Whether you are shopping for a home or looking to sell your current home, you will need to consider all of your options. You can work with a real estate agent, or you can attempt to navigate the process on your own. Some people believe that a real estate agent is simply an overpaid person who tours you around neighborhoods, unlocks doors, and comments on paint colours. The reality is that my job is much more extensive than that.
Here are just a few value-added benefits of hiring a professional real estate agent:
Marketing and Matchmaking
When you put a house on the market, you need people to see it. If you approach this by attempting to sell your home on your own, you may face some significant challenges. Outside of classified ads and online real estate websites, options for individual homeowners to market to potential buyers are limited. As a real estate agent, I have the connections, experience, and a continual database of buyers looking for homes to help you sell your home faster. As an aside, pricing your home accurately is of paramount importance.
An undervalued home will sell quickly in this marketplace. This often leaves you wondering if you could have in fact gotten money more for it – not the best feeling in the world once the ink has dried on the contracts. In the alternative, overpriced homes tend to sit on the market much longer, with very few showings. If a home is not being shown, it is not going to sell. Showings bring offers. Typically, the longer a home sits on the market the less attractive it is to potential buyers. Sellers attempting to go it alone will sometimes stigmatize their homes for no reason, simply by overpricing it. In this case, they usually end up with much less money in their pocket than they would have otherwise had, had they just paid for professional representation from the onset.
If you do decide to attempt to sell your home yourself, also keep in mind that you will be responsible for the open houses, showings, and all aspects of facilitating access by yourself. Constantly running home to let buyers in for showings can quickly become a real drag. Real estate agents use a secure lockbox system which lets them know exactly who has accessed their listings, and at what times of the day. They can even set it up so you know when someone has accessed your home.
Permits, Title Registrations, Disclosures, and other Legal Concerns
When you buy a home, there are certain contracts and legal procedures you will have to deal with. Do you know where to obtain all of the appropriate title registrations? You are not only buying a building structure, but also assuming the majority of the registrations that are attached to that specific piece of land. Which ones are there indefinitely, and which ones will be discharged at closing? What exactly is a Caveat, an Encroachment, or an Easement? Are there any problems with where the property is located, or within the buildings which sit on the land? Is your home located on a utility right of way, or a sewer corridor, or in a flight path of an airport? Do the neighborhood controls allow you to execute the exterior renovations you are planning? Were the permits pulled when the basement was finished?….as you can see…the list of checks and balances can be quite extensive, and most people do not realize how much information needs to be ascertained behind the scenes of a transaction. A real estate agent can help you answer all of those questions, and working together with other industry professionals, provide you with peace of mind that you are in fact making a sound investment.
On the flipside, if you are listing your home, exactly what disclosures are you responsible to make about the property? Has your home ever been used as a grow op, a crime scene, have there been deaths in the property? Do you need to disclose the giant crack in the concrete wall behind the insulation in the basement? Are there wasps, mice, or other pests that frequent the home? Since you have you painted over and “repaired” that water damage in the ceiling, do you need to disclose it was ever an issue? While some of these queries border on legal questions, your agent can also offer some good advice in this regard, working together with other professionals specializing in these fields to help minimize liability issues for you and protect you in the long run.
Whether buying or selling a home, your local real estate agent can be a great source of initial information and ongoing assistance. I am willing to bet when all is said and done, you will be really glad you made that first phone call.