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Do I Need a Realtor to Buy a House?

Couple with real estate agent

When you are ready to make a new home purchase, the first thing to consider is who you want on your team. A Realtor or real estate agent can be your advocate throughout the process. While it is not required to have a Realtor or real estate agent when buying a home, working with this knowledgeable professional can result in a smoother process and get you into the perfect home faster.

What is a Realtor?

A real estate professional who has passed the appropriate licensing exams is called a real estate agent. This individual works on behalf of the seller or buyer to draw up contracts, arrange inspections, and even provide documents to your lender. If that person is a member of the National Association of Realtors, agreeing to follow their high ethical standards, they become a Realtor. A real estate broker completes further education and licensing. A real estate agent, Realtor, and real estate broker can all work on your behalf during the home buying process.

Working with a Realtor

One of the biggest advantages of working with a Realtor or real estate agent is that they have extensive knowledge of the local housing market. When you describe the kind of house you like and your budget, they can immediately start looking for the right neighborhood, home features, and purchase price. They are also familiar with the legal aspects of purchase contracts and can help make sure that you are protected from bad deals, potential hazards, and dishonest salespeople.

Your Realtor will negotiate sales terms with the seller. This can include purchase price, contingencies that allow you to terminate the sale without penalty, included repairs or maintenance, and allowances for upgrades and repairs. The purchase offer is a legal document and it helps to have a seasoned professional, such as a Realtor, draw up the contract before sending it to the seller.

A Realtor is generally paid on commission. This means that a percentage of the purchase price of your home, typically 3%, goes to your Realtor. If the home’s seller is also using a Realtor, the commission is usually 6%. This can result in a higher price but can be well worth the additional cost for the expertise that a Realtor brings.

Where Do I Find a Realtor?

Once you are ready to move forward with your home search, start looking for a Realtor or real estate agent through referrals in your area. We can connect you one of our preferred partners.

Coworkers, neighbors, and friends can all provide first-hand knowledge of what they liked (or didn’t like) about their Realtor. One of the best ways to find a good fit is to rely on word-of-mouth referrals from people that you trust.

Les Ferris
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