With business and transactions increasingly moving to online platforms it can be hard to understand when it’s best to contact a professional and when it’s safe to go-it-alone. Much like your yearly tax return, the buying and selling of real estate can quickly become a complex item on your to-do list. What may seem simple from the onset can quickly spiral into a complex and stressful legal and financial situation, where you may wish for the advice of a full-time, professional Realtor.
When you call your Certified Public Accountant each January, you’re paying for their knowledge of the tax system, IRS forms, current trends in interpretation of government regulation, their history with other professionals in the field and their ability to get your taxes planned for and filed in a timely manner.
A Realtor has a significant basis of knowledge about real estate transactions, the market in your area, when to call a tax or legal professional, and who to call when there’s a question on anything from an inspection issue to what happens in the event the other party backs out of the contract? Realtors are credentialed professionals much like an attorney, a certified public accountant or a financial planner. So, what should that commission buy you?
Comfort with the process – Much like a CPA and the tax code, professional Realtors spend 40+ hours per week focused on real estate. It’s a balance between studying the local market, answering questions on negotiations and closings, walking clients through homes and talking through their anxiety about making a large investment. A Realtor knows how the process goes and is your resource from start to finish.
Experience – A Realtor who views their business as their full-time career has the resources of personal experience and network experience. While transactions can be complex, they likely aren’t re-writing the real estate book, and a good Realtor will have seen a potential problem before, or has a healthy professional network of people that have seen it all before.
Knowledge of the market – real estate is a constantly-changing industry and markets themselves are always adjusting. A Realtor has access to the very best information available through the Multiple Listings Service (MLS). While you may see an MLS feed through Zillow or Realtor.com, the MLS has more comprehensive data on current and previous sales, along with a lower instance of reporting error. The speed that properties are listed in the MLS and showings are scheduled is absolutely mind-blowing and properties are often under contract in a hot market like Charlotte soon after being advertised, if the property makes it to wide-spread marketing at all.
Follow-through – What is the first step to rebuilding an engine block? If you’re not a professional mechanic, you’re likely scratching your head, and that’s okay! Realtors live their craft day-in and day-out allowing them to be an expert in schedules and the management of details to keep everything running smoothly. You can focus on your life as an engineer, teacher, business owner, etc. while your Realtor takes on the real estate process.
Referrals – Working alongside many different professionals means that Realtors know work styles and quality. Looking for a painter? Your Realtor has likely seen the work of many and shouldn’t be shy to give you a few recommendations for professionals that they’d trust with their own house.
Advising services – When you sign with a Realtor, whether you’re buying or selling a property that Realtor has been drafted to your team and must act in the best interest of you and your family, even if that means the best option for you isn’t the most financially advantageous for them. There will always be stories of someone not maintaining high standards, but there are many Realtors available so meet a few and figure out who has your best interests at heart and that you can work well with. Realtors maintain a strict level of confidentiality with you and can help you understand what you’re getting into before it’s too late, whether you’re talking about the financial implications of a new home or are wondering if that fixer-upper is too daunting for a first-time homeowner.