Many people ask me why they need a realtor to buy or sell a home. I have over 25 years of selling real estate in Silicon Valley. This is a really great question and here is what I would share.
For most buyers, it looks like all realtors do is fill out paperwork, turn it in, cross their fingers and hope for the best. And sellers think realtors take some photos, make a few suggestions, put a sign in the yard and wait for something to happen. Unfortunately, it's not until buyers and sellers begin the real estate process, that they realize what a difference an experienced realtor might have made. I've joked that in very busy markets, an eighth grader could sell a property with multiple offers—maybe even a fifth grader.
Truly, the demand is, at times, so intense that it doesn't take much to get offers on a home. Of course, an eighth grader would not know how to protect the seller, manage the escrow, make sure the parties performed on time and close the deal smoothly. We are talking about a lot of money in our Silicon Valley market. An experienced realtor knows how to make sure everything runs according to the contract. Many things can go wrong. An experienced realtor knows how to anticipate issues and solve them quickly. I have seen many poorly written contracts during my years. Just like you would not want brain surgery from a brain surgeon's the first time, real estate transactions are complex which is why experience is so important.
For buyers, the multiple offer market means that their realtor must stand out and make them stand out as the best buyers for the house. Of course, the best price and terms typically wins. But sometimes those are very skinny margins, and a great agent who has experience and an excellent reputation, can mean they get the deal for their clients over a lesser experienced agent. Also buyers markets shift. We have noticed this in the last nine months. A seasoned buyer's agent will be able to sense how much they can negotiate for their buyer when the market softens. For sellers, we also see the market can shift. Experience is more important than ever to get your home sold for the highest possible price.
Experienced agents know how to read the market clearly, and can therefore advise a seller on how to prepare, price and market your property to get it sold quickly for top dollar. The bottom line is evaluate your realtor in detail. Ask lots of questions. Get to know them. Ask for examples of their successes, and how they achieve them. These tips will help you make the best decisions when buying or selling real estate.