Would you give yourself stitches? Represent yourself in court? Life is full of important decisions and pivotal moments that demand professional expertise. A REALTOR® has access to many resources and experience interpreting data that will help you make the best choices throughout the home buying process.
1. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power — that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity and can assist you in obtaining a lender prequalification letter. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to suit your needs. Most lenders offer several options.
2. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.
3. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, etc. There are two things you’ll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
4. Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate. There are many negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings, appliances or other equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property, before you are required to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you regarding inspections that are recommended or required, then assist you in the negotiation of favorable terms.
5. Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these inspections and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR® can facilitate discussions with a title company or attorney to help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.
6. Your REALTOR® can help you understand different financing options and identify qualified lenders.
7. Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process, keeping you on track and organized to make sure everything flows together smoothly.