What to know about homebuying with an agent in 2021

(BPT) – In 2020, home sales reached their highest point in 14 years. In the process, the number of consumers who did internet research about a home purchase reached an all-time high of 97%. So why do 9 in 10 people still choose to work with a real estate agent to buy a home?

“Buying a house is the largest and most important financial decision most people make in a lifetime, and there’s a lot more to it than what you see online,” said Charlie Oppler, president of the National Association of Realtors®. “You can look up symptoms on the internet, but you need a doctor to diagnose and treat the condition, much like Realtors® offer expert guidance to their clients on the complex financial, legal and community aspects of purchasing a home.”

Here are a few ways real estate agents help you bridge the gap from what you see online to being handed the keys to your dream home.

1. Access all the home choices available to you, not just what you see online.

Maybe the home you saw online ends up being the one. Or maybe that’s just a starting point and you can find a better match for the style or number of rooms or location you want. Realtors® have access to a complete database of all homes for sale, created via cooperation among all brokers within the market. Based on your must-haves and wish list, a Realtor® is going to give you more choices and price options.

2. Employ technology to make the home buying process more convenient than ever before.

While purchasing a home is traditionally done face-to-face, real estate agents have quickly adopted new technologies to make the process easier. Not only can real estate agents take you on virtual tours of homes as much as on the other side of the country, but they also can use digital e-signature services and remote notarization tools to make it possible to complete the transaction online for increased convenience and safety.

3. Leave all of the hard work in the hands of an expert.

Buying a home is basically a full-time job — it’s what real estate agents do. Real estate agents manage many essential components, including: researching homes and neighborhoods; scheduling home tours and inspections; preparing strategies to beat the competition; coordinating with appraisers and attorneys; and much more. Beyond finding a home, the top thing buyers want most from their real estate agent is someone who can help them negotiate the terms of sale and help with price negotiations.

4. Manage the financial and legal aspects of the transaction — including negotiating the best price.

People get help with taxes, school financing and many other money-related matters. Of course you should seek help with one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make. A real estate agent levels the playing field of knowledge to buy a home. Real estate agents help navigate complex paperwork, coordinate with lenders, provide information on mortgage rates, manage attorney reviews, handle closings and advise on regulations. They also serve as your professional negotiator by ensuring you get the best price and terms.

5. Navigate data and trends to find the right community for you.

Real estate agents help people find homes in the same communities where they themselves live, work, play and serve. They are aware of the latest trends and shifts in the local housing market and are able to educate home buyers to make sure they choose the neighborhood that is right for them (e.g., price trends, school options, traffic, etc.). Real estate agents can provide information about local, county and state property taxes as well as navigate all required state and federal documents. In fact, many home buyers have found their Realtor® so helpful that 9 in 10 would recommend their agent to others.

For more tips to help guide you through the home buying process, visit homeownershipmatters.realtor.