Real Estate Market

Why housing consumers say you need a real estate agent

(2/25/2011) Erate Exclusive - Today's housing market is a lot like a Hoover.

It really does.

Homes on the market include traditional listings, foreclosures, short sales and other distressed properties. Credit is tight, fraud persists, and new regulations make buying a home a new school of hard knocks -- even the second time around.

You need good help to stay out of the vortex.

Working with a hard core real estate professional, who has been around the block a few times, is more important than ever.

A study examining home buying and selling preferences of consumers in the nation's Mid-Atlantic region, found that the vast majority, 95 percent, believe working with a real estate professional is just as important (42 percent), if not more important (53 percent), than it was just a few years ago.

"Keeping it Real," a study by Mid-Atlantic multiple listing service, Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, Inc. (MRIS), reveals that now is hardly the time to go it alone in the home buying and selling game.

FSBOs are zeros.

"Whether you are buying or selling a home today, the complexities of the foreclosure and short sale process make having an experienced agent to help guide you through it essential. Because home values are greatly impacted by the distressed sales occurring within a neighborhood, it is vitally important to have an experienced agent who knows how to best present a home and who understands how to arrive at the correct valuation to sell it," said Nancy Osborne, chief operating officer of ERATE, a Santa Clara, CA-based financial information publisher and interest rate tracker.

The regional study says 80 percent of consumers would recommend their agent to a friend or family member, especially those that purchased or sold a home in the past 12 months.

It also reveals the most valued qualities buyers and sellers find in real estate agents included trustworthiness (75 percent), experience (72 percent) willingness to look out for their best interests (71 percent) expertise in negotiating contracts (63 percent) responsiveness (62 percent) familiarity with real estate contracts and legal documents (61 percent) and knowledge of the local community (56 percent).

Homebuyers value real estate agents, in order of preference, for knowledge of closing procedures; negotiating the best price; understanding their needs and wants; knowledge of the community; responsiveness to their emails and calls.

Among sellers, they value real estate agents for setting the right price; effectively marketing their property; understanding needs and wants; negotiating the best price; and knowledge of closing procedures.

"In today's housing market especially, this is no time to go it alone," noted John L. Heithaus, Chief Marketing Officer of MRIS.

"With 95 percent of all buyers and sellers reporting that working with a professional real estate agent or broker is important, it is evident that consumers understand how vital they are to the process. A real estate professional has the industry knowledge, networking ability and expert guidance on home buying and selling to deliver top notch customer service and advice, and provide a successful experience for consumers," Heithaus said.

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