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Contact Information
Beverly Pardue
Executive Officer

Greater Augusta Association of REALTORS®
1214 Roy Road
Augusta , GA 30909
Office: (706) 736-0429
Fax: (706) 737-9112
EMAIL

GAAR
Online Continuing Education

Why use a REALTOR®?

Can a real estate agent really help me in buying and selling property? The answer is YES!!!

When you're ready to think about buying or selling your property, you need to ask yourself the following questions: Do you have the time, energy, sources of information, and contracts to do the job yourself? If you are one of the do-it-yourself buyer or seller, will the results be as good or better than they would have been if you had professional assistance? Would it go smoother? Would it give you more personal time? Would you have purchased for less. Or sold for more, if a real estate agent was involved? Read the following information and learn how a real estate agent can help you understand everything you need to know about a real estate transaction. This is the time to choose a real estate licensee. When picking a real estate agent, look for one who is also a REALTOR®. A REALTOR® is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, a real estate trade association, and all members agree to abide by a 17 article Code of Ethics. A REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in that search.

Agency Relationship

Determine the type of relationship you will have with your agent.  Download The ABC's of Agency (PDF) for more information.

The Buying Process

The process of buying a home or investment generally starts with determining your buying power; that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a real estate agent some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, they can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders--banks and mortgage companies--offer limited choices. Agents work with many lenders and are knowledgeable about the various financing options available to meet your needs. Most agents will recommend that you get pre-approved for your loan.

Finding

Once you know how much you can and want to invest, the next step is to find the properties available that most closely fit your needs. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available products. Your agent will probably suggest that you make a list of "Most Important Features," and features that you can live without. This will help your agent focus on what's most important to you.

Selecting

Your job is to make the final selection of the right property for you. This is when excitement and emotion run high. Your real estate agent can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning, schools, taxes, etc. There are two things you'll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?

Negotiating

There are a myriad of negotiating factors, including, but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession, and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should also provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

Due Diligence

With a negotiated agreement in hand, it is time to complete the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your agent can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your agent, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.

Financing

Once you have the house you want "under contract," you'll have a specified time frame in which you must obtain the proper financing to purchase the home. If you have not already done so, your agent will refer you to various lenders that can help you secure proper financing.


Selling Real Estate

Pricing

This process generally begins with a determination of a reasonable asking price. Your real estate agent can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing terms, and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

Marketing

The next step is a marketing plan. Often, your agent can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the stability of the property. Marketing includes the exposure of your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your agent acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.

Advertising is part of marketing. The choice of media and frequency of advertising depends a lot on the property and specific market. For example, in dome areas, newspaper advertising generates phone calls to the real estate office, but statistically has minimum effectiveness in selling a specific property. Overexposure of a property in any media may give a buyer the impression the property is distressed or the seller is desperate. Your real estate agent will know when, where and how to advertise your property to obtain the best results.

There is a misconception that advertising alone sells real estate. The National Association of REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends and family, and personal contacts.

Security

When the property is marketed with the agent's help, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Agents will generally pre-screen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

Negotiating

The negotiation process deals with much the same issues for both buyers and sellers, as noted above under the buying process. Your agent can help you objectively evaluate every buyer's proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections, and financing--a lot of possible pitfalls. Your agent can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

Monitoring, Renegotiating and Closing

Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your agent is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Real estate agents or brokers are generally paid through the sales commission paid by the seller when a transaction closes. Agents have expenses and financial obligations just like you, so it will be to your mutual benefit if you choose a real estate agent and stick with that person. The agent will respect your loyalty and respond with a sincere commitment to you.

Why a REALTOR®?

All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR® "R" logo on their business cards or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.

Using a REALTOR® - You Be the Judge!

Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? considering the small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a transaction in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®!

Find out about the REALTORS® strict Code of Ethics .

Consumer Satisfaction With REALTORS®

Nearly eight out of ten consumers believe real estate brokers and sales associates can show buyers a better selection of homes than they can find on their own, according to an independent survey of the general public released by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. Seventy-eight percent of the general public believe real estate professionals offer them a broader selection of housing alternatives than they would otherwise find. Seventy-four percent agree that using a real estate broker saves time, and 70 percent agree that real estate professionals make buying or selling a home much easier.

In another independent survey of more than 1,000 buyers and sellers, most respondents (82 percent) were very satisfied with their real estate brokers/sales associates, and a majority (77 percent) of the sellers felt that the commission they paid their broker was "money well spent." The survey also found that the majority of buyers and sellers (64 percent) were satisfied with the amount of time the process took, and most sellers (87 percent) will use a real estate professional again next time they sell their home.

Clearly, these surveys point to the value of using the services of a real estate professional in the home buying and selling process. In a transaction that has become increasingly complex with the evolution of new financing twists and sales contract intricacies, the real estate professional is often the glue in holding all parties and details together. While technology has brought a wealth of real estate information-including property listings-closer to the consumer, buyers continue to find value in having a real estate professional help them through one of the biggest investments they will ever make-the purchase of a home. And sellers, for the most part, find the money they spend to have a professional handle their home sale, well worth every penny. Buyers and sellers responding to NAR surveys point to real estate professionals' knowledge of the housing market and real estate practices as major factors influencing their decisions in selecting agents.

While there are plenty of real estate professionals to choose from, the best bet in terms of ethical, efficient and reliable service, is a REALTOR®.. Nearly 730,000 of the 1.2 million active real estate licensees nation-wide belong to NAR, entitling them to use our registered mark, REALTOR®. after their name. Unlike many real estate practitioners who are simply licensed by their state to do business, REALTORS® have taken additional steps to become members of the local board of REALTORS® and have agreed to act under and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. This membership obligates them to be honest with all parties involved in a transaction, be it buyer, seller or cooperating agent.

Source: National Association Of REALTORS® Talking Points.