As you know, in the past ten to twenty years, we have seen significant technological advancements, specifically in computers and communications. The convergence of various technologies has made life more convenient which has changed the way many businesses operate. It should not come as a surprise that technology has facilitated the way we purchase and sell real estate. In this connection, the general public has access to many of the same online tools (i.e., property search engines, government websites, Tax Map Key information, etc.) that real estate agents have. As a result, prospective buyers and sellers of real estate often ask, “Why do I need a real estate agent if I have access to all the tools that a professional real estate agent has access to? There are a multitude of reasons for using a real estate agent in the purchase and sale of real estate in Hawaii. Perhaps the most important of these reasons are as follows:
1. Real Estate Agents Provide Convenience:
Despite all of the online tools that are available to help the public buy and sell properties on their own, real estate transactions remain, for the most part, very complex and tedious.
Generally speaking, the purchase or sale of real property is the most expensive transaction of a person’s lifetime. Because a typical seller of his/her home is usually dealing with the sentimental issues, emotions can interfere with better judgment. Having an independent and level-headed real estate agent can help provide perspective on the myriad of problems that may arise, and at the same time, identify potential issues throughout the transaction that inexperienced buyers and sellers may not otherwise identify. Due to the expertise of the real estate agent, many real property transactions are closed faster and more effectively than comparable transactions without the involvement of an experienced real estate agent.
In the normal real estate transaction, there are “mountains” of paperwork (i.e., disclosure statements, condo/subdivision documents, tax records, etc.) to be reviewed, understood and signed-off before a transaction can be closed. Experienced agents know exactly what information to look for and what issues are major concerns. If there are any issues that require further investigation and/or resolution, an agent can determine the various solutions that are available to the client, and thereafter advise the client, in light of the client’s goals and circumstances, as to the best available solution.
2. Agents help minimize liability:
For prospective buyers and sellers, particularly first-timers, the purchase and sale of real property is a highly detailed. In large real estate brokerages, each agent has access to a large support team, which includes, transaction overseers, brokers-in-charge, property managers, escrow officers, lenders and more. Because of this large support group, contract timeframes are strictly monitored and potential issues with title, permits, offer terms, etc. are identified, scrutinized and ultimately resolved. Throughout the process, clients are advised of scheduling and timetables, and all issues, real and prospective. By doing so, the clients always have the most accurate information upon which to make an informed decision.
3. Agents are experienced negotiators:
An important function of a real estate agent is to serve as a liaison between the buyer and seller. Because real estate transactions often involve sentimental homeowners, and due to the relatively large sums of money involved in the purchase and sale of real property on Hawaii, tensions and frustrations can easily arise if buyers and sellers deal directly with each other, and are a serious threat to the completion of a successful transaction. By having a professional real estate agent who is regularly involved in all sorts of negotiations on behalf of buyers and sellers alike, unnecessary aggravation and stress on the part of the buyer and seller can be averted.
Occasionally, during transactions, unexpected circumstances arise that must be resolved. For example, a thorough agent should visit the Department of Planning and Permitting to examine building permits for a condo unit (particularly if the condo is older). If the property has an unpermitted addition, it may be necessary to request an “after-the-fact” building inspector to examine the addition and determine whether or not any further action is necessary. This type of unique circumstance and others make having an agent on your side a great comfort, and may avoid any delays in the closing of the transaction.
Despite all the conveniences and tools that the public has at its disposal, buying and selling real estate is filled with unforeseen and complex twists and turns. Hiring a reputable real estate agent who has your interests of paramount concern is the best way to proceed in purchasing or selling real estate in Hawaii!