Shortly after my grandmother passed away a few years ago, my mother was going through the last of my grandparents personal belongings when she came across some old listing sheets from when they bought their old house in Toronto. One thing that I can say about my grandfather is that he was a very organized man who kept everything! I guess that because I am a real estate agent, my mom figured I may want them. So they sat in my office for a few months until my wife decided to frame them as a decoration. I think they look pretty cool and the other day while I was looking at them I thought about the idea for this post.

The Value a Real Estate Provides Has Changed So Much in the Past Decade

Just looking at my grandfather’s old listing sheets, I think of how it used to be for home buyers. There was no internet, no online listings. Unless you happened to drive by a for sale sign or stumbled into an open house as a buyer you would have no idea what was for sale. That is, unless you used a real estate agent.

I showed the owner of my brokerage my grandfather’s listing sheets and he chuckled, he reminisced how the ‘daily’s’ as they called them, were books distributed to all the offices with the latest listings. he said some agents would get to the office early in order to ‘borrow’ the books so their peers wouldn’t know what the newest listings were. It was all about being a gate keeper.

Today that just isn’t the case any more. There are thousands of websites out there providing all kinds of information on real estate, and consumers have access to tons of free data. If you are reading this post there is a good chance you found it while doing an internet search of your own. So if having the data no longer provides the value it used to, then what does a real estate agent bring to the table?

I personally believe that having a good real estate agent is more important than ever before, and while there are many things we do, I think that what is of most value to our clients can be summed up in three broad categories.

Insight

While I agree that there is a ton info out there on real estate, I will argue that 90% of it is pure crap. Most of the new websites I see aren’t even created by realtors or professionals associated with our industry, they are just pages with listings on them. Here’s the deal, everyone has the listings- it’s the insight about the neighbourhoods, schools, lifestyle, and a host of other factors that you can’t see on a listing that will determine whether or not you enjoy your future home or not. A good realtor will be able to bring insight to your home search, based on experience- something you can’t get from surfing the internet.

Guidance

Buying or selling a home is really many decisions wrapped up into one transaction. How to price, what to offer, what to negotiate, where to live… There are so many factors that are different for every person. By using our experience as full time professionals we are able to guide our buyers and sellers to make sound real estate decisions.

Professionalism

I read an article in the US where the head of a start up internet company was going to revolutionize the real estate industry. I forget the ‘revolutionary idea’ he was proposing, but I do remember his quote that they were going to, “Make Buying a home as Easy as Buying a Cup of Coffee.” Seriously?

Handling what in many cases is a person’s largest asset and biggest purchase is a job that I take a little more seriously then buying a cup of coffee. Being honest, competent, and trustworthy are all things that a good realtor provides to their client’s on a daily basis. Remember my grandfather’s listing sheet at the beginning of this story? In 1971 he paid only $19,000 for the house. I would venture to say that same house is worth well over $600,000 now. If I was buying I would pass on the coffee and take the professional- any day of the week.

So there you have it, my opinion on what a good real estate agent in today’s ever changing world brings to the table. Thoughts or comments? I’d love to hear them!