• Problems like finding the right house, getting insights about a locality and comparing properties can be managed by the e-real-estate giants.
  • Still, buyers want help with paperwork, negotiation, finding and arranging finances and so on -- tasks for which we have yet to create an equally effective online alternative.
  • In these areas, agents hold their ground with tenacity.

The internet has made its way into the bedrock of the world’s most profitable economy: real estate. A number of growing online portals have vaulted into the market to help buyers sail through one of the most difficult transactions of their life.

Together, Trulia and Zillow captured more than 100 million unique users in the month of March. In the year 2015, 42 percent of buyers searched for their home online before moving on to traditional methods, while 14 percent contacted a real estate agent first.

Given real estate websites’ increasing trajectory, it may seem like the electronic marketplace has crushed Realtors just like travel agents, stock brokers and classified ads.

But these sites have not knocked down the agent’s American dream. Even today a majority of buyers and sellers turn to professionals after finding their ideal property. The average commission ranges anywhere between 1 and 6 percent globally, depending on the kind of property and sales model.

In 2015, 87 percent of property buyers bought their home with the help of a real estate agent or broker, and around 8 percent purchased straight from the builder or builder’s agent. The presence of an agent to help them find the right home was an important factor for 53 percent of buyers.

The story is the same on the seller’s side, with 72 percent of recent sellers communicating with only one agent before finding the right one.

There are many reasons why agents are still active in the real estate market, even when websites promise to make the process easier by giving buyers and sellers direct access to each other. A few of the top reasons are:

1. Complexity

Investing in a post-downturn market while it is still lying somewhere between stagnancy and a chance of growth is the most complex time for any buyer or seller. Tricky finances and transactions make it even more important to safeguard yourself with the help of a professional.

2. Convenience

It is more convenient to include agents in the property dealings as they are well-versed with the locality, do most of the legwork — making appointments with the concerned party, conducting open houses and making contracts — all while managing the difficult negotiation part.

3. Trust

Buyers and sellers are not in a position to take any risk in their housing decisions. With a skilled agent in the picture, much of the probable risk that comes with making ill-informed transactions reduces manifold.

As agents don’t appear to be leaving the real estate market anytime soon, it’s of prime importance that clients choose wisely.

While there are people out there equipped to sell their own house, a glance at the long list of FAQs on most real estate websites handling buyers, sellers and renters shows that the process is not as easy as most assume.

That’s the benefit of having a market professional in your corner — if and when a difficult situation arises.

Tripti Rai writes for 99acres.com. You can follow her on Google Plus andLinkedIn.

Email Tripti Rai.

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