The purchase of a home is one of the most complex, high-risk, and expensive transactions most people will ever participate in.
If you are considering purchasing a home here are ten key reasons why you should hire a Realtor:
1. The Service Is Free.
BUYERS DO NOT PAY REALTOR COMMISSIONS. If you are a buyer there is no reason you should not be working with a Realtor! A real estate agent will help you understand everything you need to know about the home buying process and save you time and money.
They are there to represent and negotiate for your interests and to help you find the right home, the right financing, and to ensure you get the best terms possible. That said, the agent fee (i.e. commission) is a pre-arranged amount (usually a percentage of the sales price) that the seller has agreed to pay at closing for their services via the terms listed in the listing agreement. The listing broker then offers part of the commission — often 50 percent — to the agent who represents the buyer. That means it’s provided by the listing broker/agent and is not an additional expense to the seller, nor is it added onto the amount the buyer pays. Thus it is actually the seller’s agent that pays the buyer broker and again buyers do not pay commissions. (the same goes for new homes / new construction)
2. Having Someone on Your Side.
When you hire a Realtor, he or she is legally required to work on your behalf and in your best interest. Having a professional who is on your side will help to ensure your rights are properly protected throughout the entire process.
Less than a decade ago, a home could be bought with a two-page contract. Now consumer-mandated seller’s disclosures, environmental and structural reports, and other legal documents have turned the home transfer into a potential minefield. Realtors work with contracts daily, and can fully understand which points are harmful and/or beneficial to you. From helping you make a reasonable offer, to providing for the discovery and disclosure of material facts, your agent can also correctly interpret information for you. If you found out the neighbor next door to the house you are buying is building a new fence, would you know to get a new survey ordered? Your Realtor can assist you in making sure that the new fence doesn’t encroach on your new property. Our agents will save you time, money, and provide access to a wealth of information and resources to help find that special home.
** TIP: The listing agent represents the seller(s) and has a fiduciary obligation to work on the seller’s behalf, that is to sell you their client’s home for as much money as possible, and under terms most favorable to the seller. A Buyer’s Agent represents you and your interests, their job is to be your advocate and their responsibility is to you. There is no cost to you for this exclusive representation however, you do need to have an explicit arrangement and contract with your agent confirming this status.
3. Your REALTOR can help you understand different financing options and identify qualified lenders.
If you provide your Realtor with some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to assist you, and those that will be able to provide the best possible terms. Securing the best possible terms on your home purchase involves more than just the purchase price of the home.
4. A Realtor Can Assist You In The Selection Process By Providing Objective Information About Local Communities And Neighborhoods, As Well As Individual Properties.
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?
With the internet and mobile devices taking the housing market by storm, home buyers have unprecedented access to property information at their fingertips. While you can find a great deal of information on communities, neighborhoods and individual homes online, how will you know which builders to consider and which are known for building a quality product that they stand behind, which neighborhoods are on the decline and should be avoided and alternatively which are likely to see above average rates of appreciation? Starting your home search online isn’t a bad idea however, once you’ve looked at what’s available, it’s a good time to get a professional involved!
Finding the right home in the right community is the only part of the process and once you find the house you want, the work really begins. You’ll need help navigating negotiations, loan approval, seller’s disclosures, inspections, repairs, and much more.
5. Viewing Homes
You’ve spent time online viewing photos and reading descriptions of homes. Now you’re ready to take a look at the real thing. If you don’t have a buyer’s agent you’ll be forced to contact each of the listing agents for every home you’re interested in seeing and coordinating appointments to see these homes around each of these agent’s schedules. After multiple voicemails and delayed responses from these agents the end result of all this effort is typically a series of appointments spread out across a number of days and at times that are most convenient for the listing agents. This can prove to be a tremendous disadvantage as the most desirable homes tend to sell quickly (often before being listed) and unrepresented buyers rarely get a chance to see these homes, let alone to submit an offer and purchase them.
Alternatively home buyers who hire a buyer’s agent simply let their agent know which homes they’re interested in seeing and when they are available and their listing will arrange these appointments on a day and time that’s convenient for you, and if specified in the order of their choosing.
6. A Realtor Will Navigate You Through The Home Buying Process.
Once you find the house you want, the work really begins. You’ll need help navigating negotiations, loan approval, seller’s disclosures, inspections, repairs, and much more. Your agent will share your risk, and will make sure you go into any home purchase with your eyes wide open.
7. Real Estate Professionals Work On Commission.
As mentioned it won’t cost you anything to hire a professional to assist you with your real estate purchase. The agent fee (i.e. commission) is a pre-arranged amount (usually a percentage of the sales price – 6-7 percent) that the seller has agreed to pay the listing agent for their service at closing and under the terms listed in the listing agreement. The listing broker then offers part of the commission — typically 3 percent — to the agent who represents the buyer. That means it’s provided by the listing broker/agent and is not an additional expense to the seller, nor is it added onto the amount the buyer pays. Thus it is actually the seller’s agent that pays the buyer broker and again buyers do not pay commissions.
