Emily Merkley, chief executive officer, Cache Valley Association of Realtors

WITH LOCAL REAL ESTATE markets seeing huge traffic and all-time low mortgage rates, it’s a perfect time to make the move if you’ve been considering buying or selling a home. The idea of saving on agent fees and buying/selling your own home can seem enticing, but it’s important to go into the situation with basic education and understanding of the benefits that come from working with an experienced REALTOR®.

Although the market might be hot, people are still very unsure as they try to navigate these challenging and uncertain times as best they can. In this situation, the experience and guidance of a REALTOR® can make all the difference for a successful transaction. If you’ve decided to try and sell or buy a home on your own, there are some important factors to consider:

Legal Vulnerability: The process of buying and selling a home has evolved over the last 20 years, and real estate has seen increases in required documentation, disclosures, and regulations. Using the services of a REALTOR® gives the buyer/seller a thirdparty cushion and protection through the legal processes of a transaction.
Online Marketing: An experienced REALTOR® has well-developed online platforms to help list and find homes. They are the first to know of the hottest new listings, and they have access to online media that receive exponentially
more traffic than a single, private listing. Searching online has historically been where most buyers begin, and since COVID-19, that number has skyrocketed from 44% to 93%. Having a developed, accessible platform with heavy traffic is crucial to finding and selling homes.
Safety: You can expect heavy foot traffic during showings if you are selling your home, and must evaluate if you have the ability to follow protocols that will protect you, your family, and those viewing your home. If you are buying a home ‘For Sale by Owner,’ are you able to ensure that the home has been sanitized during and after showings? In contrast, a REALTOR® can facilitate virtual tours, regulate crowds, and see that current industry standards are being followed.
Negotiating: The decision to navigate a real estate transaction on your own means understanding that you will be working and negotiating with several individuals in many roles. A REALTOR® is trained to negotiate with inspection companies and employees, appraisers, lenders, buyers, and buyer agents. Emotions can run high during these situations and keeping a level head is crucial.
Finding the Qualified Buyers: Just as important as finding somebody to buy your home is making sure they can afford it. With a rapidly evolving mortgage market that deals with families out of work and mortgage forbearance, most buyers aren’t privy to the position of potential buyers. With the frequent fluctuation of available loan programs, REALTORS® are trained to ask the correct questions and can find information regarding buyers’ mortgage commitments. It’s exhausting to ride the high of offers that never make it to closing.

In the end, attempting to save money by selling or buying on your own can potentially cost you more in the long run. On average, an agentlisted home sells for 6% more due to more effective exposure and less time on the market. Greater exposure means more bids to drive up the price of the home for a seller. Enlist the help of a local REALTOR® to discuss your options, and to find the best solution for managing the transaction process from start to finish.