Homebuyers, including first-time buyers, usually use the Internet as a way to do the preliminary work of finding homes for sale, collecting information on neighborhoods and considering recent sales. But those buyers often seek the help and counsel of a qualified realtor and it’s important to understand the relationship between a homebuyer and his/her realtor.
The most important functions of a realtor could depend on a number of factors. For certain, your realtor should be negotiating a good deal on your behalf and educating you about the market. Your realtor should provide you with data about comparable homes that have sold, how long homes have been on the market, which homes haven’t sold and all the essential activity that has been happening in a given local real-estate market. Buyers ultimately decide the price and the terms they wish to offer, but a good relationship with their realtor means they should also be able to rely on their realtors to guide them toward an educated offer on a home.
A good realtor also is forward thinking. Many homebuyers, especially first time homebuyers, are not purchasing a home they will live in for the rest of their lives. A good realtor will encourage you to consider resale even as you’re preparing to make a purchase. Realtors can point out potential issues that might affect the resale price of a home and they can suggest small changes to increase the home’s value.
Finally, it’s important to know what a realtor isn’t and what a realtor can’t do for you. Fair-housing laws prohibit discrimination and they cannot steer you away from a particular neighborhood based on his/her knowledge of the area’s demographics. They also cannot explicitly describe a neighborhood based off of demographic criteria. The job of a realtor is to talk about the house, not the people. It’s also important to remember that a realtor is not your lawyer, home inspector, financial adviser, tax adviser, etc. Your realtor can give some general background information in many – if not all – of these areas but they are not experts in these areas.