Why should you ever use a REALTOR® to buy or sell?

Photo courtesy of homegrouprealty.ca 

Ever wondered “why use a REALTOR®,” “what is the added-value,” or “what is my return on investment?”.

Yesterday evening, a friend and business professional, whose opinion I often value as it differs from mine and turns the wheels, questioned me on the value of using REALTOR® services over several plates of spicy wings. I got to thinking, if he, as a highly analytical and business-minded professional did not see the value in using REALTOR® services, note that he is not a home-owner at this point, then there are likely others in his position who have yet to realize the value as well.

Consequently, this blog will aim to give several clear, obvious and practical reasons why there is added-value and rhyme and reason to hire a professional to handle your real estate needs as a Buyer or a Seller.

Let’s begin with a simple analogy, if you want to boost the revenue of your company through improving your marketing plan and your customer outreach, you, if you are the majority, will see the value in hiring a marketing professional. Said professional may, for example, a. Improve your website, social media, and overall reach, b. Re-logo or re-brand your company and/or c. Increase your overall visibility, attractability and ease of discovery, which will inevitably drive clients to your company and hopefully result in more business and boosted revenues. Target achieved.

If you are not the majority, you will spend countless hours reading blogs, manuals, researching best practices and successful companies, trying certain things, failing, trying other things, getting some of it right, busting your drawing board and all the while telling yourself that you are “saving money” by “doing it yourself”. Target lost.

Savvy business people know this rule of thumb, if you are not the marketing expert on your team, you hire one. They will save you countless research dollars simply because they are already in the know and have been for a while; they will save you countless headaches and costly mistakes by doing it right the first time, and most importantly, they will save you time, which, if you cost it out, is your most valuable asset any way you look at it. Time is the one thing you will never gain back once spent.

More to the point.

The reason why you use REALTOR® services when you buy or sell a property is simple. Ask yourself the following questions and if the answers are anything but a 100% affirmative “yes, of course,” then you should be speaking with a REALTOR®, who will save you money, mistakes, energy, effort and most importantly at the end of your real estate goals and objectives, they will save you time.

Buyers: Point 1- Experiential Research and Knowledge

  • Do you know the intricacies of the market you are buying in? Do you know the statistically relevant data to making sure that you are paying what you should be paying for a particular home? Do you know how to write a legally binding contract and what subjects to include when purchasing a new home, a mobile home, a stratified home or an older home?
  • It is a REALTOR®’s obligation to find out every bit of information pertaining to the subject property and to use all their resources to uncover any areas of concern; many of these resources are costly and paid for upfront by your REALTOR® without question. When you go hunting as a buyer on your own, often you cannot access all the information due to a lack of knowledge about what you should be looking for and access and/or cost restrictions. Additionally, a Seller who is off-loading a property may not inform you of critical or litigious issues until it is too late, if they even tell you at all. A REALTOR®’s job is to make sure nothing goes uncovered and since they have an abundance of knowledge, expertise and experience from investigating hundreds of homes before yours, they often will notice things and think to check records you would never observe or fathom to research. As a result of all the experience your REALTOR® has, which you cannot simply buy or learn in a short period of time, they are truly an expert when it comes to writing contracts for foreclosures, acreages, strata, lease hold and single family detached homes and they will ensure your priorities and your position is legally protected.

Buyers: Point 2- Ahead of the game

  • Do you know how to find listings before they even reach the public? Do you have a network of professionals (other REALTOR®s, lawyers, mortgage brokers, accountants, clients, builders and contractors) who provide you with insider information about projects, homes and opportunities before anyone else knows? Do you have endless hours in a day to research and explore and knock on doors in the neighborhood you want to purchase in?
  • If your REALTOR® is doing their job, they will be ahead of the game. What that means for you as a Buyer is that your REALTOR® should be sending you emails or calling you as soon as something hits the market that matches what you are looking for and they might even go out and find a home that was not even for sale that matches what you need. They will have their finger on the pulse and know the market inside and out, which is a time consuming and intensive set of activities that you do not have time to learn how to do or maintain. (If you did have that time and money, you would become a REALTOR® since you would be spending all your time acting like one anyways). Without a REALTOR®, you are simply relying on your own search abilities to hopefully turn up the best results in a system that is structured for REALTOR®s who act on behalf of their clients to save you the time and effort of having to become a REALTOR® to find the deal you want.

Buyers: Point 3- Negotiations

  • Are you comfortable telling someone to their face that you think their price is outrageous and you want to offer them $40,000 less than what they think their property is worth? Do you know how to handle their response and negotiate to a middle ground that works for both of you?
  • Whether yes or no, the reality is, most people are not comfortable with that type of situation, but your REALTOR® is absolutely prepared and ready to head into battle for you. They will present your offer confidently and effectively justifying and negotiating on why such an offer should be accepted. It is the same reason why politicians, athletes and corporations hire professional negotiators to get them the best deal; your REALTOR® is a professional negotiator when it comes to real estate. There is far too much personal and emotional tension and discomfort when parties attempt to directly negotiate in their own best interests. Your REALTOR® is able to bring a firm, non-partisan and critical voice to represent you at the table, which should result in a favorable situation for you and hopefully the other party as well; this is known as a win-win negotiation.

