Probably the largest single purchase that an individual will make in their lifetime is buying a house. It amazes me how many people will spend hundreds of thousands of dollars without getting the professional advice of a realtor. It costs nothing to work with a reputable agent who can guide you through the complicated process of buying a home, and quite possibly may save you considerable money and stress in the end.
Selling a house can be more stressful than buying a home, and sellers can be quick to sacrifice using the services of a professional, to avoid paying a commission. A home owner needs to wear many hats in order to sell a home effectively. They need to have a good sense of design, as the house has to be show worthy; they need to be marketers and pay for the expensive ads required to merchandise their home; they need a good working knowledge of the real estate market, as the selling price needs to be realistic (not too high or too low); and there are legal concerns that must be dealt with as well. This is a complex process, and you don't want to sacrifice getting the best price for your house or becoming involved in an unnecessary legal battle, due to lack of experience.
Here are a few ways you can benefit from working with a realtor:
Professional Experience: You could stumble through your house transaction; learning as you go, or you can tap into your agent's knowledge and professional experience. Let them assist you by walking you through the buying and selling experience, ensuring that you are meeting your goals, discussing your financial options and advising you of your legal rights and obligations. If they don't have all the answers, they can quickly direct you to the person who does.
Pricing: This is their business, a professional agent is aware of the current market, when the best times are to buy and whether you are paying a fair price. When selling a house, they will provide you with comparative studies to ensure you are selling your house at the best price for your market.
Networking: Drawing on a realtor's networking resources can be an invaluable tool for a prospective home buyer. Through dealings with other realtors, they may learn about new properties coming up, or get little known facts for the buyer that the seller has not divulged.
I remember shopping for my current home; it was perfect, but the owner was selling it along with a parcel of land, and as a result, it was out of my price range. My agent discovered that the seller had three previous deals that had fallen through due to lack of financing, and may consider an offer on the house, minus the property. This strategy worked; I got my dream house, for a lower price than I expected, and the seller sold her house and soon after, her parcel of land. This turned into a win-win situation for everyone, thanks to the advice of a good realtor.
Marketing: A professional realtor will look after marketing your home by providing signage, placing ads in the local papers, advertising on the internet, submitting your property to a Multiple Listing Service and organizing open houses. They will often take detailed photos and/or videos of every room for viewing on the internet. A reputable agent, with an effective web site, often has a regular following of prospective buyers viewing the site.
A good realtor will also advise you on home improvements before you sell; how much is too much, and what sort of return you'll get for your renovating dollars. They can give you valuable staging advice and provide simple tips for improving the showing of your home.
Negotiation Skills: Probably most important of all, is the realtor's role as negotiator on your behalf. The goal is to sell your home quickly, for the highest price possible, and they work closely with you to complete this process. This also includes providing the legal contracts and negotiating offers and counter-offers.
If not executed properly, what may seem like a simple real estate transaction can turn into a nightmare. Anyone who has experienced this understands the importance of using a professional agent to protect their assets and guide them through the sale or purchase of their home. Let your agent work for you to ensure your new home transaction is a positive one.