Why Use a REALTOR®
Your real estate transaction represents one of your most valuable investments. It makes sense to hire a professional. A REALTOR® will offer professional representation to both buyers and/or sellers and protect the financial interest of their client. All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS ®are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly and subscribe to a strict code of ethics, and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.
Act as an expert guide. Selling a home typically requires a variety of forms, reports, disclosures, and other legal and financial documents. A knowledgeable real estate agent will know what's required in your market, helping you avoid delays and costly mistakes. Also, there’s a lot of jargon involved in a real estate transaction; you want to work with a professional who can speak the language.
Offer objective information and opinions. A great real estate agent will look at your home with an unbiased eye, providing you with the information you need to enhance marketability and maximize price. Agents are also a great source for potential buyers who have questions about local utilities, zoning, schools, contractors, and more.
Deliver property marketing power. Property rarely sells because of advertising alone. A large share of real estate sales come as the result of the listing agent's contacts with other industry professionals, previous clients, and others in their sphere.
Give you a sense of security. Risk is a fact of life. To minimize it, real estate agents follow protocols to ensure their own safety, as well as the safety and security of you and your property. A professional agent will prescreen prospects and accompany qualified prospects through the property. They'll also help educate parties about how to prevent fraudulent dealings, such as wire fraud, that can put sales at risk.
Stand in your corner during negotiations. There are many factors up for discussion in any real estate transaction. A real estate professional will look at offers from your perspective, helping you navigate the fine points to ensure you're meeting your objectives.
Ensure up-to-date experience. Most people sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each sale. Even if you’ve sold a home before, laws and regulations change. Real estate practitioners may handle hundreds or thousands of transactions over the course of their career.
Be your rock during emotional moments. A home is so much more than four walls and a roof. For many owners, selling a home means saying goodbye to the place where cherished family memories were made. Having a concerned but objective third party helps you stay focused on the issues most important to you when emotions threaten to sink an otherwise sound transaction.
Provide fair and ethical treatment. When you're interviewing agents, ask if they're a REALTOR®, a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Every member must adhere to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism, serving the interests of clients, and protecting the public. When you work with a REALTOR®, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters.
How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job? Like most professions, experience is no guarantee of skill. But much of real estate is learned on the job.
How many homes did you and your real estate brokerage sell last year? This will touch on how much experience they have, and how up-to-date they are on the local market.
What designations or certifications do you hold? Real estate professionals have to take additional specialized training in order to obtain these distinctions. Designations and certifications help define the special skills that an agent can apply to your particular real estate needs. One designation sellers might for is the CRS®, or Certified Residential Specialist, but there are also specialists for military customers, seniors, and those who are considering a short sale, among others.
How many days does it take you to sell a home? How does that compare to others? The REALTOR® you interview should have information about their performance on hand and be able to present market statistics from their local MLS to provide a comparison.
What’s the average variation between your initial listing and final sales price? This is one indication of a REALTOR®’s pricing and negotiating skills.
What specific marketing systems and approaches will you use to sell my home? Your agent should have an aggressive, innovative plan and understand how to market property online.
Will you represent me exclusively, or might you also choose to represent the buyer? While it’s usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, your REALTOR® should be able to explain his or her philosophy on client obligations and agency relationships.
Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs, and so on? Practitioners should be able to recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with any of the providers.
How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction?The best answer here is a question. A real estate agent who pays attention to the way you prefer to communicate and responds accordingly will make for the smoothest transaction.
Could you please give me the contact information of your three most recent clients? Ask their former customers if they would use the agent again in the future.
The term “agency” is used in real estate to help determine what legal responsibilities your real estate professional owes to you and other parties in the transaction.
The buyer's representative (also known as a buyer’s agent) is hired by prospective buyers and works in the buyer's best interest throughout the transaction. The buyer can pay the agent directly through a negotiated fee, or the buyer's rep may be paid by the seller or through a commission split with the seller’s agent.
The seller's representative (also known as a listing agent or seller's agent) is hired by and represents the seller. All fiduciary duties are owed to the seller, meaning this person’s job is to get the best price and terms for the seller. The agency relationship usually is created by a signed listing contract.
A subagent owes the same fiduciary duties to the agent's customer as the agent does. Subagency usually arises when a cooperating sales associate from another brokerage, who is not the buyer’s agent, shows property to a buyer. The subagent works with the buyer to show the property but owes fiduciary duties to the listing broker and the seller. Although a subagent cannot assist the buyer in any way that would be detrimental to the seller, a buyer customer can expect to be treated honestly by the subagent.
A disclosed dual agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same real estate transaction. In such relationships, dual agents owe limited fiduciary duties to both buyer and seller clients. Because of the potential for conflicts of interest in a dual-agency relationship, all parties must give their informed consent. Disclosed dual agency is legal in most states, but often requires written consent from all parties.
Designated agents (also called appointed agents) are chosen by a managing broker to act as an exclusive agent of the seller or buyer. This allows the brokerage to avoid problems arising from dual-agency relationships for licensees at the brokerage. The designated agents give their clients full representation, with all of the attendant fiduciary duties.
A transaction broker (sometimes referred to as a facilitator) is permitted in states where nonagency relationships are allowed. These relationships vary considerably from state to state. Generally, the duties owed to the consumer in a nonagency relationship are less than the complete, traditional fiduciary duties of an agency relationship.
Tax benefits. The U.S. Tax Code lets you deduct the interest you pay on your mortgage, your property taxes, and some of the costs involved in buying a home.
Appreciation. Historically, real estate has had a long-term, stable growth in value. In fact, median single-family existing-home sale prices have increased on average 5.2 percent each year from 1972 through 2014, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. The recent housing crisis has caused some to question the long-term value of real estate, but even in the most recent 10 years, which included quite a few very bad years for housing, values are still up 7.0 percent on a cumulative basis. In addition, the number of U.S. households is expected to rise 10 to15 percent over the next decade, creating continued high demand for housing.
Equity. Money paid for rent is money that you’ll never see again, but mortgage payments let you build equity ownership interest in your home.
Savings. Building equity in your home is a ready-made savings plan. And when you sell, you can generally take up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple) as gain without owing any federal income tax.
Predictability. Unlike rent, your fixed-rate mortgage payments don’t rise over the years so your housing costs may actually decline as you own the home longer. However, keep in mind that property taxes and insurance costs will likely increase.
Freedom. The home is yours. You can decorate any way you want and choose the types of upgrades and new amenities that appeal to your lifestyle.
Stability. Remaining in one neighborhood for several years allows you and your family time to build long-lasting relationships within the community. It also offers children the benefit of educational and social continuity.