Why Use A Realtor?

All real estate licensees are not the same.  Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly 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®

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 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® again.

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 REALTOR®.

But 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 or required.

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.  A REALTOR® will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

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).

Consumer Satisfaction

Buyers and sellers give high marks to real estate agents for the expertise and professionalism they bring to the real estate transaction.

According to the 2003 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, in the ultimate sign of satisfaction, more than 70 percent of agent-assisted sellers and 74 percent of homebuyers said they definitely would use the same agent again in future transactions.

Almost 86 percent of sellers chose a real estate agent to sell their home in 2003; only 14 percent sold their home themselves.

In 2003, more than seven out of ten homebuyers used a real estate agent in their home purchase.  Almost 60 percent of buyers say they expect real estate professionals to help them find the right house to purchase.

More than nine out of ten homebuyers in 2003 said their real estate agent's knowledge of the purchase process was very important, and more than four out of five homebuyers were satisfied with the knowledge and expertise of their real estate agent.  More buyers—86 percent—used a real estate agent as a source of information in their home search than they used the Internet (65 percent).

Today, homebuyers and sellers need real estate professionals more than ever to guide them through the complexities of the transaction.  Information technology puts a wealth of information about real estate on consumers' desktops, and most consumers turned to real estate professionals to interpret it.

Even with so much real estate information so easily available through the Internet, more and more consumers are turning to real estate professionals to assist them in the transaction.  In fact, home buyers who use the Internet to shop for a home are more likely to use a real estate professional (78 percent) than traditional home buyers (68 percent), according to the 2003 Profile.  Real estate professionals are moving from being the providers of information to being interpreters of information.

Less than a decade ago, a home could be bought with a two-page contract. Now consumer-mandated seller's disclosures, environmental and structural reports, and other legal documents have made home transfer very complicated.  The typical sale of a home today involves more than 20 steps to complete the transaction. Real estate professionals work with contracts daily and understand how they affect the interests of their clients and customers.

Consumers continue to find value in having a real estate professional help them through the home buying and selling process.  The wide variety of services real estate professionals provide are proving ever more valuable in real estate transactions, especially in light of new financing twists and sales contract intricacies.

Code of Ethics:  A Commitment to the Public

The Code of Ethics of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is the promise to the public that when dealing with a real estate agent that is a REALTOR®, they can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. Only REALTORS® pledge to abide by the Association's Code of Ethics and only REALTORS® are held accountable for their ethical behavior.

Some of the basic principles of the Code of Ethics include:

  Protect and promote your client's interests, but be honest with all parties.
Avoid exaggeration, misrepresentation, and concealment of pertinent facts.  Do not reveal facts that are confidential under the scope of your agency relationship.
Disclose present or contemplated interest in any property to all properties.
Avoid side deals without your client's informed consent.
Accept compensation from only one party, except with full disclosure and informed consent.
Keep the funds of clients and customers in escrow.
Assure, whenever possible, that transactional details are in writing.
Provide equal service to all clients and customers.
Be knowledgeable and competent in the fields of practice in which you ordinarily engage.  Obtain assistance or disclose lack of experience if necessary.
Do not engage in the unauthorized practice of law.

Courtesy of NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
 

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