As a Realtor, people often ask me why someone would pay me a lump sum of money to sell their house for them when they can just sell it themselves. “Why,” they ask, “do I need a Realtor?” After all, they claim that the market is booming once again and that all they have to do is put a For Sale sign on their front lawn and buyers will come flocking.
Some sellers may say that with an upswing in the real estate market there are enough buyers in the marketplace that they don’t need a Realtor to usher them in. However, Realtors do more than just bring buyers to houses and open doors; there are many steps involved in the sale of a home.
There are usually two Realtors involved in a real estate transaction. There is the Realtor who represents the seller, otherwise known as the seller’s agent, and the Realtor who represents the buyer, known as the buyer’s agent. In short, each agent owes a duty of loyalty and confidentiality to the party whom they represent. There are instances in which, with written consent, one Realtor may represent both the seller and the buyer. In that case, that person would be referred to as a dual agent. In addition to his or her duty of loyalty and confidentiality, a dual agent would be barred from taking any action to the detriment of either party.
Realtors Can Market. The first priority of the seller’s agent is to market the home. Contrary to public belief, it does take more than just placing a sign in the yard to bring a buyer. When I list a home for sale I design a specific marketing plan for that property. This includes but is not limited to internet advertising, print advertising, and notifying other Realtors, surrounding neighbors and my personal sphere of influence. All of these advertising venues would be very costly, and some of them would be inaccessible to an unrepresented seller, but they would be included in the package when listing their home for sale with a Realtor.
In conjunction with this, a buyer who is not represented may not learn of their dream home until it is too late. If a house is priced right and located in a popular and desirable neighborhood, it tends to sell before it is able to be advertised publicly because of the lead time to get published. An active Realtor will tell their buyers about new listings without delay.
Realtors Can Close. A Realtor is also useful in successfully negotiating and closing the deal. When selling a home there is an Agreement of Sale involved in which many terms and conditions need to be addressed. A Realtor will work on behalf of their client, whether it is the seller or the buyer, to achieve, amongst other things, a mutual sales price and settlement date. In determining an appropriate price for a house a Realtor will be able to provide information about comparable sales in the surrounding area. This is extremely helpful for a seller who wants to receive the maximum price possible, as well as for a buyer who wants to purchase a home for fair market value.
A Realtor will also assist in arranging for property, wood infestation, mold and radon inspections. Upon completion, the results of such inspections may need to be negotiated by a Realtor.
Another very important aspect of the Agreement of Sale in which the Realtor will be of assistance is the buyer’s mortgage. Somebody selling a home themselves may not know how to navigate all of the mortgage nuances, and an unrepresented buyer may not know how to find a suitable mortgage company. Having a Realtor satisfactorily handle all of these items will help relieve some of the stress involved in making such a large purchase.
Once any differences have been worked out and the deal is considered done, it is still not complete until settlement has occurred. A Realtor will follow up with the title company to make sure that, for example, there is clear title, the use and occupancy certificate is ordered, and all taxes are paid for and properly adjusted. If all of this is done ahead of time, it will result in a smooth, friendly and quick settlement, thus making the entire transaction from start to finish all the more pleasurable.
Realtors Can Relate. Lastly, your Realtor will, in all likelihood, become your friend. While searching for the ideal home, you and your Realtor will spend countless hours together in the car. During this time, you usually learn a lot about each other and your respective families, and you build a relationship with one another. Your Realtor should be someone whom you can trust. A home is the largest purchase you will make and can certainly be very emotional, especially for first time homebuyers.
I have adopted the philosophy of always doing my very best to market and sell a home as quickly and profitably for the seller, and to never sell a home to a buyer that they won’t love living in. Where a person lives influences their life. As the old adage goes, “Home is where the heart is.”