Victor Vigano

Why is having a real estate agent a great plus for buyers?

In Uncategorized on March 29, 2011 at 13:31

Real estate transactions constitute for many people one of the biggest investments of their life.  Not the moment to afford making mistakes. If at first buying a property seems straight forward as buying apples at the store, beware:  there is a lot more to it than most may think, which may result in less than desirable deals and transactions.

In Florida, in the case of Transactional Brokerage, the real estate agents customarily don’t require any money directly from the buyers he’s helping; it is the seller that contributes to the commissions.  In some cases, where the real estate agency provides extra tools helping agent and customers, a small transaction fee (around a couple hundred dollars at best) may be seen applicable.  While one may think that doing without the help of a real estate professional when buying translates in wonderful savings, the opposite is quite more likely. 

The real estate agent brings expertise to the table: about the market, about the peculiarities of different areas and of the individual buildings, and of the transaction process in general.  Attorneys may help with the paperwork, but as far as understanding the market and knowing how to avoid little or big pitfalls during the negotiations, the agent is best suited.  That could save the buyer thousands of dollars, and usually does. 

The real estate agent, whose help is free or, at most, inexpensive to a buyer, does provide a conspicuous service. The agent is bound by a strict code of ethics; be towards the seller or the buyer, he will provide professionalism and integrity. The agent can focus down on a more complete list of properties in a swift and orderly fashion, saving the buyer much time. The agent may have access to properties not readily accessible or advertised.  The agent uses an internet based listing program, the Multiple Listings Service (MLS), which allows access to a very vast, almost complete compendium of properties on the market (and that have been on the market). The general public may access such property database through various agents’ sites and other specialized sites, such as Trulia.com, but that won’t yield the same complete and updated results as the MLS; also, the research functionalities available to the general public will lack many of the features an agent may enjoy with the MLS. The agent may provide a comparative market analysis (CMA), as well as other information and data not readily available to the general public. The agent can research the houses sold in a particular area in the last year, the zonings, the apartments sold and/or rented in a building and their prices,  the percent of delinquencies in a building, and so on…  All this premium information helps to better pinpoint the true value of a deal, the market value of a property.  The agent will provide introspection into the issues a particular property may have.  A buyer may be naïve of the several technicalities that may influence a property value and marketability: issues such as the 40years building recertification or the unpaid and/or projected special assessments may be overlooked by an unsophisticated buyer, but ultimately could result in a sour deal.  The agent would know, when dealing with new developers units, if the forecasted maintenance is realistic or if it could be expected to grow significantly.    There are just too many aspects to buying a property for most buyers to deal with and to analyze, to be safe.  The agent can guide a buyer through the buying process, effortlessly.  The agent can guide you in regards to value analysis, negotiations, financing, terms, etc..

The agent can help the buyer find:

  • Real estate attorney:  the title to a property may be clouded or have some limitations; an attorney helps to solve such issues.  I also recommend having an attorney following the transaction closely, starting from the initial offer, all the way to the closing. In many cases there are legal complications the attorney may help avoid or sort out, saving hefty amounts at the end.  It is advisable, when owner financing is considered, to be represented by an attorney who reviews the paperwork.
  • Home inspection specialists: apart from the usual property repairs, and depending on the location of the property, you may want to inspect for termites, dry rot, asbestos, Chinese drywalls, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank, and so on.
  • Lender or mortgage broker:  for those who need financing, you can get pre-qualified, so to understand what properties you can afford looking at.  A good broker will not only find the best lender for you, but will offer different terms to meet your needs.  He will explain which buildings are in good status to receive financing and why.  He will proceed in timely fashion so that you don’t default on your offer-contract deadlines.

Bottom line:

As the majority of properties are listed with real estate agencies, a buyer would still have to deal with an agent  and with the seller  paying commissions to an agency.  Unluckily, while the seller’s agent will conduct the transaction fairly and professionlly, he won’t go the extra mile to help the buyer with most of what was discussed earlier.  There is really no good reason for a buyer not to enjoy the services of a real estate agent.

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