Ask a Broker: With so many online resources, do I really need a broker?

Cara Connolly
Ask a Broker
Located in the popular neighborhood of Aidan's Meadow, this 5-bedroom, 4.5 bathroom residence is situated with views of the park in the middle of Eagle Ranch just steps to the golf driving range, movie theater, and dining with miles of hiking and biking trails of open space just out of your back door.
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Question: With all the resources that are available online, do I really need to use a real estate broker to buy and sell?

Answer: The internet can be a powerful tool when it comes to researching real estate. In today’s world, updates on homes for sale and properties going under contract and closing feed websites are updated in real-time. You have access to important variables like estimators of price and comparable sales without ever having to pick up the phone to call a real estate professional for advice. You can even find tools to try on paint colors and measure interior walls to see if your furniture fits in a home. You can do all of this online without ever getting out of your pajamas. 

But let’s take a look at where the internet may fall short for your needs in ways you might not expect.

Unique local area knowledge

The Vail Valley offers a large variety of different properties throughout many towns. Brokers spend a tremendous amount of time educating themselves on available inventory through previews and open houses with no clients in tow, so they are prepared when it comes time to match their clients up with new opportunities. Also, some areas have transfer taxes or fees with your purchase and some do not. Some allow short-term weekly rentals and others do not. Some are part of homeowners’ associations with certain rules and regulations and some are not.

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It’s not just about market statistics data; there are unique circumstances in each area. A broker can help save you time and headaches in the long run with knowledge and expertise that is not available online but from boots-on-the-ground research and expertise. They may also know about properties that meet your criteria before they hit the market because of years spent cultivating relationships with buyers and sellers.

Negotiation and contract experience

Real Estate brokers are required to meet a set number of education hours every year to keep their license active. This includes an annual updated refresher course on the contracts surrounding a real estate transaction. While the basics of buying and selling real estate remain the same, understanding the many variables involved with contract negotiations will save you real money and time.

This home at 643 Paintbrush in Avon is a one-of-a-kind mountain modern compound with breathtaking views on the front row of Mountain Star with floor-to-ceiling windows to capture the views. The open floor plan features a hearth room off the kitchen with fireplace, A/C, large deck, a guest wing with a sitting room and two bedroom suites. A second building with an additional 2,000 square feet has endless possibilities for guests to enjoy a true mountain getaway.
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Professional network of contacts

Transactions can be complex. Real estate brokers have an established professional network of title companies, attorneys, mortgage lenders, home inspectors and others that are vital to home buying and selling. A great broker has cultivated contacts who are best in the business and they also manage the time necessary for each and every step of your transaction. This keeps the dates and deadlines of your contract in line ensuring for a smooth closing.

The internet is a great resource for buyers and sellers to educate and prepare themselves before hitting the market. But make no mistake: a living, breathing real estate broker is still necessary to save you time and money in the long run.

Cara Connolly is an associate broker with Slifer Smith & Frampton and has over 17 years of assisting clientele across the Vail Valley buy, sell and rent residential and commercial property. She works out of the Beaver Creek Park Hyatt office and you can reach her at (970) 401-4071 or

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