In tough times, most people look to cut costs any way they can. And on a home purchase, who wouldn't want to save that extra 3 percent, an extra $3,000 for every $100,000 of sales price? That's typically what buyer's agents earn on real estate transactions, and most experts think it's money well spent.
It's true that anyone can buy a house, and even take a look inside, without formally signing up with a real estate agent. But unless he has the time to make home buying a part-time job, an agent could find him the perfect property much faster.
Say you want a pool. Or you don't want a pool. Or maybe you want a fenced-in yard for the dog or a basement playroom for the kids. If you're looking for something specific, a real estate agent is the person whose job it is to find out if there's a house that fits your needs, and he or she will hold your hand during the deal. Let's look at some of the top benefits of using an agent to buy a home.
10: Ethical consideration
Although not all realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), those who join the group agree to abide by a code of ethics. That code essentially stipulates that real estate agents deal with all parties to a transaction honestly.
According to the code, the real estate agent is obliged to put the interests of the clients before his own. He or she is also required to make full disclosure about problems with a property and to be truthful in advertising.
The code of ethics has some teeth; local boards governed by the NAR enforce the provisions. Penalties may include a $5,000 fine, a one-year suspension from the association, or a three-year expulsion. It is not clear how often this happens. Because enforcement actions are handled by local boards, no national statistics are available on penalties against realtors [source: National Association of Realtors].
9: Pricing Experience
Most real estate agents can price a home the moment they walk through the door. If they have a lot of experience in a market, they also know how well a neighbourhood holds its value.
While anyone can spend a few minutes online and get information on comparable home sales, real estate agents have the expertise to tell if a specific home is overpriced or under-priced. Ideally, an agent will have such a good idea of what she's looking for that they won't even waste her time scouring houses that don't work.
Agents can not only provide all the local home sales data you want to see, but they can also bring assets to the transaction that come from years of watching waves of transactions in the neighbourhood.
8: Request for repairs
Often the most delicate part of a real estate purchase involves the delicate dance of requesting repairs. A real estate agent will be able to identify problems you may not see, as well as refer you to a good independent home inspector who will provide a detailed report on the home's problems.
These reports can be dozens of pages long. Within all those pages, some issues are important and some are not. If the house is in reasonably good condition, repair requests can make or break a deal. The agent will have a good sense of what is reasonable to request and what is excessive.
In many cases, it is also up to you as the buyer. An agent can read the situation and suggest what would work for you. "Each buyer has a different tolerance for what he should do," says Elizabeth Mendenhall, vice chair of 2011 committees for the National Association of Realtors. "Some need [a house] to be in better condition."
7: Find available houses
Although most homes for sale with Naples Florida Real Estate
are widely available for buyers to review on websites, in some cases, sellers don't want the fact that they are selling to be widely publicized. In those cases, only real estate agents know that the houses are for sale.
"Sometimes people don't want to be actively advertised," says Mendenhall. "Maybe it's a more personal reason, that they don't want their neighbors or friends to know that their house is for sale."
5: The "purple room" phenomenon
In addition to the technicalities of a sale and the mistakes people can make on paperwork, real estate agents know neighborhoods and homes inside and out.
Mendenhall calls it the "purple room" phenomenon. If a buyer wants a house with a purple room, he says, the experienced real estate agent will know which house is for sale and has that room.
More generally, an agent will be aware of features that don't show up as well on the Internet. If a buyer is looking for a home with space that could be used as an office, an attached unit for the mother-in-law, or a room that's perfect for displaying a prized grandfather clock, a human agent is more likely to find a match. than a real estate website.
4: Negotiating without emotions
As sensible as you think you are, when you're fighting with a salesperson about adding a hose to the dishwasher because the water drains onto the floor, it's easy to lose your cool. Having an agent to write requests objectively and forward them to the seller saves you the hassle of getting too excited about the deal.
Let's say the seller won't budge on the dishwasher hose and you want to adjust your offer. The agent can also handle that part in stride. Experts advise that you let the agent take the lead in difficult negotiations.
The best way to make a deal is to look for the silver lining in every offer and counter offer, and never let the other party see your sour face. Often the most effective way to do this is to present the face that is doing business, not yours.
3: Code experience
If you want to buy a charming little house near a shopping district and turn the front parlor into a candle shop, you need to know if the city will allow it. Usually, an experienced real estate agent is familiar enough with local zoning ordinances to make sure you don't buy the wrong house.
Likewise, if you want to build a fence in your backyard or add a bedroom, an agent should be able to make sure you're buying a property where the city allows it. Also, some cities may require expensive upgrades on older when they are sold. For example, if a house is not connected to the city sewer system, and the buyer will need to spend tens of thousands of dollars to connect the property, the real estate agent will ensure that requirement is disclosed before the deal be very effective. far.
2: Comprehensive record keeping
Although real estate agents are not attorneys, they can serve as good resources years after closing a deal. In some states, licensed agents must keep complete files of all documents on all transactions for several years.
While you can (and should) maintain the files yourself, you can count on your agent to keep that information organized and protected in case problems arise with the property for years to come. You will also be able to contact your agent at any time in the coming years if you have questions about the property.
1: Avoid closing problems
As a sale nears closing, all sorts of cheating can ruin the deal in the final hours. A real estate agent knows to be on the lookout for problems before it's too late.
For example, the title of the house may not be clear; the title could list some long-lost relative who hasn't signed off on the sale. Or maybe the lender is causing a problem by not meeting the financing schedule.
"As closing approaches, you want to make sure there are no unexpected issues with the title, that the funding has come through, and that all the professionals involved are staying on task and on schedule," says Mendenhall. Real estate agents are used to dealing with these kinds of issues and can solve just about any challenge that comes up.
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