Next month is National Homeownership Month, and our goal is to help educate and prepare future home buyers for the home buying process. Buying a house is an exciting time, but it’s a lot like standing on a stool. It takes a lot of balance, and to keep from falling, you’ll need all three legs of the stool working together to hold you up. You’re probably asking yourself, “Buying a house is like a standing on a stool? How so?” Let me explain.
Today we’ll focus on the first leg of the stool, the Realtor®. The one who helps you find the home you’ll eventually purchase. Although there are hundreds of online resources available to help you search for homes for sale, the most reliable data is always going to come directly from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). A Realtor® has the ability to provide you with the most up-to-date property listings, comparisons, and benchmarks through their paid subscription to their local MLS.
While you may initially lean on these other resources to get an idea of the current real estate environment, a Realtor® will be able to keep you updated, almost to-the-minute, on the status of properties you may be interested in. Through their access to the MLS, they’ll be an invaluable resource for information on how long a particular home has been on the market, if it’s been listed more than once, its pricing history and how it compares to similar homes around it. Keep in mind that sometimes properties are available, but not actively advertised. A Realtor® can help identify those hidden opportunities, as well as help you avoid out-of-date listings that might be showing up as available online, but are actually no longer on the market.
Most Realtors® live and breathe real estate, and often times they can share information about a home that you wouldn’t otherwise know. They can be great resources for insights into neighborhood specific information and trends. For instance, they may have valuable information on HOA obligations for a specific building or development, potentially saving you from huge headaches due to fees or special assessments. A Realtor® can also provide information on local utilities, zoning, schools, and more.
Cultivated Skill Set
Finding the perfect home is the fun part, but then the real work begins. Buying a home usually requires dozens of forms, reports, disclosures, and other documents. Most Realtors® are immersed in real estate, and stay current with the complex, ever-changing real estate industry, including updates in regulations, laws, contracts and practices. Their cultivated skills can help you prepare an attractive offer, navigate complex contract documents, negotiate the contract, and avoid delays or costly mistakes.
Plain and simple, your Realtor® is your advocate. They work for you 24/7 — whether you need a little more information on a particular home, have questions about what happens next, or just need a shoulder to lean on in order to feel at ease with the offer you just put in. Buying a home is likely the biggest financial (not to mention, emotional) decision of your entire life, and you want to do it right. Guiding you through it isn’t a responsibility Realtors® take lightly.