They all go fast! And in this scary-fast real estate market, buyers and sellers now more than ever need a really good REALTOR® on their side.
But the fear of the unknown stops many buyers and sellers dead in their tracks. They wander from open house to open house like the walking dead, not knowing where to start or where to go. Sellers may feel apprehensive about contacting an agent and worry about the costs to sell. They decide to list on their own and hope for the best. Real estate is only scary when you don’t have the information you need to make the right decisions.
Here’s what you should know to take the fear out of real estate.
NOT ALL REAL ESTATE AGENTS ARE THE SAME
First, there’s a big difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®. And it’s not just that little “r” after the name. Why work with a REALTOR® over a real estate agent? Here are a few reasons:
– A REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), which means they have pledged to adhere to NAR’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. The Code centers on the treatment of buyers and sellers providing them with the utmost of care, promoting their interests first and treating all parties honestly. In short, a REALTOR®’s got your back.
– REALTORS® are consumer advocates. Did you know that REALTORS®, who are members of the largest trade group in the US, fight for consumers and defend the goals of homeownership? For example:
– This year, your local Washington REALTORS® supported new sources of revenue for education. This revenue was used to provide updated teaching materials and to do more for special education, gifted programs and children in high poverty areas.
– Washington REALTORS® stopped a proposal that would add a new 7.9% Capital Gains Tax for home sellers.
– Washington REALTORS® are currently fighting for land owners by fixing the Hirst decision, which restricts water availability to new homes relying on private wells.
This is just a very small sampling of the advocacy work REALTORS® are doing behind the scenes to promote and preserve the freedoms of homeownership.
REALTORS® are smarter than horror movie heroes who forget how their legs work to run away from the terrifying underworld creature. To meet the ever-changing and complex real estate environment, REALTORS® have more educational opportunities available to them. NAR offers its members over twenty specialized certifications. For example, during the recession when homeowners needed knowledgeable short-sale experts, REALTORS® had the education and training to help these consumers who needed our services the most.
REALTORS® aren’t the trick-or-treaters who caravan miles away to the neighborhoods that hand out the full-sized candy bars. Agents who choose to be REALTORS® are choosing to be committed to their local community. They live here, work here, advocate for their neighbors, and are local-area experts. They are invested in their careers by being REALTORS® and not just real estate agents. (You may be surprised that some of the larger real estate firms are not REALTORS®.)
Second, not all agents work full-time. In this fast-paced market, many people are getting their real estate licenses but are still keeping their day jobs. Waiting for your agent to get off work can prevent you from succeeding in your purchase or sale.
Third, experience counts. A real estate transaction can take on a life of its own and might have a death-wish! An experienced agent knows how to keep your transaction alive.
BEING AN UNREPRESENTED SELLER HAS ITS CHALLENGES EVEN IN A FAST MARKET
If you are thinking of selling your home, consider these reasons why you should call on an expert to help sell what might be your largest financial asset.
Photos and marketing. You have probably seen those bad, askew listing photos that look like they were taken by a tipsy pirate with a cell phone. You might be thinking that you can certainly do better than Jack Sparrow but your full-time REALTOR® can get you better results. Your agent can capture compelling features of your home and will know how to engage a potential buyer, not only with the right photos but with lively descriptions.
Better promotion with better outcomes. Buyers look for homes everywhere – from online to print to driving a neighborhood. Your agent will create and fund a strategic yet comprehensive promotional strategy reaching the most buyers on a wide-range of platforms.
Pricing. Some sellers are terrified of this pricing discussion, but really this is just a truthful look at the market and how the home fits into the market. Your REALTOR® can advise you on the best price to squeeze the most money from your home. No scary stuff here!
What to do once you get an offer(s)? If you have multiple offers, which is the best one? Will the highest offer appraise? Is the buyer’s lender reputable? Are they pre-approved or pre-qualified? Your agent will be able to advise you, see red flags and will have the foresight to curb catastrophes.
REALTORS® take on liabilities and are held to an attorney-level standard when handling contracts. The do-it-yourselfer may have no idea of the liabilities they may be exposing themselves to nor the laws they are expected to uphold.
Local knowledge. Agents have local real estate market knowledge but are also excellent sources for referrals to contractors, lenders, and other professional that can help you.
Don’t let fear stop you from getting the most from your real estate experience. You just read my resume but if you’d like to learn more about how I can help, contact me today. You’ll get the information you need, the representation you desire and the peace of mind you’ll receive.