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Do You Need a Realtor?

First of all, what is a realtor, and are they different from a real estate agent? A real estate agent is someone who is licensed to sell real estate in your state. A realtor is a real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and who must abide by the NARís code of ethics.

So is it necessary to hire a realtor when you want to buy a home? While some buyers feel like they can handle the process by themselves, it is wise to have a knowledgeable advocate on your side while you work through the details of home-buying. It is a complicated and potentially overwhelming process.

Realtors have resources that regular real estate agents might not have. Their membership in the NAR provides professional contacts and extra, specialized training. Members of the NAR have professional standards that are not common to the real estate community at large. While a real estate agent can be experienced, ethical, professional, and knowledgeable, they wonít have all the knowledge available to a realtor.

A realtor will have experience handling both buyerís and sellerís markets, and will be able to read the signs of when your area is about to change from one to the other. Most buyers donít have this knowledge offhand. If you need to buy a home quickly, a realtor can help you negotiate using methods you probably donít know.

Another benefit of hiring a realtor is that they have access to real estate listings that arenít open to the public. They can search through databases for the home that meets your exact needs, and can help you narrow down your search. Hiring a realtor reduces the amount of time you will waste looking at homes you wonít end up buying.

Thereís a lot of paperwork that goes into buying a home. There are environmental tests that need to be done, home inspections, titling papers, and more. Your realtor will be familiar with all of these items, and can explain them to you. This is especially helpful if youíve never bought a home before, or havenít bought one in the last ten years. The amount of paperwork has increased greatly in that timeframe.

Realtors also provide a buffer between you and the seller. Sellers are personally invested in their homes, and they might take offense at your criticism of the ugly wallpaper in their bathroom. A realtor handles interactions with the sellers for you, so you can remain neutral and avoid conflicts. They will be your advocate when it comes time to make an offer. A realtor will also be able to spot things in a home that you might not catch until inspection, like structural issues. Finally, realtors are probably more familiar with the neighborhood than you are, and can answer questions you have about the neighborhoodís lifestyle.