Working with a trusted REALTOR® can help ease concerns & make the process to homeownership much easier to understand. Between the homebuying & mortgage process, there are 230 possible steps in what can be a complex transaction. With a REALTOR® on your side, you certainly don’t have to know them all to have a successful experience.
FOR SALE BY EXPERT
For 10 years, Myrna loved living in her ranch style home, but had reached the point in life where she wanted to travel more. She needed a home that was better suited for a lock & leave lifestyle. After researching other homes for sale in the area, she came up with a sales price and listed the home “for sale by owner.” Myrna encountered several challenges that made her rethink whether or not she was prepared – or knowledgeable enough – to sell without some help. She contacted a local REALTOR® who helped with staging, marketing & who managed all the showing appointments. The best part? Myrna sold for $31,000 MORE than she had thought, all because her REALTOR® knew and understood the market & was trained to identify features of her home that would fetch top dollar.
TOP REASONS TO HIRE A REALTOR®
Buyers & sellers are on separate sides of the fence when it comes to home sales. What one is trying to achieve is often diametrically opposed to what the other wants to see happen – the seller wants top dollar for their home while the buyer wants a bargain. Yet, they share the same goal… they want a sale. Whichever side your on & no matter your end goal, both sides can benefit significantly from hiring a REALTOR® to assist them through the process.
Consider this… as a seller, it may be tempting to save that commission and sale FSBO (for sale by owner). But studies show that FSBO’s fetch approximately 30% LESS than seller with REALTOR® listed properties. And you’re probably going to pay a commission anyway if your buyer is represented by an agent. As a buyer, why wouldn’t you use a REALTOR®? After all, sellers are paying the commission, not you.
Buyers usually have a pretty firm idea of what they want in their next home. They have a list of must-have & must-not-have’s that help the agent identify properties on the MLS (multiple listing service) that meet their needs. In addition, your agent will be alert for issue you may not think of, like furance issues, leaks & cracks, mold and insect issues. An agent will recognize telltale signs of these problems and know how best to approach them.
If you’re the seller, you know exactly how much you want for your home, but is the price reasonable? or worse, too low? A REALTOR® used research, market data and recent comparable sales that will confirm that you’re in the right range.
What are the neighborhood’s demographics? crime rate? best schools? A REALTOR® has current and reputable data and information on other important factors that would be time-consuming to find on your own. Their exerience & knowledge will save you thousands down the road.
The REALTOR® Code of Ethics refers to customs, values and practices a REALTOR® must adhere to. It’s also a measure by which their professional conduct and behavior is measured. Ethics are considered especially important when related to REALTORS® assisting consumers in real estate related transactions.
This code can be summarized in the golden rule: do unto others as you would like them to do unto you. REALTORS® must promote the interests of their clients first, while they remain obligated to treat all parties fairly and honestly. Agents should not mislead owners or buyers on the market value of a property or the savings they can make through their services.
The Code of Ethics is not the same as federal or state law in real estate. The Code usually requires a higher standard of practice that agents are expected to know and learn, and one that the public can rely upon.
You might not be a negotiation shark if you don’t happen to be an attorney, mediator, salesman… or real estate agent. A REALTOR® has a fiduciary responsibility to you to get the best possible price for your home & get the best possible deal on the property you want to buy.
REALTORS® are trained to negotiate well, if only from experience. They know what normally works and what does not. Most have tried & true techniques all their own. Most important, they have no emotional stake in the outcome that can cloud their judgement and thinking.
You, on the other hand, might be willing to come up with $10,000 more to purchase that home you HAVE to have, never realizing that it’s really not necessary because you possess certain bargaining chips – your REALTOR®. It’s just more money saved if you have an agent who prevents you from taking an unnecessary financial plunge.
ATTENTION TO DETAIL
You might be far out of your element when it comes to reviewing and understanding the many documents involved in a real estate transaction. Shouldn’t you have a thorough understanding of what you’re getting into regardless of whether you’re buying or selling? Purchase agreements alone can top 10 pages, not to mention federal, state and local document requirements.
Lucky for you, a REALTOR® will be far more familiar with all this paperwork that you. Those working on their own run a huge risk – as some mistakes or omissions in these documents can cost you as much or morethan that commission you were trying to avoid.
REPC, disclosures, due diligence, addendum, title – these are all documents that a REALTOR® has been trained to know and understand. Buying & selling is serious business that involves a lot of money. Let your REALTOR® be your guide.
PRIVACY & CONFIDENTIALITY
Your REALTOR® has your back whether you’re a buyer or seller. Agents have what’s known as a “fiduciary” responsibility to their clients. This duty imparts a very high standard for confidentiality.
As a buyer, do you really want to turn over your most intimate financial details to a FSBO seller who’s under no legal obligation to keep that information confidential? The same goes for turning any and all information over to a seller’s agent, who has no fiduciary responsibility to you, but only to the seller.
REALTORS® are obligated to keep all information private and not share it with anyone outside of your agent-client relationship. Doing so could weaken your negotiating power and be the difference between a sale or no-sale. REALTORS® who violate this obligation are subject to punishments imposed by not only the REALTOR® organization, but the state licensing body as well.
REAL ESTATE JARGON EXPLAINED
Buying & selling property is not something most people do everyday, and it’s not hard to be bamboozled by the terms used by your REALTORS®. Here is a jargon-busting A to Z glossary to put you in the know…
Asking price: The listed price of the property. The owner may be willing to negotiate so this may not be the selling price.
Bridge Loan: A short-term loan used to cover the financial gap between buying and selling.
Buyer’s Market: When the demand for property is less than the supply of property the advantage shifts to the buyer.
Certificate of Title: A description of a property that includes the name of the registered owner and any encumbrances such as mortgages and easements. This will be included in the contract of sale prepared by the vendor’s solicitor.
Commission: A proportion of the sale price (generally a percentage) of a property paid to real estate agent for negotiating the sale.
Contract of Sale: An agreement in writing that details the terms and conditions with regard to the sale/purchase of a property, also known as REPC (real estate purchase contract).
Conveyancing: Traditional term for the legal work involved in the purchase and sale of a property.
Deeds: Legal title documents proving ownership. The deeds will be held by the mortgage lender.
Deposit: A percentage of the purchase price given at the time of exchange or winning bid at auction to bind the sale. It’s usually around 10 percent of the purchase price.
Easement: A right that someone has to use the land that belongs to another. An example is a water authority having a sewerage easement.
Fittings: Objects that can be removed from a property without causing damage.
Fixtures: Items such as built-in cupboards, stoves, dishwashers, etc, which are fixed to the property and cannot be removed without causing damage.
Joint tenants: A form of co-ownership that gives each tenant equal shares in the property.
Listing: A written contract between an owner and a real estate agent, authorising the agent to perform services for the sale of the owner’s property.
Market value: The price at which a seller is happy to sell and a buyer is willing to buy.
Semi-detached: A property which is joined to another house.
Settlement: The sale of a property is finalised by the legal representatives of the vendor and the purchaser and the new owner takes possession of the property.
Valuation: A written analysis of the estimated value of the property prepared by a qualified valuer.
Zoning: Local authority guidelines for the permitted use of the land.
Of course, there are lots more real estate and legal terms you will come across when purchasing property which is why it’s always advisable to get legal advice before making any commitment.