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If you're a prospective home buyer, you've probably already discovered that it can be an overwhelming process. Searching for homes without help is difficult, and if it's your first time buying a home, you might not have an idea of where to start. You need a Realtor, because he will make sure that your home buying process runs smoothly and that you don't get scammed by a seller, closing attorney, or other party involved in the process. Home buyers are often easy targets for shady transactions, and even though there are checks and balances imposed by investors Fannie Mae and Freddy Mac, there is still great risk involved. Real estate agents can help you find a reputable lender, guide you through the home inspection process, and negotiate a contract that is most beneficial for you. Also, all licensed agents have access to MLS and FMLS, can plug in the features you prefer in a home, and send you several listings at one time. They do all of the prospecting for you, allowing you to focus on your other obligations. The best part of contracting a Realtor is that you don't pay for their services out of your own pocket. They are paid from the seller proceeds when you close on a home.
A Realtor is a real estate agent that is a member of the National Association of Realtors. Realty companies and agents that belong to the NAR follow a code of ethics and are kept up to date on real estate developments through newsletters, website, emails, and regional and national meetings.
To find a Realtor, a word-of-mouth referral from a trusted friend or relative who has recently purchased or sold a home can help. Ask your friends who have had recent transactions for a recommendation rather than simply asking if anyone knows a Realtor. Ensure the Realtor has a solid track record of recent successful transactions by asking them for a list of recent closings.
Websites like Realtor.com and periodicals like “Home & Land” are other options to find a Realtor as many reputable realty companies advertise there. The bigger the website or the glossier the publication, the more expensive it is to advertise in them. Companies that have large advertising presences usually demonstrate they have larger budgets, and that means they are helping to sell and buy houses in volume.
One important note: if you are interested in a Realtor’s listing, contact them but inform them you will be seeking the help of a buyer’s agent to represent them should you choose to put an offer on the house they are advertising. A buyer’s agent gets paid from the selling agent’s commission, not from your pocket, and you need someone on your side of the deal.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|