The Benefits of Hiring a Realtor
Whether you are thinking about buying a home or selling a home, you will inevitably face the decision to contact, or not to contact, a realtor for professional assistance. If you have never worked with a realtor before, you may be wondering what it is exactly that he or she will do for you. After all, a realtor will typically receive somewhere around 3% of the home sales price as their commission for assisting you throughout the sale. This can seem like a pretty hefty price tag, especially if you’re already dropping thousands of dollars on a down payment; and it’s only fair that you know what you’re paying for, so let me take a few moments here to explain exactly what services a qualified realtor will provide for you.
1 In order to earn and maintain her license, a realtor must take classes on the subject of real estate law, procedure, and ethics. This education allows real estate professionals to assist consumers by providing expert knowledge and advice throughout the selling and buying processes. In addition to education, realtors have experience in real estate transactions that consumers, especially first-time home buyers, may not have. Hiring a real estate professional to assist you in your real estate transaction is the equivalent to hiring an electrician to rewire your home. A professional’s education and expertise will prove to be invaluable.
2 If you are selling your home, a realtor will save you valuable time by acting as a nonsense filter. Your realtor will be able to weed out the not-today-buyers before they ever have a chance to waste your time, and she will be able to catch the serious buyers and provide them with the information they need in order to make the decision to write an offer on your home.
3 A realtor will be able to provide you with statistics on properties that are comparable to the one you are selling or to the one you are looking at buying. She will be able to help you figure out how much a property is actually worth on the market by analyzing what has recently sold in your area of interest and for what price. This also means that your realtor will make sure that you do not pay more for a property than it is worth, and that you do not sell your property for less than it is worth.
4 Realtors, in addition to being real estate professionals, are also networking professionals. They will be able to provide you with a list of references for reputable professionals whose services you may need throughout your real estate transaction. These professionals may include mortgage brokers, home inspectors, appraisers, etc. Networking also allows realtors to dig up information such as details on properties not yet on the market officially, but whose owners are interested in selling.
5 A realtor makes an excellent negotiator because they are emotionally removed from the purchase. Keeping a clear head allows a realtor to keep her client’s best interests in mind and to skillfully negotiate a transaction; this makes a realtor an extremely valuable asset to a consumer. In addition to negotiating price, a realtor is also skilled in negotiating for repairs. Often a price is agreed upon with the condition of a satisfactory home inspection. If the home inspection brings to light any serious issues, a realtor will be able to advise you which options are available and will be able to handle re-negotiations.
6 A realtor will handle all of your transaction paperwork. Contracts can easily fill ten or more pages with legal jargon and tiny font. A realtor works with these documents every day, and so she will be able to expertly guide you through the process, ensuring that you understand exactly what it is that you are signing.
7 A realtor will also be able to field any questions you might have throughout your transaction and even after your closing date. Customer service is a huge part of a realtor’s job, and good agents will be more than happy to help you out with your questions and concerns, even after the deal is closed!
8 Access to the Multiple-Listing Service (MLS) allows a realtor to see every property listed for sale in your area of interest (excepting those for-sale by owner). This information along with the query functions of the MLS will allow a realtor to quickly compile a list of properties that fulfill your home wish-list as well as staying within your price range. This can easily save buyers days, weeks, or even months of online searching; not to mention that information on the MLS is certain to be up-to-date, saving you from wasting time looking at properties that may already be under contract.
In addition to the benefits that realtors with MLS access can provide to buyers, a realtor will be able to seriously market a seller’s property by listing it on the MLS. Every serious buyer working with a real estate agent in your area will have access to your home listing, creating a situation in which not only is your realtor searching for a buyer for you, but so is every other realtor in town! This kind of property exposure is invaluable for getting your home under contract within your timeframe.
9 Real estate agents are already familiar with property values, taxes, zoning restrictions, utility costs, and municipal services and facilities. They are also privy to changes in the market, with first-hand knowledge on details such as whether sales prices are going up or down, or how long properties are staying on the market before they sell. This sort of information can be critical in the decision to buy or sell a home.
10 Finally, licensed realtors are held to a very high standard of ethical behavior. By working with a realtor, you can be assured that you have an expert on your team, working for you and protecting you throughout your transaction. In addition to this code of ethics, real estate is a profession based on reputation and referrals; therefore, your realtor will do everything in her power to make sure you are happy, comfortable, and legally and financially safe as she guides you through your home purchase or sale.