Nearly 15 years have passed since behavioral economists Stephen J. Dubner and Steven D. Levitt published their groundbreaking book Freakonomics, in which they suggested the days of real estate agents were numbered because of the then-emerging trend of “For Sale by Owner” (FSBO) transactions conducted online. While Levitt and Dubner raised some very good points about whether agents are really able to boost property values, some of the concepts and predictions underlying their argument were either flawed or didn’t materialize. The bottom line for real estate transactions in 2019 is that both buyers and sellers are better off retaining the services of agents, particularly if they’re dealing with real estate in downtown San Diego. Here are a few reasons real estate agent representation is crucial in 2019.
Getting the Desired Price
According to the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers published in 2018 by the National Association of Realtors, only 7 percent of home sales in the United States were completed as FSBO transactions. The average selling price in FSBO transactions was just over $200,000. By comparison, the national average closing price in transactions conducted by agents was $265,500. According to FSBO sellers, the most difficult aspect of their transactions involved getting the price they were hoping for. More than 40 percent of listings that start out as FSBO transactions end up closing with the assistance of real estate professionals.
Navigating a Buyers’ Market
Owners of downtown San Diego condos have enjoyed several years of favorable market conditions, but this situation won’t last forever. When the real estate tide turns, sellers are often put in a precarious position if their properties aren’t being actively marketed. In a pure buyers’ market filled with house flippers and investors, lowball offers can multiply and frustrate sellers, and this is a situation that can be countered with proven strategies such as open houses and staging, which are better handled by seasoned agents.
Negotiating Purchase Terms
Real estate agents with sharp negotiation skills will never be out of work because they provide true value to buyers. Getting a better deal requires knowledge of what can be negotiated, and that isn’t limited to seeking bargains. In some cases, agents are able to negotiate contract contingencies, upgrades, and closing costs.
Completing the Process
There’s something the Freakonomics book certainly got right in 2005: these days, finding a condo you like is as simple as installing the right app on your smartphone. You don’t even have to browse. You can always define your criteria, set filters, and wait for a notification to arrive. You can even complete a mortgage prequalification worksheet online before meeting with the loan officer, but there will come a time when you realize an agent is required to complete the process. Depending on market conditions, sellers might not consider bids unless they come from agents.
The most intelligent choice is to work with real estate professionals who know the ins and outs of the real estate market in your area. The experts at 92101 Urban Living have years of experience helping clients with reliable, straightforward advice about buying and selling properties in downtown San Diego. Call one of our friendly agents today at 619-649-0368.