For potential homebuyers or sellers, the personalized attention and expertise of a real estate agent can make all the difference. In the National Association of Realtors 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 87% of homebuyers reported purchasing their home through a real estate agent, and 88% of buyers would use their agent again. The survey is a testament to the fact that a real estate agent does far more than just buy or sell houses. The best agents forge a relationship with their clients and simplify the real estate buying or selling process by playing several important roles, including:

  •  Teacher, by answering questions and helping to navigate a home purchase, sale, legal paperwork or financing options
  •  Confidant, who can listen to concerns, fears, and proactively address them; and
  •  Guide, walking people through the homebuying or selling process and the nuances of the local neighborhoods, communities and schools

Real estate agents are teachers

Real estate is a world packed with information. It can be overwhelming, and the information keeps changing. Housing markets can be impacted by interest rates, job growth, and the local economy. New mortgage regulations such as the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule may be confusing to homebuyers, and then, of course, there are the nuances of the towns, school districts and commute.

Many people turn to the internet searching for information on the real estate market. Even then, the most avid of researchers often end up frustrated and overwhelmed. That’s where a great real estate agent comes in, someone to help make sense of all the statistics, facts, and trends.

Real estate agents can teach you about the local housing market. Does it currently favor buyers or sellers, a trend that can vary dramatically by region. Should you put off a home purchase or strengthen your confidence that now is the right time? What about the market value of the homes on your short list? Real estate agents are familiar with tools such as the Comparative Market Analysis (CMA), which shows the selling prices of similar recent sales. Agents know the factors that have generally influenced past purchases and sales in the neighborhood such as the schools, the local job market or the property tax burden.

Homeowners can also turn to their real estate agent to learn homeownership “basics.” Agents often advise on everything from home upkeep and maintenance to inspection requirements and future renovations.

Real estate agents are confidants

When it’s time to make what may be possibly one of the biggest purchases of your life, it’s natural to be nervous. A highly-rated real estate agent is a trusted confidant. (S)he will listen carefully to what buyers want in a new home which may include a place to raise a family, an investment property, or a suburban home base at the end of a long workday in the city. An agent gathers all of this important information and will work hard to ensure that goals turn into realities!

As a confidant, real estate agents can give you the “inside scoop” on a specific neighborhood or house.They can disclose neighborhood characteristics that may affect quality of life such as school reputation, walkability and family-friendliness. They will also know potential negatives like large construction projects or new development plans. In turn, people will confide lifestyle preferences, property must-haves and school needs to their agent.

Real estate agents are guides

Buying or selling a home is a journey. There are house and lifestyle decisions, neighborhoods to choose from and schools to evaluate. Homeowners, particularly in New Jersey, need to understand the property tax trajectories of the different communities and whether private school is a sensible option. In and of itself, the real estate negotiation process is nerve-racking and one fraught with questions:

  •  Will an offer be accepted?
  •  How many other potential homebuyers are looking at a home, and am I a strong contender?
  •  Will the seller come back with a counteroffer?

An agent can allay these fears, be part of the journey and keep negotiations on track.

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in northern New Jersey? As a real estate agent with over 18 years of experience serving the northern NJ market, I would be happy to be your teacher, confidant, and guide. I am thrilled to have been named the #1 agent for Weichert, Realtors company-wide in 2015 based on Total Volume and Units, and I would love to assist you. Call Victoria at (973) 220-3050 or email me at victoria@victoriacarter.com.

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