As the housing market continues to change, the temptation to sell your home alone is strong. Homes seem to move quickly and it seems like the perfect time for a buyer or seller to practice their own skills. People on both sides of the equation think they can save money by doing it all themselves. While this strategy works in some situations, it is not always the best option. Here are seven good reasons why hiring an experienced REALTOR® can be a smart financial decision for you.
1. A REALTOR® understands you.
It’s the REALTOR®’s job to listen to what you say. Every buyer and seller have a wish list. Those wish lists vary by person and sometimes the buyer or seller may not even know of items that should be on the wish list. That is where the REALTOR® comes in. They will read between the lines and help their clients to know the difference between “have to have” and “nice to have”. He or she will not waste your time showing you homes that are out of your price range or preferred area. If you’re a seller, the REALTOR® will not bring you a buyer who’s unqualified or otherwise unsuitable for your property. If you are a seller, your REALTOR® will pick your brain on what drew you to the home you are selling and use that to help market your home. The REALTOR® will also spend time getting to know your wish list and figure out how to use that to your advantage when it is time for negotiating offers.
2. A REALTOR® is a teacher, a coach, and sometimes a therapist (but seriously).
When you start working with a REALTOR®, his or her first step should be to educate you on the processes involved in both buying and selling a home as well as educate you on the area trends. What are the market trends? What’s selling (or what’s not)? The volatility of today’s market means that circumstances are changing on a daily basis. That means a good price today may be a bad one tomorrow. A good REALTOR® keeps up with trends, prices, and changing regulations within the area. He or she knows how much of that you need to know and keeps you informed without overwhelming you with too much information at any given time. If you are selling your home, your REALTOR® will guide you through the process of preparing your home to be market-ready. When the actual purchase process begins, the REALTOR® will guide you through the tricky maze of offers, counter-offers, and the fine points of negotiating that can add dollars to your bottom line in ways that go well beyond just the purchase price listed on the contract.
3. A REALTOR® is a trained negotiator.
You walk in the front door and you’re in love. It’s the perfect house, the prettiest yard—even the dog will love it. Someone needs to keep a clear head here, and that’s what REALTORS® are trained to do. They practice their negotiating skills on a daily basis, which you probably do not. A good REALTOR® will see that you pay a fair price for your dream home and advise you on the ins and outs of the extras in a contract to help you get the best deal for your situation. From the seller’s point of view, the REALTOR® can protect you from making costly mistakes, like the impulse to accept the first offer you get, fearing you may never get another. REALTORS® also help sellers to negotiate the fine details of a contract that could cost money they are not prepared to spend otherwise. REALTORS® provide a critical buffer between sellers and buyers to help keep emotions out of the transactions.
4. A REALTOR® sees things differently.
If you are selling, the REALTOR® will advise you how to maximize your home’s potential with a coat of paint, a vase of flowers, or a bit of landscaping. Sometimes those things adding selling features without adding to the sales price. If you are in a hurry to sell your home, you may need those selling features. If you are buying, the REALTOR® may help you see the Cinderella potential in an Ugly Sister bargain of a house or show you the downside of that beautiful Cinderella home. In either situation, the advice of a good REALTOR® can put extra dollars in your pocket.
5. A REALTOR® knows the area.
REALTORS® generally work within the boundaries of a limited market such as a neighborhood, an area, or a town. Or they may specialize in a specific type of property, such as condos, single family homes, or historic properties. A REALTOR® that sells land and farms will know the ins and outs of the requirements for that type of property but may not know the requirements for selling a condo. They know what’s currently on the market based on their specialty area and know how many homes you have to choose from as a buyer. They know what’s new, what just sold, and for how much and that will help you properly price your home as a seller. They can advise sellers on setting an attractive listing price and coach buyers in making a reasonable offer based on the knowledge of the area and market. They are able to see things like seller concessions paid on different homes that sold. Those give the REALTOR® an idea of why the price for a particular property may be so much lower than the similar property. Those bits of knowledge help the buyer and seller know the ins and outs of the market’s current pricing.
6. A REALTOR® is a skilled interpreter.
Go paperless, they say! You’ll have less paperwork, they say! THEY LIE! There is a mountain of paper that is produced by a single real estate transaction. Are you ready to read all of that and will you understand it? You’re dealing with purchase agreements, disclosures, subsurface sewage disclosure, wire fraud warning, and much more required by state and local rules. On top of that, do you know which document is needed for the different types of loans? Do you know what loan type you need as a buyer? Do you know what contingency you need written in as a buyer or seller? Do you need water test? Who knows? A good REALTOR® does! A good REALTOR® knows what each document says and even more importantly, what it means and is able to explain it to you. What may seem like a small misstep in the process could cost you thousands of dollars and possibly the home of your dreams. The REALTOR® will keep you from missing a critical step, and will see that everything is signed, sealed, and delivered on time.
7. A REALTOR® puts you first.
Let’s be honest, a home is the most expensive purchase most of us will ever make. Whether you are buying or selling, it’s going to be an emotional roller coaster of an experience. The REALTOR® has a duty to protect your interests, first and foremost. The Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTOR® says: “When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client.” Keep in mind, the client is the person that has a signed representation agreement with the REALTOR® (buyer or seller).