It’s a commonly heard phrase that buying or selling a home is the largest financial decision most Americans make. True. But is it reason enough to use a REALTOR®’s services in every buying and selling transaction? The truth is the financial considerations only scratch the surface. Limiting your thinking to just dollars and cents shortchanges what a professional REALTOR® brings to the table.
Think about this, a typical American home buyer moves every seven to 10 years. Are you well-trained on the nuances of anything you do only once a decade? Think about the number of changes in laws, regulations, market conditions and common practices that occur in any industry within a seven to 10 year window. Real estate is not immune to changing dynamics, at all. To make the most of any real estate transaction in an environment where so much is changing, you need the services of someone who lives and breathes it every day – someone who is trained, continually educated and bound by a Code of Ethics. You need a REALTOR®.
The Role of Data and Websites
One aspect of real estate that has changed fundamentally over the last decade is the abundance of available data. A multitude of websites list homes for sale with photos, virtual tours and detailed descriptions of properties. Nowadays you are inside the home without ever leaving your computer or mobile device. There is no doubt this innovation has brought vitality and attention to the industry. And it’s fun! It’s fun to search for properties, check out the photos and imagine where your furniture will go. But finding the right property online takes a lot more than the casual searching that takes place today. The true history of a property can’t be found on consumer-facing sites that may or may not be accurate. If you are more than the casual looker and need accuracy, you need more than estimates and guesses based on outdated tax data. And you need to know that the home you have fallen in love with online hasn’t already sold. REALTORS® participate in listing services that tell the whole story. And most importantly, a REALTOR® helps you interpret data and evaluate homes one by one based on a careful examination of your needs.
The Art of Negotiation
Finding a home or finding a buyer is only half the story. Whether you are the buyer or seller, once you enter into a purchase agreement, a new phase begins. Appraisals and inspections need to be scheduled, findings need to be interpreted and reviewed and a new round of negotiations unfolds. The details involved in getting a home from an accepted offer to the magic words of “cleared to close” are immense. Your REALTOR® shepherds you through that process and negotiates on your behalf all while maintaining fiduciary responsibility to YOU.
Details, Detail, Details…
A few years ago, a group of REALTORS® in Florida compiled a detailed list of all the duties a REALTOR® performs to sell a home. From listing to closing, the list grew to a staggering 184 individual duties, some of which needed to be performed multiple times. Attention to each step is needed for a successful closing. If you ever wondered how hard your agent will work for you, take a look at the list.
The REALTOR® you choose to work with doesn’t live out of state, communicate with you only by email and text and examine the market from afar. Your REALTOR® is with you every step of the way, evaluating your needs, matching you with the best housing options by personally showing you the properties, pricing your home to create maximum value and bringing prospective buyers to you.
Your REALTOR® lives and works in your community, maybe even in your neighborhood. Your REALTOR® cares about your community because he or she lives there too. Their kids go to the schools and they access the same parks, trails and nearby shopping you do. They know your neighborhood and many others – it’s their job, let them do the best possible job for you.