Hunt (Consumer and Market Trends in Real Estate), 9 in 10 homebuyers today rely on the internet as one of their primary research sources, a fact that modern Realtors not only accept but use to their advantage.

However, at the end of the day, there is no substitute for having an experienced agent represent your interest on a real estate transaction.

Why? Because buying a home is not like purchasing a plane ticket, and selling a property is not like selling a car.

Having an experienced Realtor represent and walk you through the ins and outs of a complicated purchase or a difficult sale is simply invaluable.

In the purchase of a home, for instance, your agent will help you find your next home (he or she has access to the freshest listings and even some homes that are not listed yet), provide the information needed to make the best offer, fight and negotiate the best price for you, and then start dealing with the myriad of necessary legal documents and forms to make sure you are protected legally and otherwise. Realtors also have a great network that includes all kinds of reputable and responsible professionals who’ll have an important role in the transaction, such as attorneys, mortgage brokers, contractors, etc.

It’s also important to mention that many buyers feel that going directly to a listing agent will ensure the acceptance of an offer, or will give them more leverage when negotiating the price of a home, thus skipping the step of hiring the free services of a Realtor to represent them in the purchase.

Not so. Professional Realtors operate under a strict code of ethics, and will ensure their client’s offer is presented even if they have to do it in person; by the same token, a good listing agent will submit and ensure that the highest and best offer is the one presented to his/her client, whether it is submitted by a buyer without representation or by a buyer’s agent. Additionally, agents representing the home listing have a fiduciary duty to the home seller.

A Realtor provides even more value for sellers: delivering experience and knowledge needed to prepare the home for sale, as well as maximum exposure that simply can’t compare to a sign on the yard or a few pictures online.

Your agent will prepare a thorough market analysis based on data and knowledge of the market, suggest the best listing price, help you stage the home, give your property the most exposure available, and work endless hours to get the property sold for the highest price the market can bear, often wearing many hats and keeping calm while dealing with difficult situations that can arise during the process.

Unknown to some sellers who try to sell on their own, contingencies such as inspections or appraisals can jeopardize any deal if not handled right. Good Realtors will put all of their expertise and skills to work in order to overcome those hurdles and keep the transaction going.

Realtors live and breathe real estate, and know what it takes to make a real estate transaction successful. They must stay current with all the updates in regulations, laws and contracts that can bury a nonprofessional, and once you hire one they put all that knowledge to work for you. Realtors use their real estate talent and experience to skillfully manage any difficulties that may arise during the process, and help you make the right decision every time you approach an obstacle, always staying on top of the process to make sure the transaction goes to a successful closing.

Finally, it is important to know that agents do not get paid unless or until there is a closing. Consequently, agents who have diligently worked for weeks (and sometimes months) to help a client buy or sell a home must live with the pain that comes when a buyer walks away or buys from another agent, or another competitor completes the deal soon after the original listing expires or is canceled, riding on the coattails of the first agent’s hard work. (This is an inherent risk that Realtors accept, but the general public may not appreciate.)

Desiree Lira is a real estate agent with RE/MAX Advance Realty. (305) 778-0834 or Desiree@BestHomesInMiami.com.

▪ This opinion piece represents the view of the writer and not necessarily that of the Miami Herald.

▪ Got a Broker’s View? Realtors may submit columns for Broker’s View of 650 words to to rclarke@MiamiHerald.com. Inquire before submitting a column. This feature is intended primarily for residential brokers, who will be given preference, but pieces about commercial real estate will also be accepted as space allows.

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