Home ownership, the American dream and the single largest financial investment most of us will ever make. With all of the information available on the internet today do you really need a Realtor to represent you when buying or selling your home or land? What value does a full service Realtor bring to this transaction?
First of all what is a full service Realtor? A Realtor is a real estate agent that has gone above and beyond what the state licensing board requires as far as training and continuing education and voluntarily taken an oath to subscribe to a stringent, enforceable Code of Ethics with Standards of Practice that promote fair, ethical and honest treatment of all parties to the transaction. A full service Realtor is one that takes even that a step further and takes it upon themselves to provide a full ranges of services for the clients that they represent. Additionally Tennessee state law provides that an agent can represent only one party to the transaction, either the buyer or seller but not both and must disclose upfront who they represent. Thus ensuring that everyone involved in a real estate transaction has fair and equal representation.
There are a broad and complicated range of services that your full service Realtor can provide for you. The Realtor that represents you in the sale of your home, typically referred to as the "listing agent", provides a large amount of service and protection that you might not be aware of. The most important of these is being knowledgeable about current local market conditions and property values. Being able to do a comparative market analysis to correctly price your property ensuring that it is not undersold costing you potentially thousands of dollars or overpriced so that it sits on the market too long missing real sales opportunities. In addition the listing agent is responsible for marketing the property to the target market that best suits your property using all the tools that are available today, screening potential buyers, setting up showings while you are at work, on vacation, gone shopping etc. They are also responsible for disclosing all of the things that are required to be disclosed to potential buyers by law. Additionally they must ensure that you are within legal compliance when selling your property concerning zoning laws, deed restrictions, subdivision regulations, home owner associations, fair housing laws and many more. And, finally to negotiate the contract on your behalf ensuring that you are getting a fair market price, protected from unknown costs and terms and have a contract that will close quickly with no surprises. Once all this is done getting to the closing table and closing the property should be a pleasant and rewarding payday.
When buying real estate, being represented by a full service Realtor or "buyer's agent" is equally as important. Buyer's agents provide a long list of services and protections as well. The first of these would be getting you qualified for a mortgage to purchase, if needed, through a reputable lender with the best possible terms to suit your needs. This ensures that when you do find your dream home or parcel of land that you are ready and able to make the purchase. Then the search is on to find that special property, schedule the showings, verify school zones, ensure that all disclosures have been received and make any other necessary discoveries about the property to best fulfill your needs and protect you from making a bad investment. This would include but is not limited to, doing a comparative market analysis on the property themselves to make sure the price negotiated for is fair market value, negotiating a contract that is fair and free from unknown costs and unwanted terms, setting up a home inspection, financing terms, appraisal, setting up closing and making sure that the terms of the contract and financing have been met and much more.
The full service Realtors that represent each party in a real estate transaction have met all of the training, continuing education and licensing requirements from the state and agreed to abide by a set of standards spelled out in the Code of Ethics, are required to carry insurance to protect the parties involved, and must abide by the agency laws set down by the state of Tennessee. In return full service Realtors charge and earn a percentage of each transaction. What could be the cost of going it alone and not using a full service Realtor in your next real estate transaction? Lost $ due to improperly pricing the property? Opening yourself up to liability for failing to make required disclosures, failing to abide by fair housing laws, zoning, subdivision or other regulations, paying fees that were missed or undisclosed?……full service Realtors are trained and experienced in being aware of all these issues that affect each and every real estate transaction. Each transaction is different and requires someone there who knows what to look for and the questions to ask to protect the largest financial investment most of us will ever make and more importantly our homes.