By Trish Nash

You are probably looking at this Homes Illustrated issue because you are in the process of  purchasing a home.  Or perhaps you are considering selling your home and you want to get an idea of the market. A home is typically the largest financial transaction you will make in your lifetime and having proper professional representation is critical.

According to recent data from Realtor.com, in 2013,  88 percent of buyers used a real estate agent and 89 percent of sellers did so as well. Many buyers and sellers don’t realize the ramification of what can take place in this complex transaction if they do not have proper representation.  I personally worked with a seller who had previously had his home on the market as a For Sale by Owner. After accepting a buyer’s offer and then realizing he had not priced his home properly and had left over $150,000 on the table, he cancelled the transaction and was later sued by the buyers. A REALTOR® would have had proper statistics to ensure the home was priced according to the market and the seller could have avoided the turmoil and stress of a lawsuit.

Ninety percent of buyers start their home search online, but, when the time comes to start the physical home search a REALTOR® can help you make the right decision as they will know information about a property that most consumers may not know. An example of this would be Kitec plumbing. At one point many builders used this type of plumbing fitting that was later found to be defective causing homeowners thousands of dollars in damage, later resulting in class action lawsuits in many communities. REALTORS® will go beyond the aesthetics and provide you important details of the home you are considering to purchase.

The home search can be enjoyable and exhilarating but once you find your dream home, the real work begins. Your REALTOR® will be your advocate and negotiate for you and often times can play the bad guy preventing bad blood between the buyer and seller that can oftentimes kill a deal. An agent speaks on your behalf in tough transactions and smooth things over to keep them from getting personal. This positions you more favorably to get the home you want.  The same is true for the seller, who will benefit from a strong negotiating REALTOR® who will represent the seller’s best interests without turning off potential buyers who want to haggle about price.

A REALTOR® is also knowledgeable on current real estate laws and of all the state required disclosures needed to protect all parties. REALTORS® must stay current on all updates in regulation, laws, contracts and practices and will out their knowledge to work for you. A REALTOR® is familiar with contingencies, addendums and mortgage guidelines of which the average home buyer and seller are not educated on these topics.

Many buyers and sellers rely on websites such as Zillow and Trulia for home values but there is a great risk in doing so. In many cases online estimates can be off by as much as 35 percent. REALTORS® know the local market and have access to the most current data and will price your home in line with the local market to maximize your profit when selling.

When you work with a REALTOR® on the sale or purchase of your home they have a fiduciary responsibility to protect buyers and sellers and look out for their client’s financial interests. REALTORS® have subscribed to the National Association of REALTORS® Code of Ethics as a condition of membership and this means they are contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you.

While there are certainly people who will want to buy or sell their homes without REALTOR® representation, it is a complex and important transaction and it can really pay to have a professional on your side. So often the savings that was thought to be had by not paying a real estate agent is lost in repair costs and unknown issues that arise after the closing.

If you are uncertain of where to find a reputable REALTOR® ask neighbors, friends or colleagues who they used in the sale or purchase of their home.  A referral is the best source of finding a great agent. Do they have a viable website that attracts consumers and has useful community information? When you interview then ask them about their strategy in finding you a home or marketing your home for sale. Working with a professional will pay off for you financially and emotionally and ensure that the home buying or selling process is an enjoyable one as you enter into one of the most important transactions for you and your family.

Trish Nash – Broker/Owner
Signature Gallery of Homes