Real estate buyers or sellers sometimes think that bypassing a Realtor is a smart move. But after years as a real-estate attorney in South Florida, I can tell you that in most cases it is not.
An experienced Realtor brings a lot to a real estate deal that home buyers and sellers can’t adequately provide themselves. In the same way that you wouldn’t perform your own tonsillectomy or replace your car’s transmission, you shouldn’t handle a real estate transaction involving tens or hundreds of thousands of your dollars without a professional. (And no, I’m not getting paid to say this. It’s just that I’ve seen many deals where people bypassed a Realtor and later found that didn’t serve them.)
If you are a buyer, you will benefit by having a Realtor show you properties that fit your exact criteria—and it doesn’t cost you anything, because the seller pays the Realtor’s commission.
If you are a seller, you will benefit by a Realtor’s expertise in how to price your property so that it both brings in top dollar for you and still entices a buyer to purchase your home. An on-target price is determined by what’s happening in your area, how much work has been done on your home, how it looks to buyers, and many other factors. (One of the things I have seen when people don’t use Realtors is that buyers agree to pay too much, and then the deal falls apart when it doesn’t appraise at that unrealistic level. I’ve also seen sellers give away their house for less money than they could have gotten.)
Here are other ways a Realtor can benefit your deal:
- Realtors are experts in the improvements you might consider making to your property get the best price when you are selling your home, and which ones are not going to pay back their cost. They can also help you set up, or “stage,” your home to best appeal to buyers. Realtors can often recommend trustworthy contractors they have worked with on other deals.
- Sellers don’t need to be home every time someone wants to see their property, because a Realtor accompanies them. Since they prescreen and stay with those buyers, you’re also less likely to have a problem allowing strangers to wander through your home.
- Realtors understand the neighborhoods they specialize in, so they can direct buyers to those that would appeal to them, considering what’s important to you, from school quality to location near parks or shops to neighborhoods with a trendy vibe.
- If a buyer is interested in a home where there will be competitive bidding, a Realtor can be an ideal partner to help you determine an offer most likely to succeed.
- Once a contract is signed, the process of buying a home involves many steps, from applying for a mortgage to arranging for an inspection on time to having a last-minute walk-through of the property to be sure it’s in proper condition. A Realtor (along with your real-estate attorney) can help you successfully navigate this confusing process.
- Realtors are bound by a strict code of ethics as members of the professional organization, the National Association of Realtors. In most cases, both buyers and sellers can expect honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters.
While Realtors are not required for a real-estate deal in South Florida, they, like real-estate attorneys, are an important asset for a smooth and successful transaction. It’s crucial, though, that you find a good one. Check online for reviews (on sites like Google and Yelp), ask friends if they had a good experience with their Realtor, or check with people in the business; I often recommend Realtors I know to be excellent to clients who ask me for a referral.
For more information about buying or selling property in South Florida, call us for a FREE legal consultation at 954-979-6566 or send us an email. Attorney Gary Landau personally returns all calls and emails to him.