The Lake Martin Real estate market, like every other one in the country, has changed irreversibly.
When my father Walter started in the business in 1973, the process was pretty much the same as when my grandfather Temple founded Coley Real Estate in 1953. If you were a seller in the Lake Martin Area, and wanted to know what your home or lot was worth, you had to call an agent. In 1953, in what is now the Lake Martin Area, there were two agents. In 1973 I think there were three. The process was – you called an agent, made an appointment, and physically came into the office. Then you two would discuss your home. He would tell you what home sales trends were. There was no Lake Martin Multiple Listings Service. No Lake Martin Homes Magazine. Certainly no Internet. You were totally dependent on the keepers of the information, the real estate agent.
Now, obviously, it is all different. A Realtor’s office is no longer a thickly walled, heavily guarded fortress of information. The web has enabled (almost) perfect information about sales prices and trends. The MLS (Multiple Listings Service) web site is open to the public and easy to search.
So why do you still need a realtor now? Especially if you’re a seller – you don’t need an agent if Lake Martin is still such a seller’s market, right?
Wrong- the value of a great agent lies not so much in the mere possession of the data (MLS #s), but in how you interpret it, and what you do with it.
It’s kind of like stock quotes. Closing sale prices of stocks and mutual funds are free and public information. When you pay a financial counselor to help you with your retirement savings, you are paying them to give you advice on how to interpret the data. The value isn’t the knowledge of what XYZ Company’s stock closed for on a given day. The value lies in knowing when and for how much to sell or buy and why. Could you imagine picking a financial counselor based solely on the fact that he has access to stock quotes? No, because a small mistake in interpretation can cost you lots of money.
The value of a great realtor lies not so much in telling you what the lake home on 123 Easy Street sold for, but how that relates to your lake home, or the waterfront lot / home that you want to buy. Next, a great realtor executes a marketing plan to go out and sell your property instead of merely sticking a sign in the yard.
So, when looking for a realtor to help you value your Lake Martin property, don’t pick one that guards information like the sacred scrolls. Pick one that is focused on you, that asks you questions about your want and your needs. The more questions a realtor asks you, the better chance that he can get a feel of how to best serve you.
I work extremely hard to help people get what they want, but I don’t work for free. I give away my advice and information on Lake Martin real estate because I want my clients to be a part of the sales process, not feel like I am posing as the wizard behind the curtain. After I give them the information for free, then I can focus on marketing their home uniquely or finding them the home that matches their exact tastes.