Do you need a Doctor to set a broken bone?
Do you need a Dentist to pull a rotting tooth?
Do you need a Lawyer to represent your case in court?
Do you need a REALTOR when you buy a home?
While technically the answer to all of these questions is NO, you should still consider the consequences of acting on this answer before making a decision.
We typically rely on medical experts like Doctors and Dentists when something is wrong with our health. This is because we only have one body, and when we’re in pain we want an expert to fix the problem correctly. Because these medical professionals have gone through extensive training to provide the best care we are willing to pay large amounts of money to ensure the quality of our care. Technically we could sew up our own gashes and pull our own decayed teeth, but there would be a lot of pain, and no guarantee that the procedure was done correctly.
Lawyers and Accountants have similar specialized knowledge that we rely on when we’re in a pinch. If we get involved in a legal case or tax audit we once more fall back on the experts who know the law to keep us safe. We could spend the time necessary to find all the legal loop-holes and case-laws that apply to our situation ourselves, but many defer to the experts. Presenting your own case, or completing your own tax audit, can be done; but using an expert increases the chance that you’ll come out on top.
Real estate transactions don’t have the same physical pain associated with a medical emergency, but relying on an expert is still sound advice. A home purchase may be the most expensive purchase of your life, and could even cost more than that doctor or lawyers bill. But while you only visit the doctor or lawyer when you’re in trouble, you visit your home nearly every day. Some people say you don’t need representation when buying a home. Or they say to use a friend or family member who dabbles in real estate so the money goes to someone you know. But would you trust a part-time doctor with your medical care? Or a blacksmith whose pulled a few teeth in his time with your mouth?
Not all real estate agents are the same. Some simply have a license which means they’ve taken some classes and paid some fees. Realtors are different. They subscribe to a code of ethics the ensure you are protected in your transaction. The term Realtor is a registered trademark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
Here are 9 reasons why it pays to work with a Realtor when you buy a home.
Reason #1 – Experience
When you use a Realtor you have an expert to guide you through the process. Buying a home requires disclosure forms, inspection reports, mortgage documents, insurance policies, deeds, and multi-page settlement statements. A Realtor has the knowledge and experience with these documents to help you navigate the paperwork quickly and efficiently to avoid delays or costly mistakes.
Realtors have done it before, and they will do it again. Most people buy and sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with quite a few years in between each purchase. Terms change and procedures for marketing and drafting contracts are updated frequently. Even if you’ve done it before, laws and regulations have probably changed since your last purchase. A Realtor handled hundreds of real estate transactions over the course of their career. This experience keeps their skills sharp and their know-how up to date.
- Ask your agent how many transactions they’ve done. How many this year? How many over the course of their career?
- Ask for proof! Agents can make-up any number so make sure you ask for proof. With the local MLS agents can quickly search all their recent transactions and show you were they were, when they sold, and for how much.
Reason #2 – Objectivity
When you are looking for a home your emotions play an important role, as they should. But these emotions can cloud other issues surrounding the purchase. Realtors can provide objective information about the local community, utilities, zoning, schools, and more. They can also help point out objective information about the property itself. A professional will help you answer these two important questions:
- 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?
Buying and selling a home is emotional. A home often symbolizes family, rest, and security — it’s not just four walls and a roof. Because of this, home buying and selling can be an emotional undertaking. For most people, a home is the biggest purchase they’ll ever make. Having a concerned, but objective, third party helps you stay focused on both the emotional and financial issues most important to you.
Reason #3 – Find Homes
A Realtor can help you find the best property out there. Sometimes the property that best fits your needs is available but not actively advertised on the market. Or even worse, maybe you found a home that matches your needs on Zillow or Trulia, but it isn’t really for sale. A Realtor will have access to the most accurate and updated list of homes available, and may know about listings that have not come on the market yet. Neighborhood Experts are especially adept at finding properties in your area before they are publicly listed on the internet.
Reason #4 – Negotiation
You can benefit greatly from an expert Realtor’s negotiating experience. You are not just negotiating the price of the home when you make a purchase. You also need to negotiate financing, terms, dates, repairs, inclusions / exclusions, as well as furnishings or equipment. With each purchase you have time to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your Realtor can help with this process and help you know when and how to get out of a purchase if you find something wrong.
Reason #5 – Lingo
Real estate has its own language and your Realtor can act as your translator. You may not know a CMA from an RPA, or FHA from HUD, but you can be confident that your Realtor does. As a professional who is immersed in the industry, they knows the language and how to keep you informed.
Reason #6 – Marketing
Property marketing power. Real estate doesn’t sell due to advertising alone. In fact, a large share of real estate sales comes as the result of a practitioner’s contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, and family. When a property is marketed with the help of a Realtor, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your Realtor will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
Reason #7 – Ethics and Protection
Ethical treatment. Every member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS makes a commitment to adhere to a strict Code of Ethics, which is based on professionalism and protection of the public. Some brokerages, such as goBE, hold their agents to an even higher standard of professionalism and service. As the customer of a Realtor, you can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. It is mandatory for Realtors to take the Code of Ethics orientation and they are also required to complete a refresher course every four years.
Can you buy a home without an agent? Yes. But I wouldn’t recommend it.