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Selling your home can be a complicated process, and the time and effort that goes into it may seem overwhelming. You might be tempted by an online company that guarantees to buy your home quickly with no hassle and claims to put money straight into your pocket. But are these services the easy solution they claim to be, and how do you know if it’s right for you?

Known as “iBuyers,” these programs promise to simplify the selling process so you can move on to your next home with a clear mind. They also sound too good to be true. You simply enter a few details about your home on a website and receive an instant offer on your home. Your house sells quickly without the usual closing time, and it is off your hands so you can move on.

While that may seem ideal, it is important to remember the price offered by the iBuyer may rely on an estimate of the value of your home created by an automated algorithm. It will look at data for your home, including the price that homes nearby have sold for recently. While this isn’t an unusual approach, it fails to take into account the unique aspects of your home that only a human can survey and factor into the home’s asking price. Every home is unique and cannot be fully quantified by a computer. But a REALTOR® will look at non-tangibles, such as the character of the neighborhood, or other factors the algorithm might overlook, such as the distinctive upgrades made to the home, when estimating the value to ensure you are getting a fair price for your home.

An iBuyer program is appealing to some people, particularly those who want a quick transaction or do not want to deal with traditional aspects of selling a home such as staging or making it available for showings. But don’t assume that you won’t have that flexibility when working with a REALTOR®. Sworn to uphold a higher standard through their code of ethics, your REALTOR® is there to work on your behalf, and to make the transaction as painless as possible. If staging or open houses are a deal breaker for you, talk to your REALTOR® about alternate ways to market your home that will better match your priorities.

In addition, it is important to remember that the iBuyer is acting as a wholesaler, meaning it will likely purchase the property at a price that is less than market value. Once you’ve accepted the offer, the iBuyer then takes the ownership of the home from you, and proceeds to market and sells it for a profit.

Also, don’t be confused by claims that an iBuyer will save you the commission you would normally pay a REALTOR®. You will likely pay a similar fee to the iBuyer for the convenience of the service. This fee may be based on your home’s value and how long the iBuyer estimates it will take to sell.

Remember, with such a large transaction, you want an expert looking out for your best interests, someone who deals with the intricacies of buying and selling homes on a regular basis. Most people only buy or sell a home a few times in their life, and years apart, but a REALTOR® does this every day and knows how best to navigate the process. They are your advocate and your expert guide to give you the confidence and peace of mind you need when buying or selling a home.

Most of all, know that not every claim on the internet will live up to its promise, and with a transaction this big, is that really a risk you want to take? Ask your REALTOR® about these programs so you can determine for yourself what the best decision is when choosing how to sell your home. It is important that you speak to a professional who has the experience necessary to talk you through the process, ensuring you are making the decisions that are best for you and your family. Every transaction is different, and you need to make sure you are confident in the process. Your REALTOR® will be an objective voice and your guide throughout the transaction so your questions are answered and you are secure in your decisions.

Start your home search and find a REALTOR® by visiting sabor.com.

Grant Lopez is the 2019 Chairman of the Board for the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®. Lopez has been a licensed REALTOR® for more than a decade and is an associate with The Schrader Group. In 2017, he...