As the housing market continues to provide opportunities for buyers and trauma for sellers, the temptation to go it alone is strong. People on both sides of the equation think they can save money by doing it all themselves. While this strategy works in some situations, there are seven good reasons why hiring an experienced Realtor can be a smart financial decision.
1. A Realtor understands you.
It’s the Realtor’s job to listen to what you say. Every buyer and seller has a wish list. But the savvy Realtor will also read between the lines and know the difference between “have to have” and “nice to have.” He or she will not waste your time showing you homes that are out of your price range or preferred area. If you’re a seller, the realtor will not bring you a buyer who’s unqualified or otherwise unsuitable for your property.
2. A Realtor is a teacher and a coach.
When you start working with a Realtor, his or her first step should be to educate you. What are the market trends? What’s selling (or what’s not)? The volatility of today’s market means that circumstances are changing on a daily basis. A good Realtor keeps up with trends, prices, and regulations. He or she knows how much of that you need to know and keeps you informed. When the actual purchase process begins, the Realtor will guide you through the tricky maze of offers, counter-offers, and the fine points of negotiating that can add dollars to your bottom line.
3. A Realtor is a trained negotiator.
You walk in the front door and you’re in love. It’s the perfect house, the prettiest yard—even the dog will love it. Someone needs to keep a clear head here, and that’s what Realtors are trained to do. They practice their negotiating skills on a daily basis, which you probably do not. A good Realtor will see that you pay a fair price for your dream home. From the seller’s point of view, the Realtor can protect you from making costly mistakes, like the impulse to accept the first offer you get, fearing you may never get another. Realtors provide a critical buffer between sellers and buyers.
4. A Realtor sees things differently, including the house.
If you’re selling, the Realtor will advise you how to maximize your home’s potential with a coat of paint, a vase of flowers, or a bit of landscaping. If you’re buying, the Realtor may help you see the Cinderella potential in an Ugly Sister bargain of a house. In either situation, the advice of a good Realtor can put extra dollars in your pocket.
5. A Realtor knows the territory.
Realtors generally work within the boundaries of a limited market—a neighborhood, an area, or a town. Or they may specialize in a specific type of property, such as condos, single family homes, or historic properties. They know what’s currently on the market. They know what’s new, what just sold, and for how much. They can advise sellers on setting an attractive listing price and coach buyers in making a reasonable offer.
6. A Realtor is a skilled interpreter.
Have you seen the mountain of paper that is produced by a single real estate transaction? Are you really going to read all that, and if you do, will you understand it? You’re dealing with purchase agreements, disclosures, and a dozen other things required by state or federal laws. A good Realtor knows what each document says and even more important, what it means. One mistake could cost you thousands. The Realtor will keep you from missing a critical step, and will see that everything is signed, sealed, and delivered on time.
7. A Realtor puts you first.
A home is quite likely the priciest asset you will ever own. Whether you are buying or selling, it’s bound to be an emotional experience. The Realtor has a duty to protect your interests, first and foremost. The Code of Ethics of the National Association of Realtors says: “When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, Realtors pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client.”