Even with easy online research, an agent is still a buyer’s best friend


Several resources can help potential homebuyers, but real estate professional Mark Sadlek advises how agents can protect buyers from data overload.

By Rich Lopez

Buying a home can almost be handled with the click of a button in this day of apps, social networks and the plain old Internet. But can you avoid the information overload that comes with an abundance of promising options via Trulia, Zillow, Facebook or Craigslist? Then let an agent step in to keep you on track of what you’re looking for.

As director of business development for AssociaTitle, Mark J. Sadlek has seen it happen. His firm works with clients to focus their decisions during the buying or selling of a home. He likens research on websites and apps to online dating where a profile may sound perfect, but in person, isn’t quite what it appeared to be.

“So too can a home purchase go wrong just based on two-dimensional information,” he says. “In today’s digital age of information, a qualified Realtor is more important than ever for the successful purchase or sale of a home.”

Sadlek offers three points that people should keep in mind while finding their new home online and when to team up with a professional for a smooth operation.

Go deeper

“A qualified and professional Realtor will bring a deeper, more comprehensive level of knowledge to the client, allowing them to make the best decision possible in their purchase of a new home,” he says. “Unlike a web-based search, the Realtor has the potential to bring all sorts of information to the client that they wouldn’t receive otherwise. A Realtor can provide those small nuances of a home that you couldn’t see online that could drastically affect a decision.”

“I liken it to going to the symphony. A good agent will bring all the information to the decision-making process, like a good conductor brings all the musical elements to create an ideal symphony.”

Time saver

“A Realtor will know the client’s profile, with particular interest in the style of home, neighborhood criteria and school district, if need be.

Although pure statistics of a home can be found online, the character, flow and uniqueness of a house is something only a personal walk-through can offer. An agent is intimately aware of the existing inventory and the client’s needs,” says Sadlek.

Plus, an agent will be aware of “hip-pocket” homes that are available, but not officially on the market, thereby expanding the inventory options for any given client.

Forget price tags

“Realtors will know specific pricing parameters for a given neighborhood and home, thereby superseding any broader and more generic pricing guidelines offered online. Pricing analysis of the home is based on a variety of characteristics, including size, room types, construction quality, amenities and the overall neighborhood. An agent can perform an analysis giving him or her (and the buyer) a strong advantage in negotiating the best price for their purchase or sale,” he says.

There is something to be said for tech-savvy buyers who can arm themselves with a certain amount of information. This can help to even narrow down home buying to particulars which Sadlek says can be of help to a Realtor. But when it comes to the details, trust the experts.

“The web is a good starting ground, but an agent will help make the process run effectively and can stretch the boundaries of a buyer’s interests without straying too far from them,” Sadlek adds. “Besides, building a relationship with a Realtor will humanize the experience and make it more enjoyable in your selection.”

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 2, 2012.