What does it cost a buyer to use a Realtor… and other buyer questions

Realtor-2014Why 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 representing the seller and looking out for the seller’s best interests.  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. Where else can you get legal representation and have someone else pay for it? If a buyer isn’t already represented by a Realtor, in many cases the listing agent also ends up representing the buyer in the purchase and it becomes a dual agency transaction.

What does it cost a buyer to use a Realtor?

The bulk of the compensation that a Realtor receives typically comes in the form of commission paid by the seller at closing. However, most real estate brokerages charge a small flat fee commission or administration charge of a few hundred dollars payable by the buyer as part of settlement when you close on a property. Some may also charge a fee at the beginning of the contract, as you begin your search process.

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 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. Online search engines can have outdated information. 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. Foreclosure sales require financing pre-approval not contingent upon the sale of another property. They often require closing with 45 days. Response time to short sale offers averages 60-90 days, often with backup offers also submitted on the property. If you have a specific timetable, this may not be your best option as they can drag on for months.

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 to find out current market info, including average sale price related to list price for metro area neighborhoods, cities, counties or the entire metro area.

Sharlene Hensrud, RE/MAX Results Realtor – EmailMinneapolis-St. Paul Realtor


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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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