Let’s take a journey into the jungle…
You’re all alone, with little food, water, and a small flashlight. You only have a few days to make it hundreds of miles on foot. Your supplies might get you through the first couple days, but who knows what dangers will find you on this journey. Now, this example might be a tad to the extreme, but how much easier would the jungle be to get through if you had an experienced guide that knew where the fresh water was and what paths to stay off of to avoid danger? Much easier, right?!
Think about it like this: you’re ready to downsize and sell your home, or your family is growing and you need more space. Do you go at it completely alone and rely just on Google? No way! Using a licensed realtor is one of the best decisions you can make during these processes. While this transaction isn’t nearly as dangerous as the jungle, there are some key points to be made aware of that can save you time, money and headaches.
Realtors go through schooling and annual updates to stay on top of any contract form changes, new laws, and innovations in technology. Full-time agents are in the business 24/7, so they know how to handle each step of the transaction, from showing you homes to negotiating contracts, all while keeping you as a buyer or seller within the timeline of inspections, appraisals, etc. They know all the ins-and-outs.
The Search: Save on Time and Tours
The most notable reason a seller doesn’t list with a realtor is to save money. Here are some reasons why a realtor on the selling side will most likely save you in the long run:
- Realtors look at the market every single day. They look at homes daily, so they know what a home's true value is and what buyers are willing to pay for it. This can be crucial in a seller’s market where homes that are priced at market value are selling more quickly.
- Realtors use a multi-list service (MLS) that has precise information about active and pending houses on the market. Most buyers pull their market knowledge from this database. If your listing isn’t both listed by a realtor and on the MLS, you might be missing most of your market and it could take longer to sell, meaning more mortgage payments coming out-of-pocket.
- A good listing agent will hire a professional photographer to take pictures and do more than just stick a sign in the yard. For example, here are some more creative options a photographer could offer to display your home:
- Drone-recorded video: a great option for rural properties.
- Virtual tour: another tool to capture the floor plan of the home so buyers can see it before they even step foot inside.
- Agents know how a buyer wants to see a home, so they will offer tips on how to make things look less cluttered, clean and home-y.
The Purchase: Landing the Right Home at the Right Price
Buying a home can be just as stressful as finding one, so let’s examine the reasons why having a buyer’s agent is crucial to a successful transaction:
- Buyer’s agents show homes daily and know exactly what their buyers look for. If you had an illness, you'd want to go your family doctor because they know you and have your history. It’s practically the same with a buyer’s agent. An agent knows exactly what you want and need, and will preview homes on the buyer’s behalf to save you time.
- They know the inventory and can detect urgency in a market, much like the one we’re experiencing now. Agents also know what home values are sitting at and will make sure you are buying the right home at the right price. Most “for sale by owner” homes are listed above market value and an agent will protect you from making a bad purchase.
- Buyer’s agents know the timeline on when inspection requests are due (a very important step in the home buying process) and will keep you within the boundaries to avoid getting sued for breaching contract.
- Good realtors communicate with all parties at all times to solve problems or simply make the process smooth and seamless. This is important when working with a listing agent, lenders, title company, etc.
Ultimately, having a written agreement with a licensed realtor is the key to a successful transaction when buying or selling a home. A realtor becomes the middle man and negotiates on behalf of you, whether you're the buyer or the seller, and is contractually obligated to look out for your best interests and to maintain confidentiality.