For most individuals and families, buying and selling real estate is an event that takes place only a few times over the course of a lifetime. I thought it might be helpful to provide a brief overview of some of the ways in which real estate agents assist buyers and sellers when these important events occur in their lives.
Agents’ interactions with owners usually begin when a decision is made to sell a property. The first question that usually arises is – “What’s my property worth?” At this point, the agent will prepare what is known as a probable sale price analysis. Similar properties that are currently for sale, those that are under contract to be sold, and those that have been sold during the past six months to a year will be studied to develop an estimate of the price at which the owner’s home or lot might be listed for sale. Overall market conditions are taken into account as well as the location of the property, its condition, and any amenities or special features that might influence both its marketability and its value.
If the owner decides to sell, the agent then starts the marketing process with a heavy emphasis placed on Internet exposure and promotion to other Realtors. The agent will coordinate showings of the property, and once an offer is received, the agent will assist the owner with negotiations until a contract is reached between the buyer and the seller. The agent then helps the seller to develop responses to inspection related requests and to navigate other activities that might arise between the time that a contract is established until the deed is recorded, and ownership of the property is transferred to the buyer.
Agents’ relationships with buyers usually start with a phone call or an e-mail inquiry concerning properties for sale. During the initial contact, the buyer will express a general interest in purchasing property, or the buyer will request information about a specific property. With increasing frequency, buyers will have already completed a preliminary property search on the Internet. National statistics show that about 90 percent of buyers start their property searches online. Whatever the source of the contact, the opening conversation focuses on clarifying the buyer’s wants and needs in terms of location, number of bedrooms, and price range.
After a thorough search of available properties that meet the buyer’s criteria, an appointment is scheduled, and the agent and the buyer visit a number of properties. Once the buyer has narrowed their selection to the cottage that most appeals to them, the agent assists the buyer in the construction of an offer and helps the buyer with contract negotiations. After a contract has been agreed upon by the buyer and the seller, the agent works with the buyer to identify a lender, a variety of inspectors, an insurance agency, and a closing attorney. Later in the transaction, the agent will guide the buyer through the utility transfer process and will deliver the keys to the home after the deed has been recorded.
As you can see, real estate agents do a lot more work than just putting a sign on a property that is for sale and showing buyers a variety of homes. Whether you are a buyer or a seller, it is important that you select an experienced agent who is familiar with the local real estate market, and one that has an extended network of service providers to support you throughout your real estate transaction.
Questions, comments or suggestions for future articles may be sent to Tom Hranicka at P. O. Box 280, Avon, NC 27915, or e-mail to [email protected]
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