Turn to a Realtor® for professional homebuying assistance
Buying your dream home in Central Florida is exciting, whether you’re selecting a second home for family vacations or a new place to set up permanent residence. However, it can be a challenging experience as well, especially if you’re relocating from outside of the area.
When you’re buying (or selling) a home in Orlando, it’s wise to work with a state licensed real estate agent. However, not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Only those who belong to the National Association of Realtors® along with their state and local Realtor® associations can call themselves by that term. Your Realtor® can be the most important ally you have during the sale or purchase of a home in Orlando.
Realtors® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge about the process of buying and selling real estate than what is demanded by the state of Florida’s licensure standards.
Advantages of using a Realtor®
- Trust: Realtors® are obligated to follow the Realtor® Code of Ethics, which means they owe their clients full fiduciary duties including loyalty, confidentiality, accountability, and full disclosure of all pertinent facts. Essentially, a Realtor® is a consumer’s trusted advocate.
- Training that’s second to none: All Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors® and their local Realtor® associations, and they are obligated to follow the codes and standards that ensure Realtors® offer the highest levels of service and integrity.
- Financing help: At the heart of it all, the buying and selling of homes are complex financial transactions. Realtors® deal with these every day, so they are well-versed in financing options for consumers. Because of this knowledge, your Realtor® can be an invaluable resource for sorting through pre-qualification, approval, and even negotiation of mortgage rates. And, through their network of contacts, Realtors® can help you find the lender that can best meet your needs.
- Getting a great deal: Realtors® know their stuff — and they know the market. Whether you’re buying or selling, your Realtor® can tell you what similar properties have sold for in your target area; how long they were on the market; how they compare; and whether they’re overpriced, underpriced or at a fair value. That knowledge helps you get the best deal possible.
- Finding just the right home and neighborhood: Whether you want a house in a suburb with great schools, a bungalow near downtown or a high rise condo, your Realtor® can help you find it. And if you’re not so sure what it is you want, a Realtor® is prepared to help you determine your priorities and direct you toward properties most likely to fulfill your wish list.
- The Realtor® multiple listing service: Out of all the reasons to use a Realtor® for assistance in the purchase or sale of a home, one reason stands out: Realtors® have access to a multiple listing service.A multiple listing service (MLS) is a Realtor®-owned, shared database of homes available for purchase. These highly sophisticated databases are used by cooperating Realtors® to both market a seller’s home and to find the perfect home for a buyer. Most MLSs offer advanced features ranging from automated tax and mapping functions to market calculations.
In Orlando, the local MLS also offers a companion site just for consumers, www.myfloridahomesmls.com. Consumers can use the site to search for homes by criteria such as size, location, and price range, and, of course, view plenty of photographs or videos uploaded by the homes’ Realtors®. The site is even available for mobile device users!
- Negotiation: Your Realtor® has been to the bargaining table many times on behalf of clients. One of their most important jobs is to help you get the price you want on the home you want – whether it’s a buyer’s, a seller’s, or a neutral market. Because your Realtor® often has this information at the ready, it will put you in a position to negotiate the best price and take advantage of any opportunities.
- Deciphering contracts: Negotiation and contracts go hand in hand, and your Realtor® is a pro at facilitating this process. In fact, Realtors® have at their disposal dozens of forms and contracts for all types of circumstances, and many of these forms are not available for use by agents who are not Realtors®.
- Inspection and evaluation: Once you’ve found the house of your dreams, your Realtor® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the home. Depending on the area and the property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structures, roof conditions, septic tanks, and underground wells, just to name a few.Your Realtor® can assist you in finding qualified, responsible professionals to do 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. Title can be particularly convoluted on homes that have been foreclosed upon or are being sold under a “short sale” agreement.
- Closing: Finally, there is the closing, or settlement, aspect of the transaction. Your Realtor® will be with you every step of the way as you sign document after document, answering questions and making sure everything goes smoothly.
To find an Orlando Realtor®, or for more information about Realtors® and Orlando real estate, visit the Orlando Regional Realtor® Association website at www.orlandorealtors.org.