Do I really need a Realtor?
While a lot of people may want to use the internet to search for a home, having an experienced Realtor on your side can make the home buying process a lot smoother. The home buying process can be complex and you probably want it to be as easy and painless as possible. If you are mortgage ready, then your next step should be finding partners to work with; this includes finding an experienced Realtor.
Working with a Realtor can save you time and money. Realtors are experts in the market that they serve and most will focus on one or two areas of a city. This gives them first-hand knowledge about things like taxes, utilities, schools and what grocery stores are in an area. A good real estate agent creates relationships in the area they work in so they have in depth market knowledge. They know what houses have sold for in the past and what the future of an area will be. If you had to research all this information on your own it could take you days and you probably still would not know all the intimate details of a neighborhood that an experienced realtor will know.
Our society moves so fast and most of us barely have time to use all our vacation time. With what little time most people have it makes sense to find a Realtor that will work to streamline the home buying process. Your Realtor will listen to your wants and must-haves, then present homes to you that fit your specific needs saving you weeks of searching. Realtors are adept in spotting needed repairs and red flags like a termite infestation. Realtors that have experience usually have an arsenal of professional contractors that they use and recommend. If you find your dream home and it does not have a fence or needs a new roof there is a good chance that your Realtor can recommend a professional that can help you figure it out. They can also negotiate the price of a home for you and good one is not intimidated to do so.
Now that we have discussed why you should use an experienced Realtor let’s talk a little about how to find one. Whenever you speak with a Realtor it is important to understand who they are representing. Unless there is an agreement between the buyer and the licensed Realtor that the Realtor is to represent the buyer, the Realtor is not necessarily beholden to look out for your best interest. If a Realtor is representing the seller, they are legally bound to work for the seller’s best interest – NOT the buyers. Once you have decided on the Realtor you want to work with, there should be an agreement that the Realtor will be representing you as your agent, often in writing. Be sure that you and your Realtor are on the same page about expectations, source and amount of commission (which is negotiable), timing, who the Broker is, and what will happen if you choose to purchase a property that your Realtor is also the listing agent for.
All Realtors should provide you this notice, it is helpful in understanding the different roles an agent might play in the transaction.
As a best practice, we recommend you interview at least 3 Realtors. Here is where you can start:
- Ask friends and family for recommendations. Most people will happily share the contact information of a Realtor that found them their dream home.
- Search on line for reviews of the realtor.
- Email the Realtor and ask them:
- How long have they been a real estate agent - Experience counts in the real estate industry. Buying agents that have experience negotiating prices and navigating through all the paperwork can help streamline the home buying process.
- What neighborhoods they specialize in - Remember, it is probably best to choose one who specializes in the area you want to live.
- What their availability is - A good real estate agent will tell you that real estate is 24/7. And, while you may not need your agent at 2AM on a Tuesday morning, you will want to be able to reach them if you hit a roadblock in your path to home ownership.
Once you have the answers to these questions you can narrow your search to a couple of realtors to meet in person. You will want a realtor that shares your vision. And remember, a real estate agent is not necessary a realtor. A Realtor is a professional member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to its strict code of ethics.
Avenue now has a Realtor Referral Network! If you would like help finding a great real estate agent to help you find your new home, call Avenue to schedule an appointment with one of our First-Time Homebuyer Counselors! You'll discuss your wants and needs and our staff will refer you to an experienced Realtor with the right expertise . To schedule an appointment call 713.864.9099