Buying or selling a home is a complex and emotional process. While you do not need to have a professional on your side, a real estate agent’s expertise, knowledge, and experience, can transform your home journey. It’s their job to represent your best interests and ensure that your homebuying or selling experience is a success. With so much at stake, the key is to take the time to research and find an agent you trust. That way, you can make confident and informed decisions around one of life’s biggest assets.
Learn how to find an agent you trust, their role, and what you can expect from the relationship, below.
What is a Realtor or real estate agent?
Realtors and real estate agents are licensed real estate salespeople, who have to follow a particular set of standards and regulations in order to do their job. A Realtor belongs to the National Association of Realtors, the largest trade group in the country, whereas a real estate agent is licensed according to the laws and standards of the state. You can always confirm with your agent what type of licensing they have.
Do I need a Realtor?
A Realtor or real estate agent is vital in supporting and guiding you as you make important decisions at each phase of your real estate journey. There are multiple factors to consider when buying or selling a home. While you may have family or friends willing to offer advice from their own experiences, having the input of an outside professional, like your agent, can prove invaluable in ensuring you act in your own best interests and make the most out of the transaction.
There are extensive resources online regarding buying and selling homes. An agent can communicate the information that is relevant to your unique situation and guide you through the process. An agent also has connections to other important real estate professionals, such as inspectors, lawyers, and title officers, whom they can leverage to ensure you have a seamless experience.
Plus, most agents make themselves available when you need them — even if that means working evenings and weekends on your behalf.
How to find a real estate agent you trust
While the discovery phase of homebuying can be fun, there’s a big step between aspirational browsing and putting in an offer. Your agent can connect you with a lender to get preapproval on a loan, as your first step. This will give you a much better understanding of what you can afford.
Once you’ve determined your budget, your area of interest, and important features you’re looking for in your new home, it’s time to start touring. In a competitive market, where inventory is low, time is of the essence. Your agent can help you find active listings that match your needs and preferences — as soon as they hit the market or even before.
A real estate agent can tap their large network of connections to give buyers access to exclusive homes that aren’t listed yet. They work with other agents, developers, and community leaders to help their clients stay on top of the market and find the right home.
They will also be able to connect you with other real estate professionals required at later stages of the homebuying process, such as lawyers and inspectors. With an agent you don’t have to source other professionals yourself, and you can feel confident that you’re protected contractually and financially as you make your investment.
When you’re ready to put in an offer, your agent will advise you how much you need to offer to win the deal. They will use comparative data to determine the market value of a property and work within your budget to ensure you can afford the home and get the best deal. The agent also puts together the paperwork and negotiates on your behalf with the seller, before finalizing the closing. The agent will factor in any specific contingencies you have and ensure you are protected in the terms of the contract.
How a real estate agent helps sellers
Most homeowners use a real estate agent to sell their home. While there are Realtor fees associated with using a professional, it ensures you maximize your home sale.
The selling agent’s first role is to determine the correct list price for your home. The agent will price the home based on their knowledge of the market and similar home sales in the neighbourhood, to ensure it’s competitive but not underpriced.
They will then market your property to generate as much interest as possible. They will manage everything from preparing the home for sale, arranging great photography, spreading the word on multiple channels, and conducting tours.
Once there’s an offer on the table, the agent will confirm the buyer is qualified and negotiate the best terms. They will take the lead on all the paperwork and legal requirements, so that you’re protected and can sell with confidence. If there are multiple offers, they will advise you on which one to take.
They will manage the entire closing and ultimately, help you get the best price for your home.
If you’re looking for a real estate agent to work with you on buying or selling a home, OJO can connect you with a local expert, here.