Are we a little biased on reasons we think the public should work with a professional Realtor? Yes- but for good reason. Statistically speaking, homes that are for sale by owner take longer to sell (and usually sell for less) than homes that are represented by a Realtor. If you are in the process of buying, you may not know the ins and outs of the real estate market, like a professional Realtor would. Here are 6 reasons why it is important to work with a Realtor:
1. You have an expert guide. Where is the best school located? How about a park? Are there upcoming changes to the neighborhood? Where can I find the best hamburger or great cocktail? What events go on in this town? These are questions many new buyers have when moving to a new location. Having someone who knows the area, and knows it well, can help answer the unknowns of a new place.
2. Documents, documents and more documents. Selling or buying a home is more than just purchasing a vehicle, it is a huge commitment with a lot of paperwork. Paperwork that involves contracts up to 50 pages long that you are bound to and if you don't know the verbiage of the contract, you may be on the losing side without even knowing it. For example, if you plan to purchase a home with a mortgage, but you fail to make financing as one of the conditions of the sale, and you end up not being approved for the mortgage- you could not only lose your deposit on the home you could actually be sued by the seller for failing to fulfill your end of the contract. Yikes!
An experienced real estate agent deals with the same contracts and conditions on a regular basis and is familiar with which conditions should be used, when they can safely be removed and how to use the contract to protect you, whether you're buying or selling your home.
3. Negotiating power. Negotiating something as big as a home purchase can be tricky business. There are many factors up for discussion in a deal and both buyers and sellers want the best price. However, the best price can be very subjective and if you don't have an objective person on your side, the deal can go south very quickly. If you are a buyer and you think the carpet is hideous or the kitchen needs a lot of work you can express your concerns to your Realtor about how much upgrades will cost in the home, without ranting to the seller and end up insulting them.
A Realtor can help by speaking for you in tough transactions and smoothing things over to keep them from getting too personal. For sellers, a Realtor will represent their interest without turning off potential buyers who want to object about the price.
4. Pricing Your Home Correctly. There are websites out there that will "estimate" how much your home is worth. But how accurate are they? Do they know about the upgrades you recently made to your bathroom? Do they know how much time you spent last summer on your curb appeal? Or do they know about the gorgeous countertops and stainless steel appliances you put in your kitchen? Some online estimates can be off by as much as 35% (some of us have seen as high as 90%). That is a huge chunk out of your home.
Having an actual person, who knows the local market, come in and look around your home to price it correctly is one of the most critical skills a Realtor offers. Price your home too high and it can linger on the market without any showings, price too low and you may end up losing money.
5. Marketing your Property. You want your home to get the maximum exposure to the greatest number of potential buyers. A good Realtor knows how to market your home correctly. They know (or should know) the power of the online market. A Realtor should have a specific multi-media marketing plan. They will take professional photos of your home, have marketing materials in your home for potential buyers, host open houses, broadcast your home on various online real estate and social media sites, and constantly network your home to other agents or clients.
6. Fiduciary responsibility. When you work with a Realtor, their fiduciary responsibility is to you. Realtors are bound by license law to act in their client's best interest- not his or her own. They adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. With a Realtor, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters.