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Online-only real estate transactions

Maryland homeowners thinking of selling their homes without a real estate agent may have more options than in previous times. Online-only agents are a quickly growing trend in the U.K. market that could be coming to the United States. The National Association of Realtors advises against this practice, explaining that realtors have valuable local information and insights to offer homeowners. Since buying a home is a major financial decision, a National Association of Realtors spokesperson cautioned home buyers against making such a major decision online.

Real estate concerns aside, online-only real estate companies such as Tepilo, HouseSimple and eMoov have seen success overseas. Not only do the firms offer lower fees for selling homes and streamlined systems, they cut costs by a lack of retail presence a well. A traditional real estate transaction in the United Kingdom may result in significant fees that are 10 times higher than what an online-only agent would charge.

Online real estate firms allow potential buyers to physically see a property for an extra charge, but each agent has different policies. Online agents have expressed that there is still local expertise to be found when working with an online-only firm. The founder of one U.K. online-only real estate firm predicts a 50 percent market share by 2020.

Homeowners who attempt to sell their properties through online-only firms may benefit from consulting with an experienced real estate attorney. Legal counsel may provide guidance on easements and any other issues that may arise during the closing process, such as with the mortgage documents.

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