People often ask us, “why should we hire a Realtor?” They often feel that they may be able to sell their home themselves through the internet, or through advertising channels such as newspapers and magazines. At the other end of the spectrum, they think they can buy a home by attending open houses or communicating with sellers on their own. While this is definitely possible, people who represent themselves often run into many struggles, which may include taking a longer time to sell, taking a longer time to find the right property, an inability to negotiate the best deal possible, improperly drafting and understanding purchase agreements, and many other potential problems.
Education & Experience
One of the biggest benefits of hiring a Realtor is education and experience. Realtors are educated about the nuances of real estate, and develop experience through their involvement with real estate and through working with industry colleagues.
REALTORS® are Buffers
Whether you are buying or selling, a Realtor acts as a buffer by looking out for your best interests. If you are a seller, a Realtor will field calls from potential buyers or their representatives, and when the time comes, negotiate with them on your behalf. If you are a buyer, a Realtor will look for a home that fits your needs and wants, arrange showings, communicate with the seller or their representatives, and negotiate on your behalf.
Agents either possess intimate knowledge or they know where to find the industry buzz about your neighborhood. They can identify comparable sales and provide these facts to you, in addition to pointing you in the direction where you can find more data on schools, crime or demographics. For example, as a hypothetical, you may know that a home down the street was on the market for $350,000, but a Realtor will know it had upgrades and sold at only $285,000, after 65 days on the market, and after two pending deals fell through.
Although realtors do not select prices for buyers and sellers, a Realtor can help provide guidance when determining prices, and can provide as much data as possible to help educate you as a buyer or seller. Realtors often have much more information through professional resources available to them, than is available to the general public.
Market Conditions Information
Realtors have tools and perform research to determine market conditions, which can help you during the buying or selling process. Such information includes average price per square foot, median and average sales prices, average days on market, etc. which will help you through the decision making process.
Realtors often network with other industry professionals, or with professionals with whom you will need to work when you buy or sell. Through networking with other Realtors, they can often check to see if they have any off-market properties that fit your needs as a buyer, or if they have any clients for your property as a seller. In addition, they can provide a list of references for professionals such as lawyers, condo document reviewers, inspectors, etc. to help you through the process.
Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality
Understandably, emotions play a big role in buying and selling real estate. One benefit of having a Realtor is that they can remove themselves from the emotional aspect of buying and selling a home. Realtors are professionals who are trained and experienced in addressing their client’s real estate needs, and do so with their client’s best interest in mind. In addition, Realtors are professionals who have a duty to hold all client information confidential, which is especially important during negotiations.
As a buyer or seller, you may have a lot of questions before, during, and even after the transaction. This is another way in which your Realtor can assist. A Realtor has the necessary knowledge and experience to answer questions you may have about the transaction, which may include neighbourhood information, property information, closing procedures, and important steps to take on or after closing day. Remember that the relationship does not end after the transaction is complete. You can always reach out to your Realtor after possession day, if you have questions about things such as warranty, references for trades (landscapers, locksmiths, alarm monitoring, etc.), or any other questions that may come up.
A real estate transaction comes with a lot of paperwork. Not only is there a lengthy purchase contract, but there are also many other documents such as waivers, notices, amendments, addendums, etc. A Realtor can assist you with this, as they deal with these sorts of forms regularly, and can easily explain everything to you. In addition, you may need to request other documents such as condo documents from the proper parties, or get the necessary documents to your lawyer for closing. A Realtor can assist you with this as well, typically with the support of their brokerage.
Overall, our biggest suggestion is to find the right personality. There is no specific definition or guideline in finding the right Realtor, but you should find a Realtor with whom you are comfortable.. You need to find a Realtor that you feel is a good fit for your situation, holds the necessary education and experience, and one with whom you have chemistry. Do not be afraid to ask questions or seek reasons for their opinions. Your property is one of the biggest assets that you will hold in your lifetime, and it is important that you choose the right professional to help you through the buying or selling process.