Buying and selling a home is stressful. Showings. Listings. Open houses. Taxes. Closing costs. Paperwork on top of paperwork on top of paperwork.
And those are just the things you've thought of off the top of your head.
While it's easy to think you can handle it all yourself, thanks to the abundance of information readily available on the internet (and from the Property Brothers!), the fact is that a real estate transaction is time-consuming and complicated, and, if not handled properly, could end up costing you money.
Just like you wouldn't represent yourself in a court of law, it's simply not in your best interest to represent yourself when you're buying or selling a home. It's worth it to work with someone who knows real estate inside and out - a Realtor.
Here are just a few of the compelling (and sanity-saving) reasons why to use a Realtor:
1. Realtors abide by a code of ethics.
While we believe most real estate professionals are honest folks, those who belong to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) have agreed to conduct themselves according to the Realtor Code of Ethics, 17 rules that ensure standards of practice to promote honesty and fairness.
What this means is that your Realtor is looking for you - and only you. Plain and simple.
2. They have insider information.
Every industry has its own special language, its own vast networking system, its own trade secrets, and the world of real estate is no different.
Realtors network constantly with other real estate pros and have exclusive access to market data through the National Realtors Association that help them keep up with what's happening in the housing market. They know the trendy subdivisions and the up-and-coming blocks, and they watch like hawks to find great deals for buyers.
Realtors know CMAs, EIKs and FSBOs. Amortization, appraisals and assessments. Collateral, co-mingling and cash reserves. If you don't understand this lingo (and most people don't), consider getting a Realtor on board to help you translate.
They also know that advertising isn't what sells most homes, it's networking.
Using a Realtor to buy or sell your home gives you access to his or her extensive contact list of colleagues as well as friends, family and previous clients. Your Realtor could know another Realtor who knows a family that's looking for exactly what you're selling or who's selling just what you're in the market for.
It's these relationships with other real estate pros that can help you get a fair representation of the property as well as the best final sales price, whether you're buying or selling.
3. They're marketing masters ...
In addition to marketing behind the scenes with colleagues, Realtors know how to make your home shine — from planning the perfect open house to staging your home for showings to photographing your property in the best possible light (literally) for listings.
We know you have good taste and that HGTV has taught you a thing or two about selling a home. But we also know you have a full-time job, a family and a hundred other things on your to-do list. It's perfectly OK to take the back seat and let a pro handle your real estate venture.
Truth is, 30 percent of buyers found their home with the help of an agent and 51 percent found theirs on the internet, according to a 2017 National Association of Realtors (NAR) survey.
Realtors have made it their job to build huge social media followings, and their association with the NAR provides them with all the latest marketing strategies. They network through things such as Facebook groups, NextDoor and LinkedIn to reach even more potential buyers and sellers.
You, as a homeowner, can only share your listing so many times with your Facebook friends before they snooze you for 30 days.
4. ... and tough negotiators.
It's all about that final price, and for sellers, the idea of handing part of that to an agent can feel a little unsettling.
Consider this: The average selling price for a "for sale by owner" home was $208,700 compared with $235,000 for an agent-assisted sale, according to 2016 numbers from NAR, which points up that the odds of getting the price you want (and maybe even more), increase when you have a seasoned expert at your side.
And a bigger profit means you can still walk away with the cash you hoped for.
Plus, Realtors aren't emotionally invested in your property. And that's a good thing, because more than likely, you are. Your home holds memories, good and bad, and letting go can be a heart-wrenching process.
Human beings simply don't make the best decisions when they're emotional. A Realtor can be a common-sense constant who negotiates with his head instead of his heart.
5. Realtors keep you on the right side of the law.
Do you have to tell a potential seller about that water leak you never had repaired? Do you need to test your older home's paint for lead before putting it on the market? Are there any deed restrictions on the property you're hoping to buy? Who the heck is Dodd-Frank?
When buying or selling a home, dozens of questions will come up that you simply won't know the answer to — and an internet search won't quickly answer. This is where a Realtor comes in particularly handy.
Realtors keep up with the ever-changing rules and regulations that govern the sale of property, thanks to a constant flow of up-to-date information from the National Association of Realtors and related state Realtors associations, so you don't have to.