The Importance of Using a REALTOR®

Buying or selling a home can be one of the biggest financial decisions in a person’s life. If the purchase or sale is not handled correctly, there can be serious financial consequences. To help guide you through the process, and ensure your investment is protected, it is important to enlist the help of an experienced REALTOR®.

Selling Your Home

Sellers who choose to go through the process alone often do so believing they will save money. However, most sellers have an emotional attachment to their home, making it difficult for them to be objective. Keller Williams Realty-East Broker and  REALTOR® Kim Dunham says that in most “for sale by owner” situations, the owner tends to overprice the home, which can actually end up costing them more in the long run.

“The first 7-10 days that a home is on the market are critical,” said Dunham. “If the home is overpriced, the seller could miss some of their target buyers or potentially turn off buyers completely. A REALTOR® knows the market and we bring an objective perspective. We will price the home correctly and fairly, and get the seller the most money possible in the shortest amount of time.”

In fact, a study conducted by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) found that most homes sell for 3 to 9.5 percent more when sold through a REALTOR®.

The real estate market can also change very quickly. A REALTOR® is immersed in the market daily and is aware of trends and price increases or decreases. They stay up-to-date on real estate laws and regulations, so you know you are always getting the most current information.

In addition to price and market knowledge, a REALTOR® has access to a large network. The NAR says approximately 82 percent of real estate sales result from agent contacts with previous clients, referrals, and other sources.

Buying a Home

Approximately 90 percent of people begin their home search online, which is a great way to start. However, when it comes to making one of the biggest financial decisions of your life, a REALTOR® will know much more than what the web can tell you.

“We are working in these markets every day and we know the areas well,” said Dunham. “There is so much more than just the aesthetics of the home.”

It is also important for buyers to understand that real estate rules and regulations can vary dramatically not only between states, but also between counties and cities. Your expert REALTOR® knows these nuances and will make sure there are no surprises during the closing process.

Once you find a home, the actual purchase process begins, which can be extremely stressful and complicated. REALTORS® can help walk you through contracts, which can be sometimes be 50 pages long. A REALTOR® is your advocate during these negotiations, and will bring an objective voice to a process that can be very emotional for both the buyers and sellers.

“When both parties come face to face, emotions come into play,” said Dunham. “When emotions enter a negotiation, it generally fails. By having an unbiased person represent you, the process is factually based and not emotionally driven.”

Perhaps one of the more important things to consider is that when you choose a REALTOR®, you are working with someone who operates according to a strict code of ethics. The NAR Code of Ethics has been in place for more than 100 years and ensures that consumers are treated professionally and ethically during all stages of the real estate transaction process.

Dunham herself has served on the grievance panel for the NAR’s Code of Ethics committee and has seen firsthand how seriously this code is taken.

“I love being held to a higher level of accountability,” said Dunham. “This is not just a bunch of arbitrary rules, these standards ensure that clients receive honest and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters.”

While some buyers and sellers still choose to take on this process themselves, most people understand the importance of using a REALTOR®. In fact, about 88% of home buyers purchase their home through a real estate agent or broker.

If you are getting ready to buy or sell a home and want to find a trusted REALTOR®, visit the Greater Lansing Association of REALTOR®’s website at