Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor®
Philadelphia Main Line Homes and Real Estate
Montgomery, Delaware, and Chester Counties
Technology has definitely changed the way we live and work. And it's no different for real estate. Twenty years ago, only real estate professionals had access to home listings. Today, there are multiple resources at consumers' disposal. The Internet has become a popular tool for homebuyers to peruse the listings in any city or state. According to the 2003 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 71 percent of homebuyers used the Internet in their search for a home during the first quarter of 2003.
Besides home searches, consumers can find information about communities, schools, mortgage options, and even property appraisals. With this wealth of information, should you still have a real estate professional represent you during your homebuying process? Absolutely.
Given the sizeable monetary outlay—possibly the single largest financial transaction in a person's lifetime—it seems reasonable, even smart, to call in a specialist.
While in the past, consumers may have seen real estate professionals as simply a person who drives you around from property to property, our role is definitely greater than that. That's only the tip of the iceberg.
Ask yourself, who better to know the exact whereabouts of that 50-mile view, 100-foot waterfall, charming pied-à-terre or new in-town condominium project? A sales professional can be a great resource, especially to homebuyers relocating from other communities. He or she knows the local area including home values, taxes, utility costs, and school data, and may even be knowledgeable about resources pertaining to your special interests or needs. For instance, should you require help relocating an aging parent with you, your real estate professional may be able to direct you to local services or organizations for the elderly.
A sales professional can familiarize you with the processes involved in buying a home, alert you to potential risks, help you determine how much house you can afford, explain alternative financing strategies, as well as provide tremendous moral support.
Another benefit is having a strong advocate during the negotiating process. A sales professional can help you objectively evaluate an offer then work to negotiate a favorable contract. During the process, he or she will review the contract and obligations before you sign, explain how contingencies and release clauses work, and so on.
And something easy to overlook is our familiarity with the complexity and risks inherent in the process. In the years I have been practicing I have been continually amazed at how quickly a seemingly simple transaction can grow legally complex and risky. For example there may not be a legal right-of-way to the property, or just as bad, others may have an easement over the land you're contemplating acquiring. When such questions arise, we will quickly advise you to consult an attorney and other licensed professionals whose services you may require, such as home inspectors, engineers, surveyors and lenders.
As your single point of contact, a sales professional can manage the entire transaction including coordinating inspections, keeping in touch with the other real estate professionals, managing the documentation for the loan process, monitoring deadlines associated with contingencies, providing applicable paperwork, estimating closing costs, and helping prepare for a smooth and uneventful closing.
If you're about to begin the process of buying or selling a home, consider involving a real estate professional. When the stakes are high, it's comforting to have a specialist by your side.
"Real Service in Real Estate." For a personal consultation on buying or selling real estate, Janis Peterson, GRI, ABR, CSP Realtor® can be reached at (610) 642-3744, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Prudential Fox & Roach Realtors® is an independently owned and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc.
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