There is no bigger purchase that most people will make than that of their home. It is a sanctuary – a place to escape at the end of the day, and as such, should be uniquely suited to your specifications. Sure, you can shop around for features on the Internet and browse the popular real estate sites to find out what you want; however, this should be a first step, not how you actually shop for a home. When it comes to home buying, there is no substitute for having a knowledgeable professional REALTOR on your side. But why?
A Buyer’s Agent Typically Costs NOTHING to the Buyer
Wait, what about the commission $’s you may be asking? Can’t you save that if you don’t use an agent? This is a very common misunderstanding that many people have in how listing contracts are structured. In most cases, when a home seller lists their home with a listing agent they have a set percentage of commission that will go towards the listing agent when they sell their home. The percentages can vary, but let’s use 6% for this example. When a buyer (with an agent) makes an offer, the offer typically includes a “split” of that commission between the listing agent and the buyer’s agent (if it’s 6%, a 50/50 split would be 3% to the listing agent and 3% to the buyer’s agent). If the buyer does not have an agent and tries to negotiate the transaction themselves, the listing agent will, in most instances, get that entire 6% themself and split it with no one. So, in a typical listing contract, the sales commission is paid by the seller and does not add to the cost of the home. Why wouldn’t you want an expert on your side in what will likely be one of the most important decisions of your life?
A REALTOR Finds the Best Deals
Whether it is a high-end area or a high-end home you seek, sticker shock can be a big deal when looking to buy a home. So many times buyers go into a house hunt with a specific, realistic budget, only to find out that their money is not going to buy everything they need or want. It can be discouraging. This is where a REALTOR comes in to save the day. Unless you have access to the Multiple Listings Service (MLS), it is difficult to see exactly what is on the market. Only public listings are available to you, and you have no records of upcoming or private, also known as pocket listings. A good agent always has their ear to the ground and can, at times, find a deal, just before it’s accessible to the public. Many of the large, well known real estate websites, get an automated data feed and do not have access to the actual MLS or the resources of a good local REALTOR. By accessing the market as a whole, your real estate agent has the tools they need to find the best value for your budget and in the area you desire.
A REALTOR Supports Informed Buying
What is Quest plumbing, title insurance, flood zones, PMI..? What’s the difference between a pre-approval and pre-qualifying? For many, buying a home is once in a lifetime and not as easy as you think. When you sign on as a client with a good buyer’s agent, they will ALWAYS have your best interests in mind and guide you to make the most informed decision. Real Estate Agents also support informed buying by ensuring that you are aware of any and all known defects of a property. Because the National Association of Realtors (NAR) mandates that all issues be listed, it is a seller’s agent’s job to make them known and a buyer’s agent’s job to pass this information along to the buyer. Without a buyer’s agent, something can be missed. With a real estate agent comes a plethora of resources, including inspectors, contractors, title companies, real estate attorneys and much more. Upon receiving the information about a home’s potential downfalls, your agent works through her network to learn what the needed repairs are and how much they will cost. Further, they advocate for you as the buyer to have these repairs either taken care of before closing or to receive a credit from the sellers at closing to make them yourself.
A REALTOR Negotiates a Fair Price
The real estate market can be a turbulent, unstable beast. Home values go up, and sometimes – like during the 2008 market crash – home values plummet. To give yourself the best chance at building years of positive equity on your home, you must start with a fair sales price. Of course, the market is dictated by what buyers are willing to pay, but this is only part of the equation. The other major part of a home’s price tag is fair market value. Without a REALTOR, this is very difficult to compute accurately. Real estate agents use multiple tools to calculate a fair offer for a home, including pulling comparable properties in the area and putting together a tool called a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA). By looking at recent home sales in the region for properties similar to the one you are looking to buy, it is easy to come to an agreed starting point for a reasonable offer. Even with careful analysis and consideration, sometimes a seller is not willing to accept an offer the first time. This is where your REALTOR gets to flex their negotiation skills. Using sound logic and taking additional costs, such as appliances and repairs, into consideration, a buyer’s agent works to get the best price for a home – one that you as the buyer and the sellers can feel good about. It is so important for both parties to feel good and confident about the price. Best of all you get this without all of the stress of negotiating on your own.
A REALTOR Saves You Time
When you use a real estate agent to buy a home, you benefit from the personalized attention and expertise that only they can offer. Your REALTOR is well-versed in the region’s ins and outs and is your best tool for researching the neighborhoods you are interested in. Further, once your wishlist has been made and you know the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, the size yard you desire and the school district you prefer, your real estate agent works tirelessly to find a group of homes that tick most of the marks on your checklist. Once you find those homes, you will want to schedule a showing and this is not always easy. Without an agent, you will likely need to contact the listing brokerage, and then the listing agent who will then have to work within the schedules of multiple homeowners. Just because you are free this Sunday, doesn’t mean you will be able to view homes all day. A good buyer’s agent will balance your schedule with the schedule of the various homeowners to maximize everyone’s time. Why spend countless hours researching, planning, negotiating, and worrying when you can have a trained professional on your side to help AT NO COST TO YOU? Make use of the resources available to you, and use a buyer’s agent for your next home purchasing transaction.