We recently had a conversation with a young couple considering the purchase of a home. The husband, a successful entrepreneur, asked: “Do I need a Realtor to purchase a home?”
The answer is “No, you do not need a Realtor to purchase a home, but you might wish you had one!” The husband’s understanding of a Realtor’s role was limited to just one aspect of being a successful buyer – finding a home. With the availability of on-line search tools most buyers are connected to a resource that automatically alerts them to new homes for sale…but, there is so much more to the process than just finding the home! Successfully negotiating the purchase and navigating the escrow to closing requires expertise, and this is where the services of an experienced Realtor can save you time and money and be a welcome antidote to the inherent stress of being in a high-stakes unfamiliar situation.
As we reflected on the conversation with the young couple we came up with the following top 5 reasons a buyer should select a Realtor to guide them through the intricacies of a home purchase.
1. Do you know how to interpret the comparable sales to determine fair market value?
There is plenty of information on-line, but a Realtor will be familiar with specific information about a home, such as remodeling, floor plan, location considerations and importantly, circumstances surrounding a sale that could have impacted the final sales price. Armed with this knowledge a Realtor can help you interpret the data so that you are prepared to make an informed decision.
2. Do you know where to start when reviewing a property’s disclosure packet, often under significant time constraints?
In our market area a typical home offering will include an extensive (300+ pages) of seller disclosures and inspection reports. Do you know where to start reviewing this information and how to determine what is significant? An experienced Realtor will guide you through the information and support you in understanding it.
3. Do you know how to review a preliminary title report to determine if there are any red flags?
A preliminary title report is generated by a title company and among other information it includes a property’s legal description and the encumbrances. Would you know how to resolve a situation where a private party lender was deceased and the fully paid loan encumbering the property had not been reconveyed? Would you notice that the legal description of a property is incorrect? How about a preliminary title report that shows an easement when the supporting survey does not reflect the easement?
4. Do you know how to determine the potential costs to correct deficiencies uncovered by inspection reports?
The role of the inspectors is to point out deficiencies in a home. Some are more significant than others. Often a home inspector will recommend a further inspection. An experienced Realtor will know who to call and how to track down advance information to help you assess the potential costs to correct the situation. If you are getting a loan your lender will require a homeowner’s policy. Some items noted in an inspection report may not be acceptable to some insurance providers. A good Realtor will recognize these issues and will know where to refer you for coverage or how to resolve the situation prior to the close of escrow so that insurance can be issued.
5. Do you know how to structure a purchase contract to win in a multiple offer while minimizing your risk?
In our market area low inventory continues to drive a fast-paced sellers’ market. This results in most homes selling quickly, often in competitive multiple offers where the winning buyer is the one that presents a strong price coupled with strong terms that often include no contingencies and an “as is” sale. Offering these terms further shifts risk to the buyer. An experienced Realtor will guide and support you in making decisions that will allow you to effectively compete.
Your Realtor is your experienced guide, your discreet confidante, your supportive counselor, and your best connection to the listing agent and seller. Choose someone who is deeply entrenched and experienced in the community where you wish to purchase a home and someone with a sterling professional reputation. Often in a multiple offer the quality of your representation can make all the difference, so choose wisely – you will be glad you did!