There are ten good reasons and many more why a real estate professional can make an important difference when you are purchasing real estate
Realtor is commonly used as a generic word for real estate broker or agent, but only a member of the National Association of Realtors can be called a Realtor. The association provides advanced educational opportunities to its members.
When you have a Realtor as an advocate, you share some of the risk of home buying. You are paying the agent to assist you, advise you, and help you navigate the transaction legally and safely. Your agent will make sure you take appropriate steps to protect yourself. Incredibly, many states do not have laws or regulatory bodies in place that protect all aspects of home buying. Only 20 states currently license or certify home inspectors, for example. Further, these and other professionals are only liable in civil suits for the amount of their fees, not for any costs incurred by the buyer for problems or repairs that were undetected before the closing. If your agent suggests that you get a structural inspection, do so for your own protection. She or he will know how an inspection should be performed and will attend the inspection alongside you.
It is hard to name any other profession whose members work on a contingency basis. Even attorneys charge by the hour except for some high-risk lawsuits. You don't typically pay for any services up front with an agent. That means your agent incurs the costs of doing business on your behalf until you find and close your home. Therefore, it's in your agent's best interest to work quickly, diligently, and use all his or her resources to help you meet your goals. Some agents will ask you to sign a buyer's representation agreement which allows him or her to represent your interests. Be sure to ask what the advantages are, and what your release options are. Interview several agents before making your choice and compare their representation styles. Make sure you understand how the agent you choose will work with you, according to the laws and regulations of your state.
Real estate professionals have house-by-house, street-by-street, and market-by-market experience. Their experience is invaluable and can't be learned overnight. Realtors who have weathered the pendulum swing between buyers' markets and sellers' markets know that the real estate market can turn abruptly. Rising and falling interest rates affect the number of available homes for sale and their prices within weeks or days. All it takes is the entrance or exit of a major employer, and hundreds of homes in a neighborhood can be affected. As neighborhood experts, experienced brokers and agents can help you with home buying strategies and proposals that will get the price and terms you want.
Do you want to 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 homebuilders and their products, according to NewHomeNetwork.com.
Clever agents don't wait that long to find a home for their buyers; they network. Your agent communicates will dozens of individuals on a daily basis. They know what is coming up for sale and are able put deals together. That's how many homes are bought and sold in a hot seller's market, without a sign ever going into the yard. If you want to be the buyer positioned to make first and best offers on these homes, hire an agent.
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 liabilities have turned the home transfer into a complicated minefield. Realtors work with contracts daily, and can fully understand which points are harmful and beneficial to you. From helping you make a reasonable offer, to providing for the discovery and disclosure of material facts, your agent can also interpret information for you. If you found out the neighbor next door to the house you are buying just built a new fence, what does that mean? You won't have to replace the fence on that side for a long time. To your agent, it means something else. She or he will quickly get a survey ordered, to assure that the new fence doesn't encroach on your new property.
Your agent not only represents your interests but also works on behalf of the transaction. Does that seem like a conflict of interest? It isn't. Buyers and sellers are natural adversaries. You want to buy for the least price, and the seller wants the best price. Agents must be skilled negotiators to keep bargaining chips from turning into deal-breakers. As the buyer, remember that you are the one in control. You can instruct your agent how far to go in negotiations on your behalf. One day, you'll be glad your agent talked you out of walking away because the seller wouldn't leave the chandelier.
Realtors' services are somewhat negotiable. The more risk you ask your agent to take, the higher the fees will be, so the more your broker serves as your advocate, the more you can expect to pay. New ideas are coming to the real estate industry, which allow the consumer to pick and choose real estate services based on what brokers offer in the marketplace. Some offer only full service brokerage services. Others offer menu services and are paid accordingly. If you want to save some money, be prepared to pay more up front and shoulder some of the responsibilities yourself. Perhaps you found the home you want on your own, and you only want an agent to represent you on the contract and at closing. Some agents will accommodate you, but keep in mind that their liability may only be limited to the actual job performed.
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? 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, 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.