What Can a Realtor Do For You?

A Realtor — often written in capital letters, and a trademarked term of the National Association of REALTORS(r) — is a licensed real estate professional who is also a member of NAR. Realtors must adhere to NAR’s Code of Ethics.

Realtor

A Realtor can assist you with a variety of tasks, depending on your needs. They can perform home inspections, a septic tank test and other investigations to help you avoid surprises later on. Contact Your Home Tampa Bay for professional help.

If you’re buying a property, your Realtor can help you find the right one at the right price. This means he or she will spend time listening to you to understand your real estate needs and then finding properties that fit those requirements. He or she will also be familiar with the local money market, and can talk to you about financing options.

Realtors often work with multiple clients at once, and must be able to keep track of their progress and deadlines. They also spend much of their time preparing and reviewing documents. Depending on the stage of the process, these activities can include writing and negotiating contracts, conducting property inspections, or reviewing closing documents.

While anyone can be a real estate agent, not everyone is a Realtor. In order to earn this title, a real estate agent must be a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). This membership requirement includes agreeing to NAR’s Code of Ethics, which outlines professional guidelines for conduct and integrity.

As a seller’s agent, a Realtor has a fiduciary duty to place the best interests of his or her client first. This can mean advising them to accept a lower offer than they might otherwise prefer, or explaining how problems with a home can be overcome.

Realtors must be able to understand the current state of the real estate market in their area, including information on zoning changes and average housing prices. They also need to be able to supply you with relevant data about utility costs, property taxes, and other factors that might affect your decision to buy or sell.

If you’re buying a property, a Realtor can help you get a good loan rate and avoid hidden fees. In addition, a Realtor can recommend qualified professionals to perform any required investigations of the property. Depending on the property, this may include termite, dry rot or asbestos inspections, and water, well and septic system tests. A Realtor can also arrange for a thorough title search and resolve any issues that might arise, such as unclear deed restrictions or rights of way.

Helping You Find a Rental

Many people may think real estate agents only help home buyers and sellers, but that’s not always the case. Realtors also help renters find their ideal rentals. A rental agent, who is often a licensed real estate professional, uses their market knowledge, connections and online tools to help their clients locate properties that meet their rental preferences. They can help navigate the often-challenging rental process, including helping their clients understand landlord-tenant laws and responsibilities.

Renters often use agents to locate homes that match their price range, commute distance and amenities. They can also help them negotiate with property managers and landlords to secure a lease on their behalf. For example, an agent can help them secure a pet-friendly apartment or a space with flexible terms like temporary walls. In highly competitive rental markets, a Realtor’s expertise can be an invaluable tool for finding a suitable home.

Real estate agents who specialize in rentals can use their industry contacts and market knowledge to identify the best properties for their clients, some of which are not even listed on public rental websites. They can also help their clients avoid common rental scams, such as those that require a deposit before seeing the property or those that charge excessive application fees.

When looking for a rental, it’s important to communicate clearly with your agent about what you want in a home. This includes establishing your budget, understanding local market trends and identifying the type of neighborhood you’re interested in living in. A Realtor will be able to recommend the best neighborhoods based on your criteria and narrow down your options quickly and efficiently.

A Realtor can help you get a head start on your application by working with the landlord or property manager to ensure all of your information is correct before you submit it. They can also help you work through any challenges you might face, such as a less-than-stellar credit report or leaving a previous rental on bad terms.

Renters should be prepared to pay a real estate agent’s fee for their services, which can vary by location. The most common fee is a flat rate equivalent to one month’s rent, although some landlords or property managers will shoulder this fee on the tenant’s behalf.

Helping You Find a Lender

Your Realtor can help you find a lender to finance your home purchase. They can recommend lenders based on your financial reserves, income and debt. However, you should always shop around and ask for recommendations from friends and family members as well. You should also check the lender’s licensing and review customer experience to ensure they meet your specific needs.

Your real estate agent can provide you with a list of preferred lenders, which are those they trust to work efficiently and successfully with their clients. They may also refer you to a lender with a good reputation in your local market. A local lender is important because you’ll be able to meet with the loan officer face-to-face, if necessary.

A trusted lender can help you obtain a pre-approval that gives you the confidence to start shopping for a new home with peace of mind. A pre-approval will include your credit score, as well as a breakdown of how much you can afford in terms of monthly mortgage payments. A reputable lender should also be transparent about their lending practices and provide regular updates as the loan progresses through underwriting and closing.

Some lenders go above and beyond to build relationships with their agents, such as by providing office hours for Realtors on site one or two days a week. This makes it easier for Realtors to contact them when they have questions or concerns. Others will send regular communications to the Realtor and their client to notify them when key milestones are reached, such as when the loan is ready for underwriting or close.

If you choose to work with a lender referred by your Realtor, it’s important to do your own due diligence and make sure they have the right credentials for your unique situation. You should also compare interest rates, fees and terms to other lenders in the area. By doing your homework, you can make the best choice for your next home.

Keep in mind that a Realtor cannot receive kickbacks from a mortgage company for referring you to them, per the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act (RESPA). If a Realtor does receive a kickback, it’s likely in violation of RESPA.

Helping You Negotiate

When you buy or sell a property, the transaction typically involves some form of negotiation. During real estate negotiations, you may have to lower or increase the purchase price of the home, negotiate with sellers on terms and conditions of sale or agree on a closing date. A Realtor can help you navigate these negotiating steps and get the best deal for your needs.

When negotiating, be direct and know what you want. Avoid long conversations and getting off topic. Your agent can assist you with a number of aspects of the process, including determining market value, reviewing and preparing contracts, conducting inspections and appraisals, and arranging loan documents. They can also provide you with information about the neighborhood and schools.

Buying a house can be an emotional process, so you might need to make compromises during the negotiating process. Depending on your situation, you might be willing to clean up the yard in exchange for a discount on the sales price or offer to pay for certain repairs that come up in the home inspection report. A good Realtor will help you find areas that you are willing to budge on to create a win-win scenario for both parties.

As a buyer, you should always be prepared to walk away from the sale if the seller is not negotiable. This will save you time and money on the transaction, and you can move on to another home that fits your needs better.

Investors are a frequent client base for real estate agents, as they often purchase and sell properties quickly. A successful agent can build a business with repeat investors by offering them a lower commission rate or assisting them in finding cash-flowing rental properties.

You can identify a Realtor by their membership in the National Association of Realtors, which includes both residential and commercial real estate professionals. A member of NAR agrees to uphold the organization’s Code of Ethics, which helps ensure that they operate with integrity and are committed to protecting their clients’ interests. If you’re interested in a particular agent, contact NAR to verify their membership and credentials.