A True Story
A buyer went out on their own after seeing several properties with a Realtor. The buyer decided to buy a For Sale By Owner without the Realtor’s help or advice. Because the seller was not willing to pay a Realtor’s fee, the buyer thought they were somehow getting a better deal on the house and would save money. The Realtor got a panicked call from the buyer a few days later asking for help in getting out of the contract because the buyer quickly realized that they had overpaid for the property. However, the Realtor could do nothing for the buyer because a Real Estate Purchase Agreement is a binding legal document between buyer and seller, and without a Buyer Brokerage Agreement, the Realtor had no standing to intervene or offer any services. The buyer was stuck with the house because they had agreed to waive the home inspection and the property appraised for the purchase price. Had the buyer realized the value of having the Realtor to advise on the purchase price and negotiate with the seller, they either would have been able to get a better deal or realized that they were not going to get a good deal, enabling them to keep looking for a home with the Realtor to help them.
Reason #1: Experience
Using a Realtor to assist in the buying of your home is a wise decision because we are trained in the process of buying and selling property, and we know how to help you locate suitable properties, negotiate the best deal for you, and get you through the process as smoothly as possible. Real estate transactions have many moving parts, which can be confusing and frustrating without competent guidance to navigate the entire process from qualifying for a loan to closing on the contract. Even when buying new construction, you should be represented by a Realtor. Many a client has walked into a new construction situation dealing with a site agent who may be a nice person, but is representing the seller. In that situation, without your own Realtor, you are an unrepresented party, with virtually no bargaining power and nobody to look out for your best interests. So, when we ask you to sign a Buyer Brokerage Agreement, we are providing you with a legally empowered representative who is duty bound to work for you. We are licensed by the state, which includes extensive course work and testing, and required to stay current with continuing education classes that enable us to know all of the current rules and regulations and keep abreast of changes in the laws concerning real estate transactions.
Reason #2: Negotiations
Realtors act as your advisor and go-between during negotiations with a seller. There are many issues to consider in fashioning an offer for a property, and we are trained to know what needs to be considered in making an offer, how to put you in the best position to be competitive (especially in a multiple offer situation), and to be aware of the pitfalls associated with certain types of property or demands made by sellers. The Virginia Real Estate Purchase Agreement is a long, complicated document that contains a lot of legal jargon and provides for numerous provisions of the sale of property. There are additional documents that cover certain types of properties that must be included, and we are educated and trained to know the proper paperwork for each type of transaction.
Reason #3: Pricing
One of the most common complaints from buyers is that they feel that they overpaid for the property. Buyers should always feel that they got the best price for the area and the market at the time. We have the expertise and the tools to know when a property is overpriced or priced to generate multiple bids. We can also navigate the mazes of short sales and foreclosures, and provide advice on investment properties. Knowing how the property is priced relative to other similar properties in the area and the general market in the area can be a huge advantage in getting the best deal for you as a buyer. Sellers naturally want to get the most money for their property, and buyers want to get the best bang for their real estate buck. We have a legal responsibility to get the best deal for you and to be attentive to your particular needs in a real estate transaction. We act in a fiduciary capacity, which entails being your advocate in a real estate transaction. It is our primary responsibility in representing you.
Reason #4: Contracts
A Purchase Agreement is a legally binding document between you and the seller. While we are not an actual party to the contract, when there is a Buyer Brokerage Agreement in place, we are legally bound to represent you in fashioning an offer, presenting it to the seller, and bringing it to fruition, also called ratification. We can explain all of the provisions of the contract to you and how each one affects you as a buyer. We are trained to help you complete each part of the contract so that it protects you as much as possible and provides for the most effective arrangements for your benefit.
Reason #5: Understanding of Current Market Conditions
There’s an old saying that the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location! To some extent, it’s true because the market for homes varies from location to location, depending on a variety of factors. Some of those factors, such as schools, demographics, and crime rates, we are not legally allowed to address, but there are many online resources available for buyers to get that type of information. However, we are able to discuss interest rates, older versus newer buildings, areas subject to revitalization, proximity to major transportation arteries, values relative to other properties in each area, and pricing factors that enable you to get the property that is right for you. An area as expansive and diverse and Richmond has a lot of factors that contribute to market conditions in areas of the city, such as availability of shopping, types of housing (condos, townhomes, single family, etc) available, ability to get downtown or to the airport easily, and diverse geographic factors (rural, suburban, urban). In addition, we attend meetings that keep us abreast of changes in metro Richmond and the surrounding counties, as well as bills in the state legislature and nationally that potentially affect the real estate market. A big part of our job is to know the market so that we can provide sound advice to you as the buyer. We also have connections to reliable contractors who can perform needed work on your home when the time comes for you to have your house painted, replace the roof, resurface your driveway, replace windows, and myriad other maintenance issues that keep your home beautiful and preserve its value.
We are available to you seven days a week, and we work hard to ensure that you are well represented from the time you sign the Buyer Brokerage Agreement to the time you sign the closing papers on your home and beyond. We keep in contact and are ready to be of service to you long after you have settled in your new home. Contact us when you are ready to buy your first home, your next home or your retirement home. Whether it’s an existing home, new construction, a single family home or a townhome, we will work hard to ensure that you get the home you want for the best deal you can make. We are ready to be of assistance, and it’s our privilege to be of service to you.
Maryann Whitaker, PhD, MRP, Realtor