A question I am often asked: Why do I need to use an experienced REALTOR® if I am buying a house in San Antonio? Aren’t you all of the same? What’s the difference? And, why do I have to use an agent anyway?
If I have a good relationship with them, I answer: Yep, we are all the same just like basketball players…. After all, isn’t Michael Jordan the same as a 7th grade basketball player?
Then the light-bulb lights up over their head. However, it is not their fault. The general public doesn’t know how to evaluate agents. Below are some pointers.
Real estate purchases tend to be the most expensive purchase that majority of Americans will make in their lifetime. It is done so infrequently by most buyers, that they are at a loss to know why the experience level of their REALTOR® is important.
Real estate is a serious transaction with significant financial and emotional ramifications for the parties involved, and having proper representation is critical. Today’s buyers agree. According to realtor.org, in 2015, 87% of buyers used a real estate agent or broker.
For real estate transactions, Realtor® representation is important. Here are five important and primary reasons to use an experienced San Antonio realtor:
Fiduciary responsibility. When you work with a REALTOR®, they have a fiduciary duty to you. A REALTOR® (who is seasoned and experienced) is an an expert looking out for your best financial interests. They are also contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you. This is huge…. the strict Code of Ethis and Professional Standards (COE) by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) needs to be emphasized as the general public is not aware of that the COE even exists. Since May, 1908 (108 years), real estate agents and brokers across the country have recognized the need for standards and regulations in the real estate industry. The real estate agents who are a member of NAR are referred to as a REALTOR®. Thus, the designation puts a higher fiduciary duty on the agent. Experience = longevity.
Real estate regulations are complex and change, frequently. Buying a home is not a simplistic transaction, such as purchasing a car. Everything about purchasing a home is unique… all homes are different, all buyer’s needs are different, all neighborhoods are different, etc. Throw in the mix of regulations, which are constantly being put into place to protect the consumer, and you have a recipe for complexity. Most home owners purchase a new home approximately every 7 to 10 years. This means that the regulations have changed since their last transaction; notwithstanding that the average homeowner doesn’t keep up with those changes. Experienced REALTOR®s work with these transactions daily. Continuing education in Texas is mandatory in order to keep a license. Therefore, REALTOR®s tend to be current on the day-to-day practices, contracts, law and regulations. Once you have identified, interviewed and retained a REALTOR®, all of their knowledge comes into play and they put that to work for you. Experience = a ton of knowledge.
Assistance in identifying the RIGHT home, not just giving you a tour of the houses you have selected to view. Over 90% of homes today are found by buyers browsing online. It is a terrific help to the whole process of not only finding homes you like, but in also ruling out homes which you don’t care for. It is of great value to have assistance of a professional who can view the home realistically after you think you have found THE one house which you have fallen in love with. However, can you see that the house has had a foundation repair? There are clues, such as a elevated garage apron, which will hint that the home’s foundations has had additional piers installed. A realistic set of eyes on the property can assist you make the right decision. REALTOR®s live and breathe real estate, and most love to share their knowledge about certain conditions about a home that you wouldn’t otherwise know. Another example is the knowledge of the property. Is the house a flip? If it was a flip, was it done with quality? The experienced Realtor® can point out important details about the homes you’re considering. However, REALTOR®s knowledge does not take the place of an independent inspection. In my opinion, all buyers should hire a professional inspector to inspect the home. Experience = awareness of what to look for in the neighborhood you are focused on.
The value of the home your want to buy. There are a lot of websites which will provide an estimate of the homes value which are listed for sale. Beware….. in Texas, as it is a non-disclosure state, those values listed have absolutely no truth or substance to them. However, the website owners in California/Mars/The Moon are not regulated and they can give estimates all day long, even if it confuses and complicates the buying/selling process. REALTOR®s know the market, and they know the inventory. They also have access to all of the latest sales data, which is helpful. They will make sure that you don’t pay too much for a house by using all of the tools at their disposal. Experience = knowledge of the neighborhood pricing and it’s current economic cycle.
Contracts and negotiations. YIKES! You get through the fun part of finding the perfect home. Now the real work begins. REALTOR® will be there to provide you with an upper hand in negotiations…. again because they do this every day. The complexity of contracts, addendum and numerous other documents will be explained to you by your REALTOR®. Experience = smoother transactions.
As a consumer, it is in your best interest to educate yourself on the process. Know that a REALTOR® who has had years of experience can offer you an entirely different experience than one who has only done one or two transactions. Do your homework and you will find an advocate who can skillfully handle the 100+ tasks involved in buying a home.