The REALTOR® Advantage: Buying or Selling Real Estate Is Not a DIY Project
August 23, 2021
Americans are intrigued – some says obsessed – with do-it-yourself projects from home renovation and decorating to their last will and testament. While DIY can be fun for wreath making and furniture refinishing, when it comes to buying and selling real estate DIY, or For Sale By Owner, could put buyers and sellers at a disadvantage in both price and process. Indeed, the National Association Realtors®' 2020 Profile of Homebuyers and Sellers found that FSBO sales netted significantly less than agent-assisted sales.
Of course, you can do it on your own, but should you?
According to the 2020 NAR survey, 88 percent of homebuyers and sellers surveyed used a real estate professional. The reason is clear: the value a Realtor® brings to the biggest financial decision of your life far exceeds the commission.
Here’s how a Realtor® earns that commission and protects your interests:
“Experienced real estate agents work in local markets on a day-to-day basis and can provide the kinds of nuanced information and advice unlikely to be found through online real estate searches,” says personal finance website The Balance. They have relationships with other Realtors® who can alert them when a home comes on the market. Realtors® also monitor trends in their markets and can advise you when it’s a good time to buy or sell.
Professionalism and Ethics
To become a real estate agent, professionals must pass a state examination after taking the required coursework. Once licensed, they must participate in continuing education to maintain their license. A Realtor® is a real estate professional who is an active member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). In addition to being licensed, a Realtor® must have an impeccable professional conduct record and agree to adhere to an extensive Code of Ethics prescribed by NAR.
The NAR Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice outlines duties to clients and customers, the public and to other Realtors®. First adopted in 1913 and revised last year, the code’s first article is key:
When representing a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant, or other client as an agent, REALTORS® pledge themselves to protect and promote the interests of their client. This obligation to the client is primary, but it does not relieve REALTORS® of their obligation to treat all parties honestly. When serving a buyer, seller, landlord, tenant or other party in a non-agency capacity, REALTORS® remain obligated to treat all parties honestly.
Realtors® not only rely on referrals from clients and friends, they provide clients with referrals for goods and services related to their purchase or sale. From mortgage lenders, home inspectors, appraisers, contractors and termite inspectors, experienced Realtors® know who to trust and who to avoid.
A Realtor’s® referral list can be a deal saver. When a last minute glitch, like a title issue or a termite problem, threatens to scuttle a closing, a Realtor® can save the day by referring a trusted professional to quickly solve the problem.
Information is power, and Realtors® bring that power to the table when it’s time to negotiate everything from purchase price to closing costs. Current market trends influence negotiations for both buyers and sellers. Once an offer is made negotiations focus on price, time lines, contingencies and items that will or will not be conveyed with the sale. Experienced and impartial Realtors® use current local market information to bring a seller and a buyer to a mutually acceptable agreement so they can reach their ultimate goal – the closing.
Few transactions in life are more complex than buying and selling real estate. While you may be able to find a buyer on your own, chances are you’ll need help with the multi-page contracts, disclosures and applications that will get you to the closing table. Realtors® ensure all the details are completed in a timely manner to avoid costly missteps that could derail a deal.
Whether you’re the buyer or the seller, a Realtor® will be on your side every step of the way from listing to closing. Having an expert in your corner gives you confidence that you have achieved the best possible outcome in your transaction.