Why Use a REALTOR®?

All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR "®" logo on their business card and other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treating all parties in a transaction honestly. REALTORS® 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.

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people will make in their lifetime. Transactions today generally exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the minimal upfront cost and the large downside risk, it would be unwise to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®.

6 Important Reasons to Use a REALTOR®

Financial Items

Fiduciary Responsibility

When you work with a REALTOR®, their fiduciary responsibility is to you. That means you have an expert who is looking out for your best financial interests, an expert who’s contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you. That’s big — the value of that commitment cannot be overstated. “For more than 100 years, REALTORS® have subscribed to the NAR’s strict Code of Ethics as a condition of membership,” says National Association of REALTORS® President Gary Thomas. “REALTORS® have the expertise and experience to help sellers protect their investment and help buyers build theirs.”

Gavel and Law Book

Complex, Ever-Changing Real Estate Eegulations.

Buying or selling a home is not like purchasing a plane ticket. Every home is different, and laws change every year and vary from state to state. Generally speaking, people purchase a new home every 7-10 years, and a lot can — and usually does — change between transactions. REALTORS® are immersed in real estate, and they must stay current with all the updates in regulations, laws, contracts and practices. Once you retain your REALTOR®, they put that knowledge to work for you.

House at Night

Help Finding the Right Home, Beyond Square Footage and Baths.

Browsing online is a terrific way to start a home search — in fact, almost 90 percent of people start their home search online But when it’s time to buy, knowing all the pros and cons of a property can help you make the right decision. REALTORS® live and breathe real estate, and they can share information about a home that you wouldn’t otherwise know. For example, they can tell you about the perils of polybutylene piping (a plumbing material that’s prone to bursting), or the concerns with FRT plywood (a roofing material that can spontaneously combust in higher temperatures, like those in attics). Your REALTOR® can go beyond the aesthetics and tell you important details about homes you’re considering.

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Pricing and Selling a Home

There are lots of sites where you can view price estimates for your home before you list it for sale, but you take a risk using them. In some markets, online estimates can be off by as much as 35 percent, and they often rely on tax records and data that can be as old as 6-12 months. REALTORS® know the local market, have access to the freshest sale data, and can price your house in line with the market to maximize your earnings. In 2012, sellers using an agent got $40,100 more: The median sale price for the 88 percent of sellers who worked with an agent was $215,000, versus a median sale price of $174,900 for the 9 percent of sellers who didn’t use an agent.

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Contracts and Negotiations

Finding the right home is the fun part. Then the real work begins: Today’s contracts can be 50 pages long — not counting addendums and riders. REALTORS® can help you navigate these complex documents and craft an attractive offer that makes sense for you. Plus, when it comes to negotiation, your REALTOR® is your advocate and can bring an objective voice to a very subjective situation.

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Following a Code of Ethics

When you work with a REALTOR®, you’re partnering with a professional who operates according to a strict code of ethics. In place for over 100 years, the REALTOR® Code of Ethics ensures that consumers who work with a REALTOR® are treated professionally and ethically in all transaction-related matters.

But if you're still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR®, here are a dozen more reasons to use one:

-- that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders -- banks and mortgage companies -- offer limited choices.

Your REALTOR® has quick access to multiple databases and information streams and they have they experience and knowledge to research and find properties that you might otherwise miss.

Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, parks, floodplains, landslide zones, etc. There are two things you'll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

There are a myriad of negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.

Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.

our REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.

These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

Often, your REALTOR® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of your property. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.

There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing -- a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).