Why is it important to buy a house with a realtor?
An experienced realtor is very knowledgeable in the fluctuations of the real estate market as it pertains to each township. Given the recent decline and imbalance in the real estate market over the last few years, you do not want to overspend on a property that may not be worth the stated asking price. I cannot stress enough that your realtor must have a wide range of experiences and reviews of their successful accomplishments in sales. Choosing a realtor that may have little to no experience can hurt you during the different phases of your purchase. Ask for references and proof of sold homes as though you were conducting a job interview. You want a pro for this important purchase.
Purchasing a house on your own, without the help of a professional realtor, or buying directly from the owner, often does not get you a better price and there may be hidden issues that may not be disclosed to you.
The real estate market has improved and some houses are selling with multiple offers, but may not always be worth the price. It is important to be careful and have a real understanding of the value of what similar homes sell for. Let your realtor guide you in helping you to make a sound purchase, but also ask for comparative past sales of similar homes. Your purchase is not just a home but an important financial investment.
What sets one realtor apart from another?
There are some realtors that are very ethical, honest and who take great care in devoting their time and efforts in helping to find and negotiate a home for you at a reasonable price and selling your home at a realistic price. For other agents it is just about making the deal or collecting listings. They don’t care if a property is well over market value, your needs may not be their top priority. Other realtors may be working part time, are semi-retired and do not have the time or an understanding of the market. Some may have just become a realtor and do not have the experience needed in this very complex market. You may have a friend that just recently got their real estate license. The question you must consider is: is it worth risking your money with someone or a company that is new to real estate? Would you invest big money with a financial investor that just got their license? The purchase of a home continues to be a sound investment. Whether you are buying or selling real estate, ask for references; look at reviews of their work and their accomplishments. You cannot afford to be careless with your money. You want your agent to look out for your interests.
Should I rely on the Internet for my home search?
Most people today with hectic work schedules begin their search on the Internet. This is fine to a point, but keep in mind that on some of the sites you are not getting accurate “Zestimates” or the house may have been sold already. New Jersey MLS is a great way to navigate because as realtors we must abide by a strict set of rules so the information is going to be the most accurate. But that does not mean you shouldn’t consider known sites where you may find a house that is not listed on NJMLS because it may be exclusively listed, which may give you an advantage before it reaches the NJMLS site. The local paper is another way to find listings both in print and online. This is also a way to start meeting other realtors and getting to know them and their credentials. Just make sure before you begin to work with anyone you ask for a full review of their work including proven sales. Make sure you like your realtor and if at any point you feel uncomfortable, you can certainly try working with other agents until you find the one that best suits your needs and personality. Just keep in mind that eventually you will want a single realtor to look out for your interests, which will equally require your loyalty too. A good realtor is creative, works full time, is a good negotiator, and spends their time searching for a home on your behalf within your budget, and may include homes you may have overlooked during your Internet search.
By Nicole Idler