real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees
who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are
allowed to be called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR
"®" logo on the business card or other marketing
and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all
parties to 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®
Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial
investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions
today usually 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 small upside
cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider
a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a
if you're still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR®,
here are a dozen more reasons to use one:
1. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power
-- 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.
2. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your
home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is
available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will
take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.
3. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by
providing objective information about each property.
Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational
resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information
on utilities, zoning. schools, 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?
4. Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate.
There are myriad 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
5. Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation
of the property. 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.
6. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different
financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.
7. Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process
and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
8. When selling your home, your REALTOR® can give you up-to-date
information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price,
financing, terms and condition of competing properties.
These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best
price, quickly and with minimum hassle.
9. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate
agents and the public. 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.
10. Your REALTOR® will know when, where and how to advertise
your property. 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
11. Your REALTOR® can help you objectively evaluate
every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position.
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.
12. Your REALTOR® can help close the sale of your home.
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).