What to Expect from Your Realtor
8 Activities to Expect from Your Real Estate Agent
For Home Buyers and Sellers in Silicon Valley
If you've reached the decision to sell, buy a new home, or both, the next big step is figuring out how to hire the best Real Estate Agent that fits your needs.
While buying or selling a home appears seamless to home owners when handled by a professional Realtor, there are a lot of details to the process. Here are the top activities to expect from your Real Estate Agent.
As a home buyer, you should know before anything that Realtors are paid by the seller(s) exclusively. So hiring an Realtor will not cost you anything.
1. Initial Meeting. Your Realtor will go over your wants and needs and discuss whether they're 'doable'. Expect to discuss how much you can afford, financing options, and what to expect when searching for homes.
2. Search Options. When it comes to viewing homes, your Realtor will find and submit to you options in appropriate neighborhoods matching your price range. He or she will view the house(s) with you and point out benefits and potential issues related to the property and its environment (e.g. schools, shopping, distance to highways, etc).
3. Negotiations and Offers. Your Real Estate Agent will act as your negotiator. He or she will attempt to get the fairest price, the best terms and conditions and to protect your interests whether or not the deal goes through.
4. Obtain the Fairest Price for the Buyer. In order to do this, your Realtor must be very familiar with items such as price trends for comparable homes in the neighborhood, types of improvements made in the house but in particular must be able to obtain all disclosures from the seller to avoid any unpleasant surprise.
5. Financing. In order to purchase a home, most buyers must be pre-approved by a lender. Your Realtor is usually in a position to inform you about the best way to finance a home and introduce you to reliable lenders.
6. Signing the Offer. When a price is agreed upon by both parties, your Realtor will prepare (aka the Offer to Purchase) for you, have you sign it and make sure everything is in order before communicating it to the seller(s) and their Agent.
7. Inspections and Repairs. Your Real Estate Agent will assist with the inspection of the home you plan to buy. This step will enable you to learn about the real condition of the property and possibly bail out of the transaction without losing your deposit if the cost of repairs is too overwhelming.
8. Follow-up. Once you purchase your home and move in, your Realtor should follow up to make sure everything went smoothly. If an issue arises, he will be your first interlocutor to help you deal with it. If your move-in goes smoothly, the Realtor's job is over.
While some home sellers opt to sell by owner to avoid paying any commission, most decide to rely on a real estate professional to deal with all the complex paperwork associated with the sale of a property.
1. Initial Meeting. Your Realtor (in this case your Listing Agent) will need to understand your needs and constraints (time frame, reasons for selling the property in particular) in order to be able to define the best selling strategy for your home.
2. Market Analysis. Your Realtor will then realize a comparative market analysis in order to determine the fair market value of your home. This analysis will take into account price of active, pending and recently sold comparable homes in the same neighborhood. The selection of comparable properties is based on criteria such as the year built, square footage, design and general condition.
3. Preparing your Home. Your Realtor will then help you stage your home in anticipation of visits by potential buyers and their real estate agents. He or she might recommend initiatives to improve the curb appeal of your home, like changing a wall color, ripping up old carpet, or simply de-cluttering to make your home more attractive.
4. Showcasing your Home. Your Real Estate Agent will draft a comprehensive marketing plan to maximize exposure of your property both online (through all major real estate websites) and off-line (e.g. flyers, newspapers ads). The agent will also arrange open houses at convenient times for the general public, and tours for Real Estate professionals.
5. Inspections and Repairs. By law, sellers do not need to have their home inspected before to put their house on the market. They only have the obligation to disclose what they know regarding the condition of the property. However, many home sellers today have their home inspected upfront in order to attract more potential home buyers. This can be relevant tactic especially if your home is in overall good condition.
6. Negotiations and Offers. As your fiduciary, your Real Estate Agent has the obligation to get you the best price for your home. Your Agent will receive the offers to purchase and will present all of them to you. He or she will evaluate the pros and the cons of each offer and help you write a counteroffer if required.
7. Signing the Contract. When a price is agreed upon by both parties, your Realtor will make sure that buyer(s) respect the terms of the contract (e.g. removal of contingencies on time, money for deposit available) and that you as the seller, also fulfill all your obligations (e.g. send all mandatory disclosures timely). In other words, your Real Estate Agent is the guarantor that the deal will close.
8. Follow-up. Once someone buys your home and they move in, if any problem arises, your Realtor will be the first person to help you deal with it.
Buying or selling a home is always an exciting time, but it can also be stressful. In order to enjoy the best part of the experience, you are better off hiring a licensed and experienced Real Estate professional who will support you all the way to the end of the transaction.