A long time ago in a world when there were no mobile phones, internet, wi-fi and cable TV there was a top secret information bank of real estate data called the MLS (multiple listing service). This was where information was stored exclusively for the use of Realtors and shared only with clients. When the ‘interwebs’ (what my 80 year old friend calls it) became working and assessable for the common human and listings could be had by anyone at the touch of a keyboard, Realtors were convinced that our jobs would disappear. What? Allow the public to see our information? “Oh no, the end is near!”.
Long story short, the need for Realtors didn’t go away once customers could find homes on the internet. Interestingly enough, the Utah Association of Realtors completed a study earlier this year to find out why people might want to use a Realtor to buy a home. The number one answer from the public poll was simple: to show them homes.
Buyers are smarter because they have access to information. There are over 9,000,000 websites where you can find homes for sale these days. All of my small brokerage’s listings are on all the big brokerages websites and visa versa because we all use one data base. Buyers sit in their jammies or at work and cruise listings. If a listing doesn’t have a virtual tour they click onto the next property. We Realtors are pretty clever too-us good ones make sure the tours are fantastic so as to entice you to call or email to set up a showing. Basically, it’s as if buyers go to the mall to window shop, narrow down their options and then go back later with their wallet to a specific store and purchase something. Think of the Realtor as the salesperson who will be honest with you and help you fine tune your selection, get you the best quality and best priced product, and then give you great service so that you’ll come back and shop again. The good salesperson knows that if you don’t feel you’re getting their full attention and true facts about the product with no B.S. (and especially no ‘upselling’) you’ll move on instantly somewhere else. The salesperson helps educate you about value and pricing so that you can make a purchase within your budget.
The salesperson already knows you’ve done your research on the web, found deals, read reviews about the market and you could very well know as much about what you’re going to buy as the salesperson does!
Buyers rely on Realtors to give them access to their choices and open up other options the buyers may not be aware of or thought of before: from lending ideas to neighborhoods, styles of homes to the fine print of contracts. Also, Realtors still have exclusive rights to sold data, which certainly can help in determining what to offer on a property or how to get a property up for sale by helping to figure out fair market value.