Gary's Blog

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Why Do You Need a Realtor to Sell Your Property?

"What is a Realtor and why do I need to use one when I buy or sell property?"
One reason to use a Maui Realtor is to tap his or her knowledge about the local market and various government programs that can help get a family into a home. This includes assistance to first-time homebuyers who are currently eligible for an $8,000 tax credit on home sales that close by Dec. 1.
In addition to their market knowledge, Realtors are trained and state-licensed professionals who are constantly updating their skills and knowledge of the market. Maui Realtors also subscribe to a strong multiple listing service that provides them with the latest information on what is for sale and for how much.
State law requires real estate agents to pass tests that require considerable schooling to obtain a license. They are supervised by the state Real Estate Commission.
The term Realtor is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Realtors who are NAR members must adhere to the association's strict code of ethics that determines how we must honestly and faithfully work for the best interests of our clients. Non-realtors are not governed by this code.
When you're ready to buy or sell your property, ask yourself the following questions: Do I have the time, energy, sources of information and contacts to do the job myself? If you are a do-it-yourself person, will the results be as good or better than they would be if you had professional assistance? Would the deal have gone smoother? Would it have given you more personal time? Would you have purchased for less or sold for more if a real estate agent was involved?
Real estate agents, or brokers, generally are paid through the sales commission paid by the seller when a transaction closes. The property buyer does not pay for the services of a Realtor when buying property.
A real estate agent can assist in the selection of a home by providing objective information about each property available. Agents who are Realtors have access to a variety of informational resources. Realtors can provide local community information on utilities, zoning and schools, etc.
There are a myriad negotiating factors, including, but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should also provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you sign the last document. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
With a negotiated purchase agreement in hand, it is time to complete the evaluation of the property. This could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, tests of septic tank and wells, just to name a few. Your agent can assist you in finding qualified, responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property.
Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights-of-access. The title to most properties includes some limitations such as easements or access rights for utilities. Your agent, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.
Finally, there is the closing when the property actually changes hands and the proceeds are distributed. Every area has its own unique customs. In Hawaii, a title or escrow company will handle this process. Your real estate agent can guide you through the process and make sure everything flows together smoothly and there are no last-minute problems that could derail the sale.
Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $300,000. If you had a $300,000 income tax question, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $300,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it can be foolish to consider a real estate purchase or sale without the professional assistance of a Realtor.

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