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® 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 sale REALTOR® again.
A REALTOR can help you determine how much home you can afford.
A REALTOR, in addition to knowing the local money market, also can tell you what personal and financial data to bring with you when you apply for a loan.
A REALTOR is already familiar with current real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities that could affect your decision to buy.
A REALTOR can research your housing needs in advance through a Multiple Listing Service--even if you are relocating from another city.
A REALTOR can show you only those homes best suited to your needs--size, style, features, location, accessibility to schools, transportation, shopping and other personal preferences.
A REALTOR is sensitive to the importance you place on this major commitment you are about to make. Look for a real estate professional to facilitate negotiation of a win-win agreement that will satisfy both you and the seller.
- Do you have the time, energy, sources or information, and contacts to do the job yourself?
- If you are one of the ‘do-it-yourself’ people, would the results be as good or better than they would be if you had professional assistance?
- Would it have gone smoother?
- Would it have given you more personal time?
- Would you have purchased far less, or sold for more, if a REALTOR® was involved?
Can a REALTOR® really help me in buying and selling property? The answer is YES.
When you’re ready to think about buying or selling your property, you need to ask yourself the following questions:
- Buying Real Estate: The process of buying a home or investment generally start with determining your home 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, they can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders—banks and mortgage companies—offer limited choices.
- Finding Properties: Once you know how much you can and want to invest, the next step is to find the properties that most nearly fit your needs. This is the time to choose a real estate licensee. When picking a real estate agent look for one who is a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® , a real estate trade association, and all members agree to abide by a 17 article Code of Ethics. A REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in that 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.
- Selecting: Your job is to make the final selection of the right property for you. This is when excitement and emotion run high. Your real estate agent can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of information 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?
- Negotiating: There are a myriad of 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 also 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.
- Due Diligence: With a negotiated agreement in hand, it is time to complete 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 to confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitation; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might problems at a later date.
- Financing: As soon as you are reasonably sure the property is right for you, the process of obtaining financing begins. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.
- Closing or Settlement: Finally, there is the closing, or settlement, as it is known in different parts of the country. Every area has its own unique customs. In some areas, the title or escrow company will handle this process. In other parts of the country, and attorney does it all. Again, your REALTOR® can guide you through this process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.