Should You D.I.Y. Real Estate?

Real Estate Agents are often characterized as sleazy, knuckle-headed – or possibly both (or worse). The “Phil Dunphy” although dedicated and good-hearted is portrayed as the classic doofus who maybe couldn’t hack it at another job.

Or the scheming Alec Baldwin “Glengarry Glen Ross” real estate salesman with questionable morals and contrived pitches. You might have even run into one of these characters while open house browsing on  your own. As is the case in any industry, there are good, bad AND great real estate agents, and I can attest that I’ve had the pleasure of working with some true professionals in the business.
But maybe the more important issue is: Why use a real estate agent at all? And, it’s a good question. Buyers and sellers today have access to *most* of the same online search tools, so the value in working with an agent is having an experienced, organized, smart professional with good instincts and a solid B.S. radar, to help you navigate a complex process involving numerous players  when a significant amount of your hard-earned money is at stake:

  • How does the market look right now and where are we headed?
  • What neighborhoods make the most sense for short-term v. long-term investing?
  • I’ve lost two bidding wars… What else can I do??
  • How much is my townhouse worth? How much would it be worth if I renovated the kitchen?
  • Is that condo overpriced? How much are closing costs?
  • The buyer’s attorney is not returning my attorney’s phone calls. Help!
  • The buyer/seller is threatening to back out of the deal. Help!
  • We have 2 kids, a dog, and a cat – how am I supposed to stage to sell?
  • I can’t keep track…Did we see that unit last weekend? Did I like it?
  • Can we move that wall/sink/oven? How much will it cost?
Bottom line is Real Estate Agents can play many roles during the buying and selling process: consultant, analyst, advocate, salesperson, marketer, business manager, and therapist – just to name a few. So, as you consider your options keep in mind that DIY Real Estate is as risky as DIY Plumbing: You might end up with a bigger mess going at it alone after a couple YouTube tutorials, so know when it’s time to call in a professional and work with someone you trust!