For many people, buying a home means making the largest purchase of their lives. It’s a big deal, involving many moving parts. In fact, an average transaction can involve up to 10 to 15 individual people! The paperwork is boggling and timing is critical… so hiring a Realtor can certainly help you navigate all of this.
However most people don’t realize that ‘hiring’ a Realtor is doesn’t usually cost a buyer anything. In Humboldt County, the Realtor fees, on both sides of the transaction, are typically covered by the seller. This is great news, because it means you can easily find someone to act as your advocate in this process.
If you go to google and type in “Realtors are…” you’ll get some less-than-encouraging results. The top 4 results are “overpaid, a joke, shady, obsolete…” Yikes! The fact is, Realtors have a fiduciary duty to their clients, which means that we are legally and ethically obligated to act in your best interests. The concept that Realtors are corrupt comes from a time when there weren’t appropriate regulations and standards governing the way real estate is transacted. Nevertheless, you should feel very comfortable trusting your Realtor, because buying a house is personal.
Each Realtor is different, and each company offers different features, so it’s actually pretty important to shop around for the right fit. Some people like contacting a Realtor based on reviews or recommendations from friends and family, while others what a Realtor that specialize in one kind of property type or transaction. Whomever you choose, make sure that you feel like your Realtor is working for you.
There are a few things to look for in a good Realtor, all of which will harmonize your buying experience.
If you’ve called a Realtor and they do not return your call in a timely manner, that is a red flag. It’s amazing how often we hear from clients about Realtors they’ve reached out to who never return their call. If you’re buying your first house, you definitely need someone willing to pick up the phone or call you back.
Your Realtor should be ready to educate you about anything and everything having to do with your transaction. A Realtor may not have answers to every single question, but should be eager and willing to find the answer.
A good Realtor is interested in understanding your specific needs and wants and being able to analyze the market you’re buying in to really guide you to homes that fit your criteria, budget and lifestyle. Finding the right person, means someone who is not only interested in helping you buy a house, but rather, find a home.
Your Realtor should be on top of each and every aspect of the transaction. You should not be reaching out to find out information about how your escrow is proceeding. Your Realtor should communicate with you effectively and often. An active Realtor will be interested in negotiating for you, for coordinating other professionals on your behalf and solving any problems that may arise.
Even seasoned professionals can lose track of the major amounts of paperwork that a real estate contract can involve. An organized Realtor will keep your transaction file up-to-date, will be involved in the timeline of your sale on a regular basis, and will assure that each and every important piece of paper is in it’s place. In an ideal Realtor-Buyer relationship, you would never even notice, because things would flow so smoothly. Unfortunately, the reverse can make buying a house very chaotic, stressful, and may even have legal consequences.