The world of real estate services covers a lot more than just listing properties. It's a good idea to become familiar with some of the basic services most firms offer. Here are three common ones you'll find at most brokerages.
Seller's Agent vs. Buyer's Agent
One thing that's critical to understand is that an agent represents someone in the transaction. If you've looked up a listing and see an agent's name, then that agent represents the interests of whoever is selling the property. Yes, they have a stake in bringing a buyer together with a seller. When conflicts develop, though, it's their job to maximize the return on value to the seller.
You can hire a buyer's agent to represent your interests, too. It might seem a little inefficient to have two agents involved, but you may want to have someone whose interests align with yours.
In both cases, the agents handle basic tasks like comparing prices for the property in question to other offerings on the market. They also can provide boilerplate paperwork for transactions, although it's wise to also hire a real estate attorney to give any contract a good read.
For folks who are seeking properties in new markets, real estate services providers are invaluable assets. Folks in the real estate industry tend to know what's going on in the region. They know where the good and bad neighborhoods are. Likewise, they know which ones are the up-and-comers.
Buy-and-hold strategies, such as becoming a landlord, are perfectly fine in many situations, but it's also good to get an income stream going. With the advent of things like the VRBO market and Airbnb, there are also plenty of ways to invest in properties. A real estate agent can point you to locations that are close to popular landmarks, exciting nightspots, convention centers, and transportation hubs. These will often be more attractive locations.
While people often focus on buildings as the core of the real estate world, there's a lot to be said for developing land. Services providers are familiar with local advantages, such as government-funded opportunity zones. They can point you toward lenders and financing options you may not have considered, too. If you need a contractor who can handle land clearance, grading, and other development issues, an agent can make recommendations. A real estate services firm can even help you find the location with the lowest taxes.