Help for Home Buyers and Home Sellers
Using a Realtor is a great way to buy or sell a home!
If you are thinking about buying or selling a home, you may believe that you do not need a Realtor. Although it is true that you may be able to handle the basic transaction yourself, are you sure that you know everything necessary to handle it correctly? Are you taking all the necessary steps to protect yourself from being sued? Are you getting the best price possible? If you are a seller, has your property been exposed to the maximum number of potential buyers? If you are a buyer, have you had the opportunity to see all the available properties in your price range? If you are uncertain about the answer to any of these questions, then getting help from a Realtor may save you a great deal of time and money.
REALTOR SERVICES FOR BUYERS:
The Realtor that you select has the responsibility to represent you to the best of his ability. In most cases, when a buyer uses a Realtor there is no charge for the service. The single exception to this is when a buyer uses a "Buyers' Only" real estate company, where the buyer pays a fee directly to their Realtor. However, in the vast majority of cases, the Realtor's fee is paid by the seller as part of the commission that the Seller has agreed to pay his own Realtor. Therefore, the Buyer's Realtor receives no compensation until he has satisfactorily assisted the buyer in finding a home that meets his needs. The Realtor does not get paid until the transaction is closed. All the time that the Realtor spends talking with you and driving you around in his personal auto is at his own expense.
One of the services that your Realtor may provide is to help you find a mortgage lender who will pre-qualify you for a loan. Once both you and your lender know the price that you are comfortable paying for a house, they will show you all the homes in that price range that appear to meet your needs. For example, if you really need a three bedroom home, they won't be showing you one bedroom condos. Your Realtor will also assist you in evaluating the homes you look at. Does one home cost more, but it is in a better school district? Does another home sound like an especially good deal, but it backs to a busy street? Does one house need extensive repairs or remodeling to meet your needs? The Realtor will help you take these facts into consideration when you decide which property will most closely work for you and your family.
The Realtor will also usually give you printed flyers listing the amenities, room sizes, and other important facts about each home. These flyers may even show some photos of the property. It is often helpful if you, also, take photos of anything of particular significance to you … an especially grand master bath, or a terribly cramped kitchen, for example. These photos will help you remember specifics about the homes when you are trying to make up your mind.
Once you have found the home that YOU want, the Realtor will help you decide how much to offer. They will handle the negotiating for you. They will help keep you on track during the escrow period … making sure you meet the contract deadlines for inspections, loan approval, etc. In addition, most Realtors have office staff who will double-check your contract, to help insure that everything has been completed thoroughly and correctly.
REALTOR SERVICES FOR SELLERS:
The Realtor that you select to list your home has a responsibility to represent the Seller to the best of his ability. In most cases, the Realtor is not paid anything until your home is sold. Meanwhile, all the time and money he spends on flyers, advertising and showing your home to potential buyers is at his own, personal expense. Therefore, it is in the Realtor's best interest to do everything possible to see that your home is sold, and that it closes successfully.
From the very beginning, your Realtor will help you prepare your home for sale. The Realtor may suggest that you pack up excess decorative items, so your home has a clean, uncluttered appearance. He may make simple suggestions for rearranging your furniture, or suggest some minor home repairs. Your Realtor may also take you to look at other houses in your price range, so the two of you can decide the best price for your home. You want to have one of the three or four nicest homes in your price range, if you want to be successful in making a sale. That means, if you would like to ask $400,000 for your home, but there are dozens of larger, newer or better located homes that are also priced at $400,000, you may need to go look at some homes that are listed for $375,000. If you believe that your house is nicer than most of the homes that are listed for $375,000, potential buyers will probably think the same thing. You must be unbiased and realistic. Pretend you are a buyer. Which price range is going to make your home stand out?
Once you have priced your home correctly and prepared it for sale, your Realtor will begin to promote it. He will list it on the local MLS, or Multiple Listing Service. As an added bonus, in many areas, this means that potential buyers from all over the country will be able to find your house listed on the internet, when they put in their search criteria. Depending on your community, your Realtor may also put up a sign, put out flyers and advertise your home in the local newspaper. Some Realtors may want to do open houses. Be sure to lock away all your valuables and prescription drugs. Remember that strangers will be walking through your house and looking in closets and cabinets during an open house! Not all of them are going to be trustworthy.
Once you have received an offer, your Realtor will handle the negotiations for you. After you and the Buyer have reached agreement, the Realtor will see that the contract has been completed correctly, and that the buyers have not asked for anything unusual. Your Realtor will help you meet all your deadlines, and will make sure that the Realtor working with the buyers meet all his contractual obligations, as well. The staff in your Realtor's office will also check the contracts and make sure that everything is handled legally and correctly.
REALTORS PROTECT YOU
The bottom line is that Realtors are there to provide you with advice and the maximum exposure possible to potential listings or buyers, as well as give you another level of protection from unscrupulous people. Of course, you will also want to read all the presented documents carefully, and ask plenty of questions. However, your Realtor is someone who will have done this many of times before, and they will use their expertise to provide you with all the assistance within their control. If you're thinking of buying or selling a home, I hope that you won't try it alone. Using a Realtor may make this complicated transaction a little safer and easier for you!
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