When you purchase a home, a REALTOR® or real estate agent can be a vital part of the process. You may be able to navigate a home purchase on your own, but the complexities involved with home buying often necessitate a real estate professional’s experience and up-to-the-minute housing market knowledge.
An experienced real estate professional can help you locate the right home, assist you in making a reasonable offer and provide a number of other valuable services as well.
Can You Buy A House Without A REALTOR®?
Hiring a REALTOR® or real estate agent isn’t a legal requirement, but real estate transactions can be tricky. They require insight about the market and an understanding of the ins and outs of all processes, all the way up through closing. A real estate professional can ensure that your interests are protected from start to finish.
REALTOR® Vs. Real Estate Agent
The terms “REALTOR®” and “real estate agent” are often used interchangeably, but there are slight differences between the two titles.
A real estate agent is a professional who has passed the necessary licensing examinations to be a real estate agent in their state. REALTORS®, on the other hand, are real estate agents who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). They’re held to a strict code of ethics to protect the interests of clients, cooperation between brokers and more. REALTORS® must hold a valid real estate license, be active in the market and have a clean professional conduct record.
Look for credentials in your real estate professional such as Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR) or Certified Buying Representative (CBR). You can also look for a real estate professional who holds a real estate broker license, which means they’ve gone above and beyond in their education.
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Why You Should Buy A House With A REALTOR® Or Real Estate Agent
REALTORS® and real estate agents act as a neutral third party to provide unbiased support to whomever they’re representing. Here are some of the benefits of using these real estate professionals.
They Have Real Estate Expertise
Real estate professionals are trained in every aspect of home sales, from the initial search to closing, so you’re able to tap into their knowledge. They also possess advanced search tools to show you all the houses available in your area. They may know these available properties inside and out and can help you hone in on homes that meet your specific wants and needs.
They also bring market data to the table, including the average per square foot cost of similar homes in the area, the median and average sale prices, and how long properties have been on the market and why.
Real estate professionals are especially helpful in a competitive real estate market. They know what a strong offer looks like, and conversely, what could land you on the bottom of the offer pile.
They Protect Your Interests
No matter how much research you do, certain steps can end up costing you if you aren’t thoroughly educated about home buying. Your agent or REALTOR® can keep you informed about the process and advise you through home inspections, loan financing and appraisals. They make sure that contingencies protect your rights to back out of any deal. Contingencies are conditions that must be met before a real estate contract is legally binding.
Real estate professionals also keep your best interests in mind during the offer stage; they’re a level-headed source of information.
They Save You Time
Time is money in the real estate game. If you’re juggling work, family and house-hunting, an agent can be a lifesaver. Finding the home of your dreams takes dedication and work beyond just looking at listings on your computer screen.
Your real estate professional can schedule showings for the properties you like based on your schedule. If you look at numerous houses in a certain area, they can book back-to-back showings to maximize the amount of time you spend out and about.
Real estate transactions also require plenty of paperwork. Agents can reduce the time it takes to get paperwork completed, go over important aspects of each document and help you meet strict deadlines.
They Do Your Bidding For You
Home purchases aren’t always smooth sailing. Sometimes issues come up that may require concessions on the seller’s part. This can happen when making an offer, after the inspection or before closing. Your real estate agent or REALTOR® acts as the neutral middleperson and can raise any concerns you have to the seller. Without a real estate professional, it’s up to you to address the issues with the seller, which can be a delicate situation.
They Know Your Local Area
Local professionals have deep knowledge of their market, which can be extremely helpful as you search for your home. They know the demographic makeup of the area, school rankings and crime statistics. They also know how long houses have been on the market and why a seller may be motivated. They often learn about properties before they’re listed, which can give you an edge in a competitive real estate market.
They Provide Stability During An Emotional Process
Buying a home can be emotional whether you’re a first-time or repeat buyer. It’s possible that emotions could cloud your judgment when you’ve found a home that you want at all costs, and that’s where the real estate professional comes in. Your agent doesn’t have any emotional ties to a property and can provide objective and unbiased views of the situation. If it’s a bad deal, a good agent may try to offer you sound advice.
They Have Contacts In The Field
Your real estate agent can recommend lenders, home inspectors and other professionals you may need to make your home purchase successful. This can save you time and money so you can focus on finding the right home and moving in.
How To Find A REALTOR® Or Real Estate Agent
It’s a great idea to find an agent after you’ve been preapproved for your mortgage. Once you know how much house you can afford, you can start searching for someone to help you find a property that meets your loan requirements.
It’s important to vet real estate professionals and make sure they’re the best match possible for you. Ask family, friends and coworkers for referrals or check online review sites for leads. The Lender Exchange can put you in touch with a local agent or REALTOR® who knows your area well, too.
Make sure to interview potential candidates before you commit. Inquire about their experience, local market knowledge and success stories. An experienced professional will be able to tick off a list of current homes for sale and provide demographics and information about the schools and community during the initial meeting. A good real estate professional will have your back through the process and should have testimonials to prove it, plus credentials.
Finally, make sure your personalities work well together. You may be spending plenty of time with this person, so choose someone you like.
If you’re looking at part-time agents, ask about any schedule restraints. Try to avoid dual real estate agents, who represent both the buyer and seller in a transaction. This could present a conflict of interest, so it’s often better to use an exclusive buyer’s agent.
When it comes to purchasing a home, some hand-holding from a real estate professional can go a long way. As you search for your dream home, avoid any opportunities to make mistakes. An experienced real estate professional guiding you through the process helps ensure that you achieve homeownership without costly hiccups.