Now on the other side of the equation is when you want to sell your home. Here’s why using a REALTOR® is absolutely worth it for you. Keep in mind, when the “commission objection” comes to mind, that there’s more to it than just paying your REALTOR®. Have a read here.

Sellers: Point 1- Knowledge, network, marketing

  • Do you have in-depth knowledge of what’s happening, moving and selling in your local market? Do you have statistics formulated daily to tell you what the market is doing and what has sold, expired and is active? Do you have a network of business professionals, peers and active Buyer’s who you can contact to inform them that you have decided to sell? Do you have the money, time and expertise to arrange for a full-blown marketing plan to ensure that your property is seen both physically and virtually through all the different avenues and resources currently available in the technological world?
  • When you try and sell your own home, the ability to advertise, the ability to competitively price based on what sells and the ability to keep up with market changes are all skills that your REALTOR® is bringing to your advantage. If Buyers can even find your home through the quagmire of other “For Sale By Owner” properties on dozens of different classified websites, they may skip your listing due to the quality of the pictures or lack of information. If they do decide to take a look, they may be wary of a “good deal” and assume that there is something you just are not telling them. History shows that properties that are listed through the Multiple Listing Service system sell for more than those that do not and much of that comes down to marketing and negotiations. But the main starting point with For Sale By Owner properties is that Buyers have to actually be able to find your private listing in the first place!

Sellers: Point 2- Credibility

  • Do you have credentials that demonstrate to potential Buyer’s that you are a credible, knowledgeable and a reliable source of information about the property you are selling? Are you held accountable by a network of peers and an overarching authority to ensure that the information you are providing to Buyers is accurate and sound?
  • When you attempt to sell your own property, Buyer’s often will question your credibility, the information you are giving them and perhaps keep silent on their doubts about your home and just never call back. Working with a REALTOR® adds a level of trust and credibility to the information advertised and also provides a level of ease to clients who may not feel comfortable sharing their opinions with you directly or asking you probing questions about the property. A REALTOR® is also legally obligated to provide accurate information and this gives assurance to Buyers that the information they receive is reliable, accurate and binding. It is unlikely that you could achieve the same level of trust without involving third parties that the Buyer would turn to as external sources of credible information, which is often time consuming, a hassle and a deterrent to Buyers. Point being, REALTOR®s serve a legal and social role to aid Buyers in comfortably considering your home and the accuracy of the information.

Sellers: Point 3- Safety-Risk, Buffer-Barrier

  • Do you know the legal risks and implications of having strangers in your home to prospect a business transaction? Are you comfortable showing your home to people you have never met and have never screened to make sure they are safe to meet alone? Are you comfortable with people criticizing and critiquing the property you have proudly called home?
  • In today’s society, many people have expressed that they would not even bother contacting a private seller because they are not comfortable and do not feel safe going to a stranger’s house that is privately listed. A REALTOR® is not only important to locate buyers and get buyers to want to see your property, but they are also integral to your safety and making sure that when a Buyer comes to the property that they are pre-screened to determine any level of risk associated with taking them through your home. The REALTOR®, as a third party, allows the Buyer to speak freely and openly discuss their questions and concerns about the property in order to address these issues and provide important feedback to you about the home. Your REALTOR® is the buffer between you and the Buyer and provides an opportunity for Buyers to view your home free of the hesitation involved when a Seller is breathing down their necks and watching their every move.

Sellers: Point 4- Time, Coordination, Negotiation

  • Do you have time at 9:00am, 11:30am, 2:00pm, 4:15pm and 7:45pm seven days a week to show your property to potential Buyer’s? Are you familiar with how to coordinate with Buyer’s and their Agents (because they will likely have an agent, who will want to be paid for their work) for multiple showings and keeping track of who came through and how to contact them? Are you an expert negotiator and familiar with the terms and subjects of a Contract of Purchase and Sale when someone makes you an offer that you do not 100% accept? Are you familiar with the proper procedures and legalese regarding writing counter offers and acceptance and how to fulfill the terms of a purchase contract?
  • Your REALTOR® is hired to work for you to assist in the successful sale of your home and only when they are successful are they paid fifty percent of the commissions for the outstanding service they should provide you, they are taking all the risk and costs upfront to get you a greater reward in the end. When they commit to work with you, they are also promising to dedicate unlimited time to ensuring that your property gets maximum exposure to all Buyer’s who want to see it and they will coordinate those showings accordingly and follow up as needed. When the Buyer who is ready to put pen to paper decides to make you an offer, your REALTOR® will go to work for you to make sure that your interests are protected and that you receive the best possible deal for your property and that you do not end up in litigation as many private sales do.

All in all, at the end of the day, if you feel that you can do all of the above better than your REALTOR® and eat your cake too, you should probably take the course, write your license and join the team! If you feel that your REALTOR® is not meeting these expectations and you do not want to do their job for them, pick up the phone right now and give me a call at 250.808.3638. I am here to help and would be happy to meet with you for a no obligation conversation.

~ Helping you SEE Possibilities~

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Justina LeeStolz

Justina LeeStolz

Personal Real Estate Corporation
CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty Ltd.
Contact Me