Why should you use a realtor to purchase a home?
I am sure many realtors provide this advice, but here's what I see as a national mortgage lender - and perhaps my opinion will seem less biased than that of a realtor.
- A realtor does not cost the buyer any money
- Okay, that's a fair reason; the reason I bring it up is that many homebuyers might assume that using a realtor will cost them something. The seller typically pays all realtor fees, both for the buyer's realtor and the seller's realtor (typically they split one fee between them
- You can search on your own while ALSO benefitting from the realtor's knowledge and experience
- Working with a professional realtor does not stop you from continuing your search; so remember that you can continue your own, independent search while also benefitting from your realtor relationship. In some states and some areas, you might be asked to sign an "exclusivity" agreement with a realtor - meaning that for a period of time, no matter which house you might purchase, you agree the realtor will be involved; that's a fair exchange if the realtor dedicates a lot of time and energy to you, so read and evaluate the agreement if you are offered one.
- A realtor really does have "more" houses than you would be able to find
- You might have access to MLS or other house listing services to do your own search; but in addition to knowing well how to use real estate tools, a realtor KNOWS the area and just might have seen a house which fits your needs perfectly but doesn't look as perfect on the seller's listing or pictures. Additionally, a good realtor will "get the word out" to other realtors so that more people know what your perfect house might look like, and they really do work together to help deliver your future home!
- Same price or better for the house
- I think this is one of the biggest reasons home buyers try to avoid realtors, perhaps using For Sale By Owner listings or even driving the roads to find random For Sale signs in front of a house which don't seem to belong to a realtor...believing they will save money if the seller does not have to pay realtor fees.
- A realtor will often know by searching various data sources as well as having worked the area, approximately what a house is really worth and also will be able to tell based on how long a property has been for sale and might even have some knowledge of who owns the house and how motivated they are to sell - which means lower offering price for you.
- Don't worry, a realtor is not going to raise the house price in order to make more commission; working to get you the best price and keep you happy is how realtors earn MORE business from your friends and acquaintances - if you refer one customer to your realtor as a result of your experience, they are much happier than earning a bit of extra fee during the purchase of your home.
- Last thought for this blog... Many times when one of my mortgage customers comes to me for a mortgage and they have a house and a contract but no realtor because it is "For Sale By Owner," and ask me what to do next - I say two things...
- One is to jointly (with the seller) select and enjoin a Title Company - the title company will help prepare a contract and ensure that all the required language is on it to best satisfy local laws and protections; and the title company will also facilitate the "research" and title insurance for the closing so that you will really own the home after signing and that nobody will show up stating that they have a lien on the house after you buy it.
- Second - I recommend a realtor. Of course, if there is already an agreement on a house, you might work out a reduced cost deal with the realtor. The realtor will guide you through the pre-closing procedures, suggest inspectors, discuss remedy options if the inspection shows some items which need correcting or fixing, and also point out a number of things to look for which might not have occured to you.
My recommendation is to find and "select" a realtor who you like, who works well with you and understands your needs and desires in a house. I believe you will save money, and find a happier home, by doing so!