By Sharon Hassler—When you see the term Realtor, it means a member of the National Association of Realtors, a real estate trade association. All Realtors are licensed real estate agents but not all real estate agents are Realtors.

Buying a home can be a real challenge especially if you attempt it alone. Here are some of the benefits you’ll receive from working with a Realtor:

  1. No expense to you. A Selling Agent or Buyer-Broker is traditionally paid by the Listing Agent, so there’s no cost to you for having a real estate expert by your side.
  2. Access to more home choices. If you’re working with a Realtor, you’ll have access to thousands of homes through the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), so you’re more likely to find the home that’s right for you, in your timeframe. The majority of homes on the market are listed by Realtors. They may not be available to you unless you are working with an agent.
  3. Help with what could be your biggest investment. Most people understand the benefit of working with an attorney, an accountant, a doctor, when the need arises. Yet they overlook the importance of working with a real estate professional. Think about the investment you’re making, probably the largest financial decision in your life. It makes sense to have the advice and assistance of a real estate professional.
  4. Assistance with “For Sale By Owner” properties. Some brave (maybe foolish) home owners decide to sell by themselves and are not prepared for all that’s involved with showing their home, negotiating the deal, and preparing a contract of sale. If you happen to be interested in a FSBO property, take your agent along to help with the contract. FSBOs frequently discover there’s more to selling a home than they anticipated and will agree to pay the agent’s commission.
  5. Experience with steps to a successful closing. A number of home purchases never make it to closing due to a variety of unforeseen problems. Experienced agents have learned how to both avoid and resolve problems and can move transactions forward to successful closings.
  6. Awareness of local home builders and new subdivisions. Your real estate agent can provide information about new homes in your area. If you’re interested in buying a new home, take your agent with you on your first visit to each subdivision. Your Realtor is an important source of information who can supply background on the builder, nearby subdivisions, and the local community.
  7. Reducing the liability factor. Real estate transactions seem to become more complicated and more regulated each year. Working with a Realtor who keeps up on industry requirements can offer you more protection from legal and financial liability.
  8. Helping with unfamiliar paperwork. Your experienced Realtor can counsel you during negotiations, explain terms, and prepare the purchase contract for you. They, of course, will also assist you with the paperwork and myriad of steps necessary to reach a successful escrow closing.

A note from us: Commitment is a two-way street. Realtors often spend time learning about your needs as a home buyer, researching properties to find your dream home and driving you around to visit houses in person. Then you may stumble across a home while driving around alone, sign a contract, and report back to your agent with your happy news. It hasn’t occurred to you that the agent works solely on commission, and your agent could have assisted you with that purchase and worked to see the transaction through to a successful closing. Now you are suddenly working with a new agent who doesn’t know you and hasn’t invested any time and energy in helping you find your dream home. Our advice: Once you begin working with a Realtor, contact them before you sign any contract or visit any new home subdivision. Remember your agent has access to all those homes on the MLS as well as new home subdivisions. If you see a property you might be interested, please call your agent to get more information about that home.

The advantages to you of working with only ONE Realtor include:

  • Your Realtor will be familiar with you and your family’s needs.
  • Working with only one Realtor means better rapport and communication as you work torwards your goal of finding the perfect home.
  • You avoid an awkward and uncomfortable conflict that could arise between agents. A true professional will ask if you’re already working with an agent and will honor that relationship. If you’ve made an impromptu visit to a property without your Realtor, and the agent doesn’t ask, beware.
  • Of course, a Realtor will be more committed to you and helping you find your dream home when you return that commitment to them.