What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
When you go out looking for a new home, you probably have some ideas of what you want. It may be time for three bedrooms instead of two, or you want a modern kitchen, or a different neighborhood.
A real estate professional can help you find a home that suits your needs. More importantly, they can steer you away from homes with problems, trouble neighborhoods, and help you negotiate a great price.
You may think you can do most of your search by yourself, but as a buyer, there’s no reason not to use a real estate professional. The seller is paying the commission fee to their agent. Your real estate agent will bring their knowledge of the market and experience in transactions to keep you from making mistakes.
Your real estate agent knows the right places that meet your expectations. Before they start, they will meet with you to learn what you want, what your budget is, and help you sort priorities so you won’t waste time looking at properties that don’t meet your needs.
Real estate professionals know the market. They can show you homes that aren’t on the market yet or a home that has been on the market for some time waiting for the right buyer, and it could be you. For instance, there may be a home tucked away in a quiet meadow surrounded by beautiful trees, and it hasn’t sold for three years because it doesn’t have an ocean view. But it’s perfect for you and meets your criteria. Agents know these gems.
Your agent will know when a house is overpriced and why. If it fits your vision, the agent can help you negotiate for the right price.
Licensed agents have access to the Multiple Listing Services (MLS) which supplies listings for every property on the market. While you may find opportunities on real estate listing sites like Zillow, they aren’t always up to date. Your agent knows which properties are currently on the market, including ones you may not see on listing sites. You could get a call as soon as a new property that meets your criteria is listed.
Your agent knows what to look for. More importantly, they can steer you away from problems you may not see—furnace issues, leaks, roofing problems, and mold, and insect issues. Your agent will recognize telltale signs and know how to best approach them. This knowledge and experience can save you thousands of dollars now and avoid hidden costs in the future.
When it comes to the neighborhood, your agent can give you researched data about demographics, schools, crime rates, and other important details. That’s information at your fingertips, especially if you are moving to a new town.
Confidentiality, Privacy, and Fiduciary Responsibility
Your agent is legally responsible for putting your best interests first. They are held to a high standard of confidentiality. When you hand over your financial details, your agent is required to keep them secure. They can’t sell your information. Your agent also knows what information they can legally share with the seller who has no fiduciary responsibility to you. Everything else is confidential.
Once your agent knows your buying range, they will explain how showing work, the details of writing an offer, and the importance of a home inspection. Because of their responsibility, they want you to understand all the procedures entailed in buying a home.
With the fiduciary responsibility, your agent is obligated to get you the best possible price. Agents trained in negotiation skills. A seasoned professional will have years of experience to add to the training. They’ve been in the negotiation trenches. They know what works and what doesn’t work when negotiating a real estate transaction.
You have emotions tied to the successful outcome of your offer. Your agent knows how to present counter offers without losing their cool or getting into an argument.
For example, a seller may ask for $10,000 more, but your agent knows the bargaining chips that can save you from this extra (in your mind) expenditure.
Having a professional negotiator on your side can save you thousands, if not tens of thousands of dollars. It’s in your best interest to take advantage of these bargaining skills.
Attention to Detail
Once you have agreed on the price, there is a flood of documents involved in closing the real estate transaction. You’ll have pages and pages of semi-legalese to read. Your agent can walk you through the documents paragraph by paragraph explaining what each one means.
Your agent’s eagle eye will spot unnecessary clauses, restrictions, or demands “hidden” in those pages. They haven’t stopped negotiating. They will call these hidden paragraphs to your attention, ask your response, and advise you on whether to accept or reject any demands. Spotting these details can save you dollars, unnecessary agreements, or the ability to come back at the seller if they have been less than truthful.
Your agent is your safeguard against incomprehensible language.
Home Buying Simplified
While you may think that doing it on your own is simple, a licensed real estate professional will make the home buying process understandable and safeguard your interests. It’s their legal responsibility.
Your agent will take the time to know you, your family, your likes and dislikes, and fine-tune your search to the properties that will work best for you.
Your agent can save you time by eliminating houses with problems. They will help you understand any documents and negotiate for the best possible offer. The difference between doing it on your own and working with a professional can save you time and thousands of dollars.