Real Estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of an accountant? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it wouldn't be advisable to consider a deal in real estate without a professional assistance of a REALTOR.
But if you're still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR, here are a dozen more reasons to use one:
1. Your realtor can help you determine your buying power- that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a Realtor some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders, banks and mortgage companies offer limited choices.
2. Your Realtor has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.
3. Your Realtor can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are Realtors have access to a variety of informational resources. Realtors can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, etc. there are two things you'll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
4. Your Realtor can help you negotiate. There are many negotiating factors, including the price, financing, terms and conditions, date of possession and often the inclusion and/or exclusion of chattels, and necessary repairs of the same. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
5. Your Realtor provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your Realtor can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports.
6. Your Realtor can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.
7. Your Realtor can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
8. When selling your home your Realtor can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.
9. Your Realtor markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your realtor can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. In many markets across the country, over 505 of real estate sales are cooperative sale; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in a buyer. Your realtor acts as a marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The Realtor Code of Ethics requires Realtors to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.
10. Your Realtor will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The National Association of Realtors studies shows that 82% of real estate sales are the results of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with a help of your Realtor, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your Realtor will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
11. Your Realtor can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing, a lot of possible pitfalls. Your Realtor can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.
12. Your realtor can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your Realtor is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).