What You’re Paying For When You Hire a Realtor

The more technology disrupts the process of buying and selling a home, the more relevant it becomes to understand what you’re paying for when you hire a realtor. The answer: a professional, hopefully with experience, to help you through the process and ensure it is all done correctly. Exactly how that breaks down depends on whether the realtor represents the buyer or the seller.

Buyer’s Realtor

Looking for a home? You’ll want a good idea of not only what is available on the market, and what represents a fair price based on comparable listings. This is where buyers’ agents come in. It is their job to know the ins and outs of the local housing market, including not only what’s up for sale, but where each home falls within that market.

For those moving to a new and unfamiliar town, realtors often represent a source of insider information. Because they often live where they work, realtors are often able to offer invaluable input about the area. This may include the quality of schools, community events and functions, and whether a certain neighbor has many children living in it.

Finally, a buyer’s realtor acts as a liaison, helping to schedule the buyer’s walk-throughs, due diligence  inspections, and typically helps to shepherd the completion of the necessary paper work within deadlines.

Seller’s Realtor

If you own a home and are ready to sell, your seller’s realtor will pull the laboring oar in marketing and showing your home. This includes taking pictures and writing marketing descriptions, creating flyers, and listing your home the Multiple Listing Service, which all realtors—and only realtors—have access to.

Even before they do this, however, the seller’s realtor must run a comparative market analysis to determine how much your house is worth. The real estate agent will compare your home to others for sale or that have sold in the area and help you come up with a reasonable listing price.

Traditionally, sellers are not present when potential buyers come through to see the home. This leaves the task of showcasing it to your realtor. Buyer’s realtors will typically stage open houses, coordinate walk throughs with potential buyers, and assist in negotiation of selling price and any issues that should arise through due diligence inspections.

Still Have Questions?

Home buying is a complicated and often overwhelming process, but fortunately not one you have to do alone. Besides realtors, real estate attorneys such as myself are standing by to help ensure the process goes as fairly and smoothly and possible. Keep in mind that realtors, while often experienced in the process, are not qualified or allowed to provide legal advice.  If you have questions about contract terms, compliance obligations, and particularly whether they or the other party may have breached a contractual obligation, call or email via the contact information listed below.

This article represents the first in a series dedicated to de-mystifying the process of home buying and selling. Check back soon for an upcoming examination and explanation of title insurance.