Buyers often do not fully understand the role a real estate agent plays in the homebuying process. Here are answers to some common questions.

Realtor_3 Why use a Realtor to help me buy a home, can’t I just search online and visit open houses? Won’t that save me money?

Searching online and visiting open houses is a great way to get started and get a feel for neighborhoods and prices. When it comes time to actually buy, however, you should have a  buyer’s agent legally representing you. The agent listing a property is looking out for the seller’s best interests, and you should have someone legally obligated to look out for yours as well. Plus in MLS listings the seller has already agreed to pay the buyer’s agent as part of the listing agreement. If you don’t have your own Realtor, it all goes to the listing agent. Where else can you get legal representation and have someone else pay for it?

What does it cost a buyer to use a Realtor?

The compensation that a Realtor receives typically comes in the form of commission paid from the seller’s proceeds at closing. In other words, there is no commission cost to the buyer to use a Realtor in a traditional buyer/agent relationship.

Can my Realtor show me properties listed by other real estate companies? How will I find out about new properties for sale and price reductions?

Your Realtor can give you information and show any property listed in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service)…which includes most real estate companies and many For-Sale-By-Owner properties. As your Realtor, I send you regular email notification of new listings and price changes meeting your criteria as they hit the market.

Can’t I just search the MLS online myself?

While many online search engines download basic property information from the MLS data base, only a licensed real estate agent can provide you with full information specific to a property directly from the Multiple Listing Service. There is no public search engine with direct access to the MLS, even if MLS is in the name.

What about foreclosure and short sale properties?

Most foreclosure and short sale properties are listed in the MLS, the most complete source for properties available on the market. Your Realtor can provide you with supplemental information and requirements often included in the full MLS listing. Banks are overloaded right now and response time to short sale offers is averaging 4-6 weeks or more, often with multiple offers submitted on the same property. If you have a specific timetable, this may not be your best option…but good values can be had if you have time and patience…and the ability to deal with the TLC desperately needed by many of these properties.

What if I find a property on my own?

Wherever you find a property…searching online, seeing a yard sign, finding a property in a real estate magazine or newspaper, at an open house or from a friend or relative…you should contact your Realtor, not the owner or agent listing the property. As your Realtor, think of me as your central source for information…and your time saver!

How will I know if a property if priced right? How much do I offer?

You will start to get a sense of pricing as you look at properties and will get a feeling for when a property is over or under priced. When you find a property of interest, we will do a market analysis of what has been selling in the area and what comparable properties have actually sold for in the last six months. Your offering price will take into account how the home is priced compared to market values. Click here to find out current average sale price compared to list price for 125 metro area communities.

What is the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor?

A real estate agent is a generic term for an individual licensed with a real estate broker who who assists customers in the buying or selling of property. A Realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the local, state and national Associations of Realtors, and is obligated to subscribe to a stringent code of ethics.

Do you have a question?

Send me an email and I will address it in a future post.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results Realtor – EmailWebsite

About Sharlene Hensrud

I love what I do! Highly insightful, analytical and creative, there is nothing I love more than helping you find the right solution for your real estate transition. My mission is to serve my clients with honesty and integrity, exceeding their expectations in service and support… and to help others by donating a portion of every transaction to Habitat for Humanity

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