With the rise of popular listings sites like Trulia and Zillow, many homebuyers are asking themselves “why do I need a real estate agent?” In addition to having someone with incomparable experience walk you through the process, a licensed REALTOR® can offer nine key benefits. Here are nine excellent reasons to use a REALTOR®.

1. Help negotiate terms and price

REALTORS® are trained professionals able to get you the best prices on a house and to help you make an informed decision about the purchase price. Real estate agents are able to negotiate the highest offer for a listed house and to get the highest offer in the shortest amount of time on a house you’re trying to sell.

2. Coordinate viewings/appointments

There’s a reason REALTORS® operate in their own industry – buying and selling real estate is a lot of work. If you’re already working a full-time job, a professional can help you coordinate viewings and appointments with potential buyers, list your home in the right markets and show you the listings you want to see.

3. Find homes with your specifications

REALTORS® are community experts. They understand the common features of homes in the area you’re looking to move. They know the state of the local market and have intimate knowledge of the living experience in specific neighborhoods. Most importantly, they know the specifics of each house for sale and can help you find your dream home.

4. Draft offers and contracts/handle paperwork

There are many legal issues involved in the buying and selling of a home. Too often, the relationship between “for sale by owner” (FSBO) sellers and unrepresented buyers starts off on a good foot, but quickly turns sour once the complexities of the process are revealed. The best way to protect yourself from litigation is with a licensed professional on your side.

5. Have more up-to-date information on available properties

When a real estate agent is first getting into real estate, they immediately recognize the benefits of the multiple listings service (MLS). One of the REALTOR® benefits is access to the regional MLS system, which operates as a non-profit and is overseen by a board of local brokers.

6. Knowledge of market conditions

Real estate is very local, and real estate agents have the knowledge and training to properly understand the current state of the market. Online resources such as Trulia, Zillow and Redfin can be helpful for initial research, but often reflect inaccurate or outdated information.

7. References for industry professionals

Real estate agents, especially those belonging to a Texas association of REALTORS®, have a wide network of contractors, staging professionals and inspectors they work with consistently. REALTORS® are able to refer the best professionals for the best price.