Ask a Realtor: In today’s connected world, why should I use a Realtor? (column) |

Ask a Realtor: In today’s connected world, why should I use a Realtor? (column)

Joan Harned Ask a Realtor

Dear Joan: With the vast array of technology available to everyone, why ​would​ I need a Realtor to help me when I am buying a property? I think in today’s world I can pretty much do everything online. I can look up all the properties, look at ​all the pictures , Google the location in the neighborhood and then I can apply for a loan on my smart phone.

I am not ​personally against you as a “middleman,” exacting a fee, but I am thinking that it might save me money to not use a Realtor because no one would be paying a commission and the property would sell for less​. I ​realize that​ I am at a point ​in​ my life where I think I am smarter than most ​every​one, so tell me where I am wrong — if indeed​ I am.

— Independent Buyer

Dear Independent Buyer: Yes, you can accomplish the goal of buying a property without a Realtor. Will it be the best home on the market, with the best terms and the best negotiated price and will you actually end up with the best home ​for your needs​ and just what you wanted? The odds are not with you on achieving those goals without professional​ representation.

First of all, the vast majority of homes (more than 90 percent) are listed with licensed real estate brokers and you will need to go through a Realtor, your own or the listing Realtor, to be able to see any of those homes, even though you found them yourself on line. All of those sellers want to be represented by a professional and want to negotiate with another professional in order to get the best price and terms and the least legal​ liability.

You do not have all of the Realtor’s contracts, disclosures and forms rea​di​ly available to you to protect you and the seller in a high-dollar, highly complicated transaction.

You can hire an attorney, at your expense, but if you actually engage a Realtor to represent you​, you will not pay one bit more for all of the professional advice and assistance than if you were attempting to do it on your own.

On any listed property, the commission for each side, the Realtor for the seller and ​the​ Realtor for the buyer​, are both paid out of the seller’s proceeds at closing​ the majority of the time​. A professional Realtor might save you many thousands of dollars during the offer and counter-offer stage, as well as thousands of dollars navigating the pitfall of the home inspection. This does not even count possibly facilitating a mortgage opportunity that might greatly lower your loan fees.

​If you chose to have an attorney review all of the documents, then the price is usually much lower if everything has been prepared on Colorado approved forms by a licensed Realtor. There just is no substitute for using a skilled ally when you are dealing with such large, important purchases. After being in this business for over 30 years, I never buy investment properties outside of Eagle County without going through a local Realtor in the town and state where I am buying. There is a lot to know and I prefer to learn it the easy, less expensive way. I recommend you give this some serious thought and talk to a trusted Realtor you know or is recommended to you. All the best.

Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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