Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Agent

1. Education & Experience

You don’t need to know everything about buying and selling real estate if you hire a real estate professional who does. Henry Ford once said that when you hire people who are smarter than you are, it proves you are smarter than they are. The trick is to find the right person. For the most part, they all cost about the same. Why not hire a person with more education and experience than you? We’re all looking for more precious time in our lives, and hiring pros gives us that time.
2. Agents are Buffers
Agents take the spam out of your property showings and visits. If you’re a buyer of new homes, your agent will whip out her sword and keep the builder’s agents at bay, preventing them from biting or nipping at your heels. If you’re a seller, your agent will filter all those phone calls that lead to nowhere from lookie loos and try to induce serious buyers to immediately write an offer.

3. Neighborhood Knowledge

Agents either possess intimate knowledge or they know where to find the industry buzz about your neighborhood. They can identify comparable sales and hand these facts to you, in addition to pointing you in the direction where you can find more data on schools, crime or demographics. For example, you may know that a home down the street was on the market for $350,000, but an agent will know it had upgrades and sold at $285,000 after 65 days on the market and after twice falling out of escrow.

4. Price Guidance

Contrary to what some people believe, agents do not select prices for sellers or buyers. However, an agent will help to guide clients to make the right choices for themselves. If a listing is at 7%, for example, an agent has a 7% vested interest in the sale, but the client has a 93% interest. Selling agents will ask buyers to weigh all the data supplied to them and to choose a price. Then based on market supply, demand and the conditions, the agent will devise a negotiation strategy.

5. Market Conditions Information

Real estate agents can disclose market conditions, which will govern your selling or buying process. Many factors determine how you will proceed. Data such as the average per square foot cost of similar homes, median and average sales prices, average days on market and ratios of list-to-sold prices, among other criteria, will have a huge bearing on what you ultimately decide to do.

6. Professional Networking

Real estate agents network with other professionals, many of whom provide services that you will need to buy or sell. Due to legal liability, many agents will hesitate to recommend a certain individual or company over another, but they do know which vendors have a reputation for efficiency, competency and competitive pricing. Agents can, however, give you a list of references with whom they have worked and provide background information to help you make a wise selection.

7. Negotiation Skills & Confidentiality

Top producing agents negotiate well because, unlike most buyers and sellers, they can remove themselves from the emotional aspects of the transaction and because they are skilled. It’s part of their job description. Good agents are not messengers, delivering buyer’s offers to sellers and vice versa. They are professionals who are trained to present their client’s case in the best light and agree to hold client information confidential from competing interests.

8. Handling Volumes of Paperwork

One-page deposit receipts were prevalent in the early 1970s. Today’s purchase agreements run 10 pages or more. That does not include the federal- and state-mandated disclosures nor disclosures dictated by local custom. Most real estate files average thicknesses from one to three inches of paper. One tiny mistake or omission could land you in court or cost you thousands. In some states, lawyers handle the disclosures, thank goodness!

9. Answer Questions After Closing
Even the smoothest transactions that close without complications can come back to haunt. For example, taxing authorities that collect property tax assessments, doc stamps or transfer tax can fall months behind and mix up invoices, but one call to your agent can straighten out the confusion. Many questions can pop up that were overlooked in the excitement of closing. Good agents stand by ready to assist. Worthy and honest agents don’t leave you in the dust to fend for yourself.

10. Develop Relationships for Future Business

The basis for an agent’s success and continued career in real estate is referrals. Few agents would survive if their livelihood was dependent on consistently drumming up new business. This emphasis gives agents strong incentives to make certain clients are happy and satisfied. It also means that an agent who stays in the business will be there for you when you need to hire an agent again. Many will periodically mail market updates to you to keep you informed and to stay in touch.

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Top 10 Things to Sell Your House

Repaint Rooms. Paint with a buyer’s sensibilities in mind.

Wash and Paint the Exterior. Repainting your exterior increases curb appeal

Shine with New Lighting. Bring out the best features of your house with a new lighting layout.

Organize and De-Personalize. Cleanliness leads to closing.

Repair or Replace Window Screens. Fixing sagging, dirty or ripped screens is one of the easiest and most inexpensive home improvements for home sellers

Patch Drywall Dings and Dents Imperfections like drywall divots suggest larger problems with the integrity of your house.

Unstick Stubborn Doors. Sticking doors are bothersome, and even more so to prospective buyers touring your home for the first time

Repair Tile Grout. Make your bath and kitchen look brand new by ridding these rooms of shabby and damaged grout

Upgrade Kitchen and Bath Faucets. Replace faucets to give your kitchen or bathroom a quick facelift.

Clean Your Gutters. Clogged gutters could make a great house look neglected

 

Danger List for FSBO home sellers

Terry Murphy, author and Realtor, often assists sellers in marketing their homes after they become frustrated with a “FSBO” effort. Here are Murphy’s top five tips to sellers:

1. Your home may not be worth what you think The biggest shock most sellers face is the true value of their homes, either determined by one or more agents in comparative market analysis (CMA) reports or through actual offers from buyers. The reality is that markets change, and home values rise and fall. Many factors affect home values, and most of them are subjective and difficult to measure.

2. People won’t love your home like you do You love your home and fully expect others to appreciate the same qualities in it that you do, but buyers have their own lifestyles, preferences, tastes and attitudes. The chances of finding a buyer who will want your home “as is” are slim to none. In fact, buyers will look at your home with an eye to how they can make it their own.

3. Sooner or later you will lose your temper The buyer, in order to improve bargaining leverage, may pick your home apart. Many of the buyer’s complaints and requests for repairs will be legitimate, but some may not. In fact, some requests can be outrageous.

4. Unexpected showings Buyers aren’t going to operate on your schedule. When your home is put on the market, you won’t have just your own Realtor showing your home, you may have dozens of Realtors and their clients wanting to see the home at almost anytime of the day or evening. There is no reason for an unaccompanied buyer to be in your home for any reason. Just say no.

5. Buyer rudeness Every day, we each experience rudeness in society. People don’t RSVP in time for the party; they don’t write thank-you notes anymore; they get in the express line with at least 20 items; and they are turning road rage into a national pastime. So why be surprised when buyers visit your home and leave their sweaty McDonald’s cup on your coffee table? Be ready for some rudeness.