In an age of electronic prevalence where you can buy almost anything online, home buying sites have popped up all over. On sites like Zillow and Redfin, potential buyers can see homes for sale in Calgary at any time of day. However, while there’s a lot more access to browsing homes online, that doesn’t mean you should forego using an agent on your home search.

1. Agents dig deeper.

As a buyer, it can be easy to get caught up in minute details like wonky wallpaper or distracting decorations that take away from a home’s hidden beauty. These characteristics may be a turn off for you, but an agent can point out elements like foundation durability and recent updates that are more important than fixable design choices. In addition, realtors are able to break down the big picture about the neighborhood and community features that go beyond the four walls of the home like schools, economic development and projected growth.

2. Agents know the city codes.

Falling in love with your dream home can happen in an instant, but there’s a lot more that goes into the purchase to ensure the home doesn’t come with a lot of baggage. A realtor is able to investigate and learn if building codes were broken, or something doesn’t seem right with zoning before you sign on the dotted line. They can answer in-depth questions that you may never even think of such as if the septic tank is large enough to support the home, if the square footage actually lines up with what’s recorded in county documents and if all the permits were adhered to when the home was updated.

3. Agents actually understand inspection reports.

Getting to see everything that’s “wrong” with a home is both overwhelming and helpful. Some home-inspection reports can range from 15 pages for smaller houses to nearly 100 pages for bigger properties. That’s a lot of reading! How do you know what’s a minor detail versus something that really needs addressed? The seller’s agent may downplay some of what’s listed on the report while your own realtor will advocate for you and point out the most important elements of the home report.

While it’s a good idea to browse online and get a feel for homes you like and features that are a must, doing the deed of finding a home solely on your own probably isn’t the best idea. By utilizing the knowledge and expertise of a real estate agent, you’re more likely to settle in a home you know is the perfect fit for your new beginning.