Don't Replace your Agent with the Internet

Dated: October 8 2018

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With the influx of new technology and web-based solutions, it isn't a surprise that everything is moving faster into the era of the internet.  From sites like Amazon, Home Chef, Uber and Grubhub, we generally can pull out our phones, tablets or laptops and order whatever we want instantly and with ease.  With every industry being revolutionized by technology, the same methods are "attempting" to be applied to the real estate industry. 

We could all agree that the simplification of the process of paperwork would be much appreciated by agents and buyers/sellers alike; but the attempt at replacing REALTOR® by sites like Zillow, Purple Brick, and other third-party resources can lead to a mess for both the buyer and the seller.   Think of real estate as being in the middle of fast-food and a doctor.  You can use your mobile device to quickly place your order for a $20 meal, but when it comes to a serious medical issue, you aren't going to go on WebMD to self-diagnose; you may go initially to see what it says you have but eventually you'll want to make an appointment to see a medical professional.  Think of real estate like that.  You can use your phone, tablet or laptop to look for a home or market data the way you would look at WebMD for guidance but you know not to take it too seriously because you need a professional's input.  It's fun and gives you a general idea of what to expect, but therein lies the issue; the data online is a generalized and oversimplified version of what goes into the process of buying and selling a home.  The same way WebMD generalizes whatever malady you may have, you would still make an appointment with your doctor to make sure you are diagnosed properly.

Although a REALTOR® isn't quite like a doctor, the industry with its legalities, contracts, and processes is similar in the sense that it requires a great deal of knowledge and training.  Looking for a house online can be fun and exciting, but there is more to the process than just making the offer.  In fact, most of the hard work comes after the initial offer has been made and that's the part a REALTOR® is trained to do. There is a lot more to the sale of a home than just agreeing to a number. 

The next time you're browsing RedFin or Zillow for homes for sale, and getting instant home valuation estimates, keep in mind that this is a simple algorithm to give you an idea of the market.  A very general idea.  A REALTOR® can help give you a more specific look at the market and assist you through the entire process, not just making the offer.  Because it's after the offer has been made and accepted when the lending is falling apart, or negotiations can't be made on repairs and emotions are at an all-time high that you are going to wish you had an agent fighting for you by your side. Use the internet, use all of the amazing resources it offers, but don't let it replace your REALTOR®.  We aren't in a place just yet, where technology can do everything a real live human can.  

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Betsy Taylor

I am a Montgomery County, Maryland Realtor specializing in the Gaithersburg, Rockville, North Potomac and Germantown areas. Having lived in Montgomery County for over 25+ years, I understand the mark....

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