Make no mistake about it. Buying a home is a big deal and it can be complicated. That's why an agent can help. A good one will make a huge difference. To earn a real estate license, an agent, also called a sales associate, must complete several weeks of study in an approved course and pass a state-sponsored examination.
Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR® or REALTOR-ASSOCIATE®. Only those sales associates who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® may use the REALTOR® or REALTOR ASSOCIATE® designation. These REALTORS® have committed themselves to that organization's standards for professionalism and ethics.
Only you can make the final decision as to what you should offer for a house. However, because of their experience and training, a sales associate can be an invaluable source of advice and guidance as you select and purchase a home.
A sales associate is involved in more real estate transactions in six months than most of us are in a lifetime. Even if you've bought and sold several homes in the past, it's probably been several years since the last time you did. The last home sale in which a sales associate was involved may have been just a few days ago.
If you're new to an area, a sales associate can help you get settled into your new home. After all, it's his/her hometown, too. It's not unusual for newcomers to become good friends with the sales associate who helped them find their new home!
Once you've selected the home you want, your sales associate can be even more valuable. He or she knows what is negotiable in a contract and what is not. They can help you interpret the contract, put together your offer, find financing, and then guide you through the settlement process.
Additionally, because the buyer selects the professionals involved in the settlement such as attorneys and home inspectors, you may want a recommendation from your sales associate. (Note: In some states, escrow companies handle the settlement.)