The answer to this question is often long but for varying reasons. Much is made of fact that buyers can find as much, and in many cases will find out more, about a home than an agent will know. This is a modern day reality for real estate. However having information and knowing how it applies to you are not always the same. Does a buyer need an agent to find a home for sale? Definitely not. Should a buyer utilitize an agent to assist them with the purchase? Most often the answer is definitely so. Why?
No one wants to be bothered by a sales person asking you to act, or trying to insert themselves into your life or "sell" you on a specific property or strategy. We can all agree on this. Where the difficulties arise is in learning and setting expecations for you and helping you learn what you don't know. Knowing how much a seller paid for a home or when they bought it or how much they owe on it, may have no relevance to it's market value, suitability for your needs or how you should structure your offer to buy it. Yet it's all available information. Knowing what the trends are for an area, a neighborhood, a style of home in an area are not so readily available information points that you may need to know to helping you determine a home's value, present day or future and how you should craft your offer.
Many people outside of real estate attempt to make this business a pure science. You learn these facts and based upon them you act in these ways. In reality, much about real estate is an art. People and emotions are involved, as well as money. Pricing homes, crafting winning offers, preparing Buyer profiles and presenting clients to sellers is usually more art than science. While many agents may not be good at this, finding and utilizing ones who are is invaluable to you as a buyer. In our local market, especially with such tight inventory in so much of our area, committing to an agent and being prepared to make changes in your Buyer profile so you can be presented in a stronger light to Sellers and their agents is critical. Having a complete picture of who you are and who's on your team shows that you are prepared to act and you show up differently to Sellers and their agents who will evaluate and make decisions based on this presentation. The highest price offer isn't always the winner. The best offer is usually a combintation of factors. If you want to win without having to outbid all others, you need to know how to draft a better offer and that's science and art blended together by a good agent. Having one on your team, not to annoy you with untimely calls, texts or messaging but providing you real advice and assistance is why you'll often be better served by an agent committed to you. None of us know what we dont' know but a good agent knows how to craft a winning offer and get you the home you want to buy.