Using a Realtor Can Give Buyers an Edge

two men facing each other while shake hands and smiling

The latest national polling of real estate professionals yields a convincing picture of a market that’s stubbornly remaining in the sellers’ corner. If so, home hunters shouldn’t be surprised to find competition for the homes for sale—and reason to take the two most often-cited preparatory steps for maximizing chances of landing a property they’ve decided on.

The National Association of Realtors®’ latest member survey reaffirms the continuation of buyer competition, in part due to the limited number of available listings. That may be good news for sellers: nationally, homes typically sold in 17 days—a full week faster than last year’s average of 24 days. Buyers, on the other hand, often faced stiff buyer competition for the most appealing offerings. On average, homes that sold received more than four offers.

Experienced buyers could easily see the wisdom of taking the two most universally agreed-upon preparatory steps:

Step 1: Hire a Realtor. This first action demonstrates to sellers that they are now dealing with a buyer who is serious and professional. Sellers who are evaluating competing offers know that when a licensed Realtor submits their client’s offer, it will always be legally correct and constructed in a manner designed to make the response easy and unambiguous. Offers made by non-professionals often create technical and legal ambiguities that veteran sellers avoid. On top of everything, hiring a licensed agent costs nothing since it’s the sellers who pay the buyer’s agent commission after the transaction is finalized.
Step 2: Secure a lender’s pre-approval. The trust established by being represented by a licensed Realtor is sealed when a lender’s pre-approval letter is part of the submission. More than simply demonstrating your solid financial backing, it shows that your offer represents the work of a professional team—a team you have assembled that takes the guesswork out of the seller’s decision. If competitive offers don’t measure up, the seller’s choice is bound to be straightforward.

This August’s market may put sellers in the driver’s seat by providing an opportunity to choose between offers, but it can also be a buyer’s opportunity to get a head start right out of the gate.