Additionally, your agent won’t be earning any income until they’ve found your dream home and thus they will be motivated to assist you with all aspects of your purchase transaction.
It also means that if the deal of the century is about to come on the market, who do you think your agent will tell? The buyer who thinks he’ll get a better deal by working with every agent, or the buyer who is loyal?
It is common courtesy to work with only one agent and if it’s customary in that area, don’t be reluctant to sign a buyer’s representation agreement with your agent once you have chosen the right agent to represent you in your transaction.
A buyer representation agreement (which is always an option) will help spell out the specific duties that your buyer’s agent will perform, meaning you will receive a higher level of service since the buyer’s agent has a formal commitment that you will utilize their services should you purchase a home in their market area. Just be sure to discuss the agreement at length so you and your agent have a clear understanding on expectations…and most agreements allow for the termination of the contract should you become unsatisfied with your chosen agent’s performance.
8. Realtors Understand The Current Market.
Buyers face many more hurdles including stricter financing and a confusing marketplace of listed homes, traditional home sales, foreclosures and short sales. A good Realtor understands the current market and can help you make sense of it. In addition, real estate professionals have invaluable house-by-house, street-by-street, and market-by-market experience which can’t be learned overnight. Rising and falling interest rates affect the number of available homes for sale within weeks or days. As neighborhood experts, experienced brokers and agents can help you with home buying strategies and proposals that will get the right house at the best price and terms.
9. Realtors Have Access To The MLS And The Complete Inventory Of Available Homes.
Do you want to reduce your search time and find a home quickly? With a Realtor by your side, you will. According to The National Association of Realtors, over four-fifths of existing homes in the United States are represented by real estate brokers. So are 70 percent of new home builders and their products, according to NewHomeNetwork.com. Realtors cooperate with each other through an organization called the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) that allows them to share their current inventory with each other. Your agent can also show you homes outside of the MLS inventory, including for-sale-by-owner homes, new builder homes, and institution-operated homes.
That said, many homes are bought and sold without a sign ever going into the yard. Depending on the listing agent, his or her broker, and the rules and technology of the local MLS, data entry is rarely instantaneous. By the time the home is posted on the Internet, it could already be sold, so when you shop for homes on the Internet, you may not be seeing the most current inventory. This is why exceptional agents network with each other. Your agent will tell other agents about you and your wish list in exchange for information about upcoming homes for sale which are not yet in the MLS or the Internet. If you want to be positioned to make the first offer on the most desirable homes, hire an agent. If an agent has found out about a home for sale that has not been listed, whom do you think he or she will tell first – the buyer who is committed to him or her by contract? Again, commitment works both ways.
10. Realtors Work For You And The Transaction.
There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and/or appliances. Balancing offers and counteroffers, as well as handling many of the contingencies that usually accompany real estate transactions, can be terribly frustrating for buyers and sellers. Having a non-biased third party to guide you through this process is extremely valuable and keeps the transaction viable.
Buyers and sellers are natural adversaries. You want to buy for the lowest price possible, and the seller wants to sell for the highest price possible. Agents must be skilled negotiators to keep pride, emotions, or stubbornness from getting in the way of a fair deal for both sides. As the buyer, remember that you are the one in control. While your agent will offer professional, experienced based advice, it is you who will instruct your agent on exactly how far to go in negotiations on your behalf.
11. Realtors Are Homeowner Advocates.
Do you like the idea of deducting your mortgage interest from your income tax? Paying no capital gains when you sell your home up to $250,000 if you are single and $500,000 if you are married after living in it only two years? If so, you can thank the only lobbying group in the nation that looks out for the interests of homeowners – The National Association of Realtors. Every year, the Realtor PAC perches on Capitol Hill and swoops down on legislators who try to overturn these generous government-sponsored homeowner benefits. The result is well worth it. These initiatives keep housing more affordable and make them better investments, enabling more buyers than ever before to move into a home of their own. Thanks in part to Realtors, more than 67 percent of the population are enjoying the benefits of owning a home. So keep in mind that every time you put a Realtor to work, you are working to keep your homeowner benefits in place.
Take advantage of the greatest home-buying resource available – your neighborhood Realtor®
** TIP: Realtors Are Real Estate Specialists. Not all real estate professionals are created equally. There are approximately 2.3 million licensed real estate professionals, but only members of the National Association of Realtors can call themselves Realtors. This association of about 750,000 brokers and agents provides a Code of Ethics to standardize professional behavior, and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. Make sure the agent you select to represent you is a Realtor.
If you, or someone you know is considering Buying or Selling a Home in Columbus, Ohio please contact The Opland Group. We offer professional real estate advice and look forward to helping you achieve your real estate goals!
The Opland Group Specializes in Real Estate Sales, Luxury Home Sales, Short Sales in; Bexley Columbus Delaware Downtown Dublin Gahanna Grandview Heights Granville Grove City Groveport Hilliard Lewis Center New Albany Pickerington Polaris Powell Upper Arlington Westerville Worthington