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4 things a buyer's agent does (and how you can do them all yourself)

In today's world of online real estate, you can do a lot more than you think

Key takeaways:

  • The majority of homebuyers under the age of 50 find the home they purchase online
  • You don't need an agent to get a showing or to come up with a competitive offer price
  • Making an offer is easy—but don't take our word for it. Try it free and see for yourself!

While agents do provide value in a lot of cases, that doesn't mean you can't do all the things they do by yourself! With the power of the internet at your fingertips, you can find all the info you need, or at least find exactly where you can get the info. So why pay a buyer's agent a 2.5–3% commission for hitting search on Google? Here are the top four things agents say they do and how you can do them yourself (without paying tens of thousands of dollars)!

1) Find you the right home

Did you know that, according to a study done by the National Association of Realtors, 51% of homebuyers under the age of 50 end up finding the home they actually purchase online by themselves? You read that right. The majority of younger buyers already find their own homes! And, since 90% of buyers rely on the internet as their primary research source, you should know how to leverage the web to its maximum.

Here's a quick outline of the strengths and weaknesses of some of the most common real estate search sites: Zillow, Trulia, Redfin and Realtor.com.


Zillow

What it's good for:

  • Getting a sense of the big picture
  • Looking up home facts and features
  • Searching for and analyzing comparable homes

What it's not as good at:

  • Being 100% up to date and accurate (although it's getting better)

Trulia

What it's good for:

  • Getting general neighborhood info (schools, crime, demographics, distances to amenities, etc.)
  • Searching for and analyzing comparable homes

What it's not as good at:

  • Being 100% up to date and accurate (again, it's getting better!)

Redfin

What it's good for:

  • Looking at home facts, comparable listings, nearby schools and accurate listing histories
  • Has a great (and free!) mobile app

What it's not as good at:

  • Providing in-depth neighborhood information

Realtor.com

What it's good for:

  • Checking a listing's current status

What it's not as good at:

  • Showing in-depth information about anything other than the home

2) Show you different homes

Contrary to what most people think, you do not need an agent to view a property. Obviously, you can check out any listed property by yourself at an open house. If you're interested in a private showing, get in contact with the listing agent. The listing agent has access to the property and will be happy to schedule a showing (or many showings) for you with no expectation of an offer being made. After all, a listing agent's job is to show the home to as many prospective buyers as it takes to get it sold.

The listing agent will also be knowledgeable about the home's history and should be able to thoroughly address your questions about the home and its features, including its amenities, layout, foundation, insulation, plumbing and so on.

Agents can be busy. It’s good practice to give the listing agent at least 48 hours' notice to schedule a showing. Once you've seen the home and are interested in making an offer, you should begin looking into hiring a licensed home inspector to conduct a home inspection. You should always have your own inspection done even if the seller completed an inspection prior to listing their home for sale.

3) Help you come up with an offer price

The most important part of determining your offer price is comparing it to the prices of similar homes that have sold in the area. You can do this by doing a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA).

What is a CMA?

A CMA compares homes in the area that are in different stages of the sale process. By comparing these homes, you can determine what a realistic purchase price may be.

A CMA includes:

a) Current listings

Homes that are currently on the market won’t give you an accurate idea of market value; however, they will give you an idea of the asking price for similar homes in your area.

b) Pending listings

These are homes that are pending sale and haven’t yet closed. These can also be used as comparative tools for listing prices and time spent on the market.

c) Sold homes

Similar homes that have sold in the area are the most important part of any CMA. This will show the price homes actually sold for. Use these figures to determine the current market value of the home you’re looking to buy.

d) Expired listings

These listings are homes that were for sale but did not sell. These homes were most likely highly overpriced or burdened with other problems such as liens or easements.

Read more, including info about what exactly defines a "similar home" here. Sites like HouseCanary can also help. This site can give you accurate and detailed value reports for very little $$$!

4) Write up offers on the homes you want

Technology has completely changed the game. And if, like most younger buyers, you find your own home online, chances are that you'll do a lot more of the buying process yourself as well, including things like talking to lenders (agents don't help much with this) and getting your financial ducks in a row.

You're doing so much of the heavy lifting yourself, so why not make your own offers? Now, Home Savi lets you do just that easily and with confidence.

Home Savi is the first true DIY home buying platform that empowers you to offer, negotiate, close and save big on the home of your dreams. In the past, representing yourself meant paying a real estate attorney around 3–5 thousand dollars to write up and review a contract. And that was just the start. If you needed a counter offer drafted and gave them a buzz, the price would run even higher.

But now, with Home Savi, you can close for as little as $648! Yeah, you read that right. There are no commissions involved either; you only pay based on how many offers you want to submit. Best of all, you can try it out for free—all you have to do is sign up!

Home Savi offers are:

  • Legally binding and secure
  • Customizable in nearly every way
  • Convenient and easy for both buyers and listing agents
  • Not very different from traditional offers, except that you can proactively manage your transaction online and you get to save the 2.5% commission that would otherwise go to your buyer's agent

Remember, you pay your buyer’s agent tens of thousands of dollars. Ask yourself, “is it really worth it?”

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