As my clients continue to search for a new home in the real estate market, I can’t help but think about how different the home-buying experience is from what it was like for my parents or others in previous generations.
First of all, the search process is completely different.  Everything is online these days and you can typically see 20-30 pictures of every house that’s on the market and sometimes even a drone shot.  You can make first-level determinations from your own living room about the types of homes you would like to look at without having to go to dozens of places in person.  You can pull up tax records, school district information, and neighborhood reviews.  There is a huge time saving aspect of being able to cross off the ones you don’t want to physically visit.
But the houses themselves are also completely different than they were in the past.  In the 70’s, many homes did not have central air conditioning, 1.5 bathrooms or less, smaller in square footage, and a one car garage.  Now, central air is a must, a master bathroom is a definite advantage, more living space, 2+ car garage, and energy efficient appliances.  Not to mention wireless internet connectivity!
In addition, mortgage rates are at record lows.  A $1,300 house payment today at just under 4% interest would have been around $4,000 in the early 1970’s at over 15% interest.  Your money goes much further at today’s rates than any time in the past 40+ years.
With all of the differences between yesteryear and today, the need for a real estate agent arises even more so now.  Selling and buying a house can be complicated.  In 1970, the listing agreement was one page as was the purchase agreement.  Now the listing agreement usually contains 10+ pages with all of the disclosures and the purchase agreement is at least 7 pages.  No inspections existed in the past.  Now inspections such as a whole house, termite, and radon are a part of every transaction.  In addition, coming to an agreement on price and terms is not as easy as it used to be.  With the wealth of information available today, including a real estate agent on real estate transactions will save everyone time, money, and stress!