Today, as a result of the internet, the amount of information one has access to has never been greater. Perform a simple Google search and at a click of a button, you’re connected to deep informational resources on almost any subject matter imaginable. Moreover, with the help of the internet, tasks that were once solely the responsibility of professionals can now been done at home by anyone, trained or not. Think about tasks like planning one’s vacation, buying airfare tickets, buying stocks or planning one’s retirement – these are all things that people with internet access can now do on their own, in the comfort of their own home.
But, here’s the thing – doing everything on one’s own, without any outside guidance, is not always the best approach. Consider the task of planning for one’s retirement, for example. There is no doubt as to the kind of positive impact that a professional financial manager or financial broker can make in the task of saving and investing for one’s retirement. After all, financial professionals are specifically educated in how to invest for retirement and have specific knowledge and expertise on the subject that members of the general public do not have. And that makes a big difference.
Indeed, the same can be said when considering the topic of buying or selling a home. Licensed REALTORS® are trained professionals who have the specific knowledge, expertise and experience to help guide a real estate transaction, such as buying or selling a home, to successful completion. And when you are talking about buying or selling a home, which is often the largest financial transaction people will make in their lives, one that potentially involves hundreds of thousands of dollars, it’s extremely important that buyers and sellers receive all the trained assistance and guidance they can from a professional and licensed REALTOR®.
The benefits that REALTORS® provide are fairly numerous. But, I’d like to highlight four that I think are particularly important and that also happen to outline the major steps buyers take during the home buying process.
Understanding What Kind of House You Can Afford
Understanding what your budget is when it comes to buying a house fundamentally shapes which houses you as a buyer will be looking at. As it turns out, budgeting how much house you can afford involves a lot of factors. Now, of course, many listing sites offer handy mortgage calculators, and yes, those calculators may be useful in order to gain an initial ballpark understanding of what price range you should be looking at.
But, a REALTOR®’s knowledge and expertise can help in gaining a more accurate and more concrete idea of what kind of housing price fits your budget. Consider property taxes, mortgage insurance, other forms of insurance such as flood and fire, closing costs – these are all factors that play a large role in determining a final budgetary outlook, all of which a licensed REALTOR® can advise on.
Gaining Access to Unlisted Homes
Yes, there are the MLS listings and, yes, there are continually updated housing listings online found on sites like realtor.ca and Trulia. But, that does not mean that every house on the market is being actively advertised. There are houses for sale that are unadvertised, and there’s a good chance that your REALTOR®, with his or her contacts and knowledge of the neighborhood, will know about some of these unlisted homes. And who knows – one of those unlisted homes may turn out to be your dream home.
Negotiating the Final Purchase of Your Home
Negotiating is not an easy skill, especially when you’re talking about negotiating the purchase of a house. When coming to an agreement on the final sale of a home, there are so many factors that need to be considered besides just the purchase amount. Things like financing terms, the actual date of possession, and inclusion or exclusion of fixtures & chattels, furnishings and inspections in the purchase price.
REALTOR®s are not only knowledgeable in every part of the home purchase process, they are also highly experienced and trained in negotiating the sale of a house. REALTOR®s work to negotiate the best deals for those that they represent, be it a seller or buyer; moreover, on a more granular level, REALTOR®s know all the paperwork required by the buyer and seller to make the sale of a house final and legal.
Delivering Guidance on Due Diligence
Make no mistake about it – for a buyer, doing due diligence on a prospective home is absolutely crucial. No one wants to buy a home only to discover that it’s infested with termites or has faulty electrical wiring. Inspections for mold, dry rot, asbestos, roof condition and well tests – these are all things that may be involved in order to perform adequate due diligence before purchasing a home. And REALTOR®s can not only advise on how much and what type of due diligence to perform, they can also help connect buyers with professionals in the area. Moreover, to return to the last point, REALTOR®s may have the opportunity to negotiate some of the costs of doing diligence to be included as part of the price of the home.
In the end, although I only highlighted four benefits in this article, the advantages that buyers and sellers enjoy through being a represented by a licensed and experienced REALTOR® are really quite numerous. And if you consider the number of satisfied people who have been represented by REALTOR®s in the past, it can be fairly easily seen that REALTOR®s are well worth the commissions they earn.