Who Needs Agents?

In today’s world, information on the internet has led to a lot of consumers eliminating the middleman in favor of DIY. Travel agents, stock brokers, and insurance agents are just a few examples.

Some say home buyers no longer need an agent and that all the information is right there at your fingertips 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Could that be true? Is that all an agent can do for you? Share new listings and unlock doors?

Home shopping is more like a journey or mission than an event. It's not something typically accomplished in a day. Choosing a home can often take weeks.

If you were to find yourself with the need to cross a foreign land and you had all the maps, wouldn't you still feel more comfortable with a local guide with years of experience to accompany you? Wouldn't you choose that? What if their service was free to you? That would be an easy decision, right?

It is truly not different when the mission involves choosing what is probably your biggest lifetime purchase: your home. A qualified and experienced agent is no different than a scout that can lead you to the best destinations. They don't just saddle your horse for you. They can warn you of the right equipment you need to bring (the best lenders and the best loan for you). They can warn you of banditos in the next canyon and steer you around those areas (bad streets and neighborhoods). Where the quicksand is, where is there no food or water (the best appreciation and investment). They can show you the best route, not necessarily the shortest route (buying the wrong home because of a lack of unbiased information).

Consider this: consumers are finding, after booking only one bad vacation, that travel agent might be a good idea after all. According to a 2016 article in The Atlantic magazine: "More recently, there’s been news of the travel industry bouncing back as the economy recovers. Based on a survey of 14,000 households, the American Society of Travel Agents reports that it is currently seeing the highest numbers of consumers booking through travel agents in three years. The most common reason provided for doing so? Travelers said it saved them time. Though travel agencies’ business isn’t expected to return to pre-internet levels, online booking has, even as it has flourished, shown travelers the frustrations that can come with booking travel themselves - and that outsourcing the stress of arranging travel can be worthwhile."

The pain of making the wrong decision when booking a vacation lasts only a short time. The pain of making the wrong home purchase can last a lifetime.

Kevin Brumfield