So, you want to buy a house. What’s the first step? With so much real estate information available online, it is hardly surprising that most buyers in South Florida — or, really, anywhere — begin searching for a home on their laptops, tablets and smartphones. They can compare features, sizes and prices while learning about neighborhoods and communities.
“But when it comes time to get serious about buying a home, nearly all online shoppers turn to a Realtor® to help them through the many steps of a transaction that might be the biggest purchase of their lives,” says Cheryl Lambert, 2021 president of Florida Realtors and broker-owner with Only Way Realty Citrus in Inverness. “They value the many services a trusted real estate professional can provide, from finding the right residence for their needs to closing the transaction and becoming a homeowner.”
Here are some of the ways Realtors add value for buyers:
• Sorting out online market information. Realtors can draw on the data in the multiple listing service (MLS) to give buyers a better understanding of current pricing and trends in their desired neighborhoods. They can also compare pricing of comparable homes or condominiums to find properties that may be a good value for a buyer.
• Analyzing home sizes and features. A Realtor can point out interior or exterior features of a property that the buyer might otherwise miss, such as the type of interior detail, the size of a balcony or the potential to turn an extra bedroom into a home office or gym.
• Understanding the financial side. Realtors can refer buyers to mortgage lenders who can finance the purchase of a new home. They can also advise on ongoing expenses like property taxes and lawn care.
• Preparing an offer. A Realtor familiar with the purchase process can guide a buyer in preparing an offer, such as including current kitchen appliances in the sale or requiring a satisfactory report from a home inspector.
• Negotiating the purchase. After receiving an offer, many sellers issue a counteroffer as part of the negotiating process. Surveys by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) show that buyers prefer to have a real estate agent represent their interests in negotiating with the seller, rather than doing it themselves.
• “Quarterbacking” the transaction. The value of a Realtor doesn’t end with the finalizing of a sales contract. An experienced real estate agent will stay on top of things like the mortgage, appraisal and insurance aspects, helping the buyer address any issues that arise before the closing.
An experienced Realtor can deliver all these services — and more — to buyers, helping them make a successful transition to the next chapter in their lives. According to the 2020 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers in Florida, 79% of buyers believe a real estate agent is very useful, 85% used one for their transaction and 89% used an agent or broker as a source of information.
While many aspects of real estate have changed through the years, the professional services of a Realtor continue to deliver significant value to Florida buyers in a constantly evolving market.
Florida Realtors® serves as the voice for real estate in Florida. As the largest professional trade association in the state, it provides programs, services, continuing education, research and legislative representation to about 200,000 members in 51 boards/associations. The Florida Realtors® Newsroom website is available at http://floridarealtors.org/newsroom. For more information, contact Marla Martin, media relations and communications manager, at [email protected].