When you google the definition of a realtor, here is what you’ll find: “A person who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land; a real estate agent.” So helpful, right? As a first time home buyer or seller, walking into real estate is like walking into unknown territory: you’re just not sure what exactly to expect! How will having a realtor benefit me? Aren’t there two sides to every contract? What expectations should you have from your realtor?
This blog post addresses some of the most basic questions we have received from first time home buyers and sellers! Since we are directly answering some of the questions we received, we are going to answer them in a Q&A fashion! So, please allow our agents to elaborate in their own words. We understand some of these questions may seem like obvious answers to the home flippers and HGTV fanatics, but bear with us as we start from the bottom and target our first time home buyers and begin elaborating on some more detailed questions in some later blog posts!
1. What’s the difference between a listing agent and a buyer’s agent? Are they both realtors?
Amber: YES! We are both realtors, we both have the same license, and went through the same schooling. Some of us just choose to specialize on one side of the transaction. I’ve used the analogy of a nurse or lawyer. You can get a nursing or law degree, but work in specialized areas. That’s similar to what we do. We all have the same license, but Buyer’s agents have experience in representing the Buyer’s in negotiation, while Alexis specializes on listing houses for sale!
2. What is the purpose of having a buyer’s agent? How will having one benefit your clients?
Kelly: We can guide you through the whole process, refer you to vendors, handle calls from other agents, appraisers, inspectors, schedule showings for you, etc. We know how to navigate the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) where we can access hundreds of listings to find those that best match your needs. Through MLS we can set up a search for you based on your criteria. We can run comparables to make sure that the house is priced right before putting an offer in on the home you want. Having a buyer’s agent helps you by negotiating on your behalf so you leave the closing table with a win! And last but CERTAINLY not least, buyers agent services are generally FREE to the buyer! Why wouldn’t you want to work with one?!
3. What is the purpose of having a listing agent? How will having one benefit your clients?
Alexis: Listing agents know the real estate market and economy. They can give you a realistic and competitive price on the value of your home. We know what buyers are currently looking for in homes today and can give you advice on how to stage your home to sell! We have the marketing tools to market your home to agents and their buyers through a multiple listing service. We handle phone inquiries, showing inquiries, open houses, buyer follow ups, and we actively prospect for buyers for your property! We make sure the potential buyers looking at your home are preapproved and are financially ready to put in an offer. We negotiate on your behalf and help you make counter offers to get the best value for your home. I can understand the appeal to want to sell your home by yourself. However, I think it’s hard to grasp, in the beginning stages, all that comes with selling and marketing a home. We have many For Sale by Owner’s contact us midway through the process of trying to sell their home because it can be a lot to tackle on your own.
4. What should clients expect from their agents before signing a buyer’s brokerage or listing agreement?
Alexis: Transparency! The biggest complaint I hear from clients who come to us after listing with a previous agent is that there was no communication. As an agent, one of your biggest priorities is setting your clients up with expectations about what they should expect next, communicating with your clients constantly, and being transparent about any hiccups along the way. If your realtor can’t do that for you, then you need to get another one. At your listing appointment your realtor should be giving you an in depth report of a comparative marketing analysis, a marketing plan, a list of your current competitors in the market, help on preparing your home to sell, communication on what the process will be like for your clients, etc. Listing a house is so much more than sticking a For Sale sign in your front yard!
Sarah: Right! You should have those expectations from both a listing and buyer’s agent. From the buyer’s side, your realtor should be listening to your criteria and showing you houses within your price range, at the amount of square footage you requested, acreage, etc. They should be able to help you narrow down your options and be consistently and actively look for houses based on your criteria!
5. How does being on a team benefit your clients?
Alexis: We have team members who specialize in each aspect of the home buying process. On top of three Buyer’s Agents, a Listing Agent and Listing Manager, our team also has a fantastic support staff! Our marketing coordinator handles the promotions for all of our listings, communicates with our clients and other agents regarding feedback on showings, scheduling appointments and more! Our team also has a closing coordinator who takes your contract from due diligence to closing and everything in between! If you want to see what role each of our team member’s play, check out our Meet The Team page here!
We hope this answers some of the most basic questions for first time home buyers about what a realtor does and what you should be expecting from them! Stay tuned for the next blog! Don’t forget to submit any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org you might have about real estate! We would love to help clarify the real estate process for you all! 🙂
Until Next Time,
Marketing Coordinator at Alexis Shepherd & Associates
Keller Williams Realty