Shopping for a new home whether you are renting or buying can be a big undertaking and one that may leave buyers/renters with not only a lot of questions, but a bit of anxiety as well. When it comes to working with a Realtor, people generally want to know three things – if they really need one, how much will it cost, and how to find one they can trust.
What Do Realtors Do Anyway?
First, what exactly do Realtors do? A Realtor will work with you to help you narrow down your needs in a home, provide neighborhood information and educate you on the market conditions in your target neighborhood. After identifying suitable homes, your agent will schedule appointments to tour the homes with you. When you select a home, the realtor will prepare and submit the contract and assist you through each step through closing.
Now, let’s answer those three common questions.
Do I really need an agent?
The purchase of a home is a complex transaction. While a Realtor can’t give you legal advice, they will be able to explain your jurisdictional sales contract and the various disclosures that you will be signing as they manage these transactions every day. Also, although you can search independently for homes online, Realtors often share inside information with each other on homes coming to market, which could help you gain an advantage later.
When it’s time to make an offer, your Realtor will advise you on pricing strategies, complete and present your offer to the seller’s listing agent, and negotiate on your behalf. Once your offer is accepted, your Realtor will recommend inspection companies, help you identify repairs to ask the seller to complete and negotiate these items for you as well. When all inspection issues are resolved, your Realtor will ensure the title company and your lender stay on schedule and have all the proper documents to ensure a smooth closing.
For tenant’s, your Realtor will assist you in finding a home and communicate with the landlord or property manager on your behalf. You will essentially get all the perks available to a home buyer including formal representation and professional advice from someone with local knowledge and an understanding of your unique needs. Since rental properties in today’s market are in high demand, high quality units are commonly receiving multiple offers. A Realtor can often provide strategies that may help you land the rental you want.
How much will it cost?
The use of a Realtor is no cost for buyers or renters. For buyers, the seller pays the commission for both the seller’s agent and the buyer’s agent. On average this ranges from 5-6% of the home’s sales price, which is split evenly between both Realtors. For renters, the landlord pays the renter’s agent commission and it is often equal to one or two month’s rent.
How to find a Realtor you can trust
First, you should know that all Realtors are agents, but not all agents are Realtors (though most are). Realtors are those who have completed comprehensive training on the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Code of Ethics, which protects sellers, buyers, landlords, tenants. Thus, the behaviors of Realtors are held against a standard they are required to uphold while assisting you in your transaction. Beyond this, just like retaining other service providers, you’ll need to determine whom you feel most comfortable with based on your needs.
Working with Me
If after we meet or chat by phone, you decide you’d like me to assist you with your home/rental shopping, here are a few quick tips to know about the process and things to consider.
- All buyer agents represent the seller until a written agreement is signed by you and me called an Exclusive Buyer Agency Agreement. This will describe the terms of our working together, my compensation (from the seller/landlord) and solidifies that from that point forward I represent only you and your interest. I give all my clients an opportunity to terminate this agreement if any any time they are unsatisfied. The agreement itself should be in place before we visit homes together or after the first showing at the latest.
- I’ll always reach out to listing agents and landlords on your behalf. For buyers, if you find a home you like online, be aware that the listing agent is under a written agreement and working in the seller’s best interest. For tenants, while this is not as firm of a standard, it’s still to your benefit if I manage these communications as well. Let me do the work for you!
- Your expectations are important to me. Whether you prefer, text vs phone vs email, your preferred methods of communication, hours of availability for showings, etc. are all important things to share with me in the beginning so I can best meet your expectations and preferences.
- Know if you are ready to buy. If you are on the fence about whether you want to buy a home right now or whether you want to apply for a mortgage, you don’t need a Realtor right now. You can visit open houses independently, continue to search online, etc. When you decide you’re ready, I’d be happy to connect you to one of my many lender partners based on your needs if you don’t already have a preferred lender.
For home buyers, the purchase of a home is a major and complex transaction with legal implications that impact not only your rights, but your financial interests. It’s best to use a Realtor who is experienced in real estate transactions to guide you through the process and do the heavy lifting for you. Likewise, tenants can also benefit from professional representation and it can save you valuable time as well. I’m passionate about helping people reach their real estate goals and I pride myself on finding creative ways to give my clients an edge. Feel free to call, message me or send a text to discuss how we can partner to put you on your path to a fabulous new home!