When it comes to buying or selling a home in Atlanta, there’s no shortage of real estate myths. Home buyers can spin their wheels from misinformation about the realtor’s role in the home-buying process, or worse; they could wind up needlessly paying more for their dream home. Similarly, home sellers can wind up spinning their wheels from misinformation about the realtor’s role in the home-selling process and needlessly sell their home for less than it’s full market value.
Some real estate urban legends are grounded in a truth and others are straight-out false. Many myths metastasize from tales exchanged between real estate buyers and sellers. And since buying or selling a home is an uncommon event in the lives of most people, it’s best to take an experienced realtor along on the journey to ride shotgun. A great Atlanta realtor knows the buying and selling processes and can help you navigate through the maze as your adviser and steer you in the right direction.
Though there’s no shortage of myths that lead buyers and sellers into unwanted outcomes, here are a few of Atlanta’s more intransigent real estate fables:
Buying a home directly from the listing agent without a buying agent cuts out a middleman and saves money.
- False. Real estate commissions are established with home sellers beforehand and are split among the listing agent, the buyer’s agent and their respective brokers. Home buyers do not save by negotiating directly with listing agents. If there was a savings, home sellers would likely object to needlessly enriching realtors. It’s wise to use the expertise of buying agents when buying real estate worth thousands of dollars, especially when the expertise comes at no added cost to home buyers.
Real estate agents are not needed to buy a home with all the necessary information readily found online.
- False. All the information you need to perform open-heart surgery is also readily found online. But like open-heart surgery, even the most mundane real estate transactions are inherently complex. Inexperienced buyers lack the real estate skill set it takes realtors years to refine. Your realtor does more than find homes. If negotiating the price is required, your realtor will be your negotiator. Your realtor will obtain disclosures and make sure home repairs and inspections are satisfactorily completed. She will coordinate the activities of your lender, attorney, inspectors and other professionals involved with your purchase. Finally, your realtor will be your advocate at closing to ensure your interests are protected.
You need 20 percent down to buy a home.
- False. Many qualified younger home buyers – the millennials – are saddled with student loans that make it nearly impossible to scrounge up 20 percent down to buy a home. Happily, cash-strapped home buyers can take advantage of guaranteed loan programs from the federal government. These require as little as three percent down, such as mortgage programs from FHA
There’s no need to have a pre-approval letter to make an offer on a home.
- True and false. Pre-approval letters are not legally required to make home offers. But sellers commonly require some proof of available funds before accepting an offer. It’s best to arrange the financing before starting the hunt for your dream home. If you’re searching for a home in an area where homes sell quickly, you will likely miss an opportunity without having a pre-approval letter that verifies your financial credibility.
I don’t need a realtor until I’m ready to sell.
- False. Realtors come in a variety of styles and personalities. Some may not agree with your preferences. The best time to start interviewing realtors is when you first start thinking about selling. You need time to sort through the differences to find a comfortable fit. Moreover, by choosing a realtor well-beforehand gives you the benefit of the realtor’s expert advice on changes that can be made to your property over time that will make the property easier to sell at top dollar.
It’s best to price my home high to allow negotiating room.
- False. Homes correctly priced from the onset will sell in the least time and net the most money. A realtor will conduct a comparable market analysis that should guide you in setting the price for listing your home. Imagine your discouragement, and negative vibes from the neighbors, from having a home that won’t sell, not to mention the aggravation of keeping your home presentation-ready for a prolonged period.
Realtors Get Referral Incentives from Lenders, Title Companies and Inspectors.
- False. It’s against the law under the Real Estate Settlement and Procedures Act of 1974 – RESPA – to make or receive any form of kickback for referring services needed in the real estate settlement process.
The best realtors always have the highest productivity.
- False. Realtors focused on being top producers have many ways to gain that recognition. Some may not be in the best interests of their clients. As such, the top producer accolade does not automatically signal a realtor is committed to investing the time and energy to serving your interests as opposed to serving his or her interests. It’s okay to be impressed if a realtor is a top producer. It’s not okay to be so awe-struck as to suspend sound judgment. Many outstanding realtors work in the trenches day in and day out in service to their clients and not service to self. Take the time to properly vet your realtor candidates. You must be satisfied the realtor you select as your representative is committed to investing the time and energy to serving your needs ad circumstances.
By far, the majority of Atlanta’s realtors are dedicated to building their businesses by giving their clients world-class professional service. Sadly, many myths about the real estate profession and the real estate buying/selling process persist. Hopefully, this post debunks a few of the more wacky myths. I want to earn the trust of your business and am eager to debunk other myths not covered in this post. Please contact me today.