Buying a home and searching for real estate used to be a relatively simple and traditional relationship between the real estate professional and client. The realtor traditionally took the lead and introduced properties to clients and “educated” and led new home buyers through a traditional process and right of “initiation” into home ownership. The roles were clearly defined and there was never any question that this is the way things were done.
With the advent of the internet and advances in information technology, customers are now doing more research and legwork on their own before even contacting a real estate professional. This growing trend has vastly changed the processes that so many real estate professionals had become accustomed to. In today’s high tech world, clients often find their own listings and properties and only call the realtor as a necessity to facilitate the showing and subsequent escrow and sale. Many customers bypass the realtor completely and try to deal directly with sellers on their own.
I think the public needs to carefully evaluate what a realtor’s role is in the entire process and the benefit of having the professional representation and knowledge of someone who has been trained and knows what to look for in making certain that the real estate clients right and interests are protected. Realtors don’t only look for and show listings, they are negotiators, organizers, resources of information and in many cases counselors and “therapists”. It is amazing what an intimate and intense relationship develops between client and realtor. A good realtor must be able to know exactly what a client’s objectives are and how to best achieve them.
Anyone can look up and find listings and view the pictures online, however only a real estate professional can guide you through the maze of do’s and don’ts to make sure that you are going down the right path. Realtors often have the insight and specific knowledge of a neighborhood and its history and specific facts that just are not available online no matter how much research is done.