Licensed Broker Roles in Pandemic: Benefits of working with brokers
Working with a real estate expert this pandemic has never been more important, especially with the social distancing and mobility restrictions in place.
The Internet may have allowed Filipinos to start the homebuying process, but there’s nothing more comforting and assuring than going through it with a real estate broker.
Buying a new home can be an exciting experience. For some, it may signify the start of a new and fresh future for themselves and their families. Buying a home for other people may also signify a financial milestone as an income earner.
But where do you start the exciting journey? Regardless, whether you are looking for something of a starter home, or looking to upgrade your current one, seeking a little more modern home that your current one, or a place with an open plan concept, the first step is usually seeking properties for sale.
The Internet and the proliferation of listing platforms and social media, at first, seem to make this homebuying step easier and quicker. Anyone can simply go online and type in the right keywords to find a condo unit, townhouse, house and lot, or raw lot in a location. Anyone can go to a real estate platform or a listing website to see what properties are available at what budget in a particular location. Moreover, it seems to be easier to get what a property they are interested in actually looks like, including the neighborhood where it is located.
Then you send a message to whoever listed the property online, which is usually a real estate broker or the broker’s agent. A real estate broker is a great asset to have, especially for first-time homebuyers. A real estate broker can truly spare any home seeker the hassle of buying a condo, townhouse, house and lot, or even a raw lot. With a real estate broker, even a first-time homebuyer will have the best possible chance of finding and purchasing their dream property on their own terms. A real estate broker can also help you determine exactly what you are actually looking for, in what price range, and negotiate preferable terms towards realizing your homeownership dream.
Real estate broker vs. Agent
The terms describing these real estate professionals are used interchangeably most of the time, but they are not exactly the same.
When you make an inquiry on a listing for the first time, chances are you are talking with a real estate agent. A real estate agent is licensed to help homebuyers buy or rent real estate.
A real estate broker, on the other hand, can do the same thing as a real estate agent do, and so much more. A real estate broker has completed additional training and licensing requirements by law, and can work independently. Unlike real estate agents who work under a sponsoring broker or a brokerage firm, a real estate broker can work independently also. This means that inventory-wise, a real estate broker has more access to properties secured from professional connections or networks, and is not reliant on what he or she has on hand. A real estate broker seeks out sellers, real estate agents, or brokerage firms who do have access to the properties that might fit your property profile.
Working with a real estate broker
A real estate broker can go beyond representing a hombuyer’s interest when purchasing real estate. Here are the many benefits of working with a real estate broker when buying a home in the pandemic:
1. You get better access to homes.
Sure, you have access to thousands of listings by typing in a few keywords. But working with a real estate broker will help you refine your home search because they definitely know the local market inside and out. The sheer number of property listings online, no matter how refined and specific your search terms are, will still get you overwhelmed.
Moreover, not all available properties for sale are listed online. Real estate brokers not only have access to the same property listings you see online, they also have access to those that are not listed. As such, a real estate broker can be very helpful because the broker is both knowledgeable at what you are looking for, and can present unlisted or upcoming properties for sale that better suit your needs and you may have otherwise missed out.
Real estate brokers not only know what properties are actually out there in the market, they are also updated with the going ons in the neighborhoods these properties for sale are located. For example, if you are looking for a property that is located five minutes away from your son’s school, a real estate broker may be able to present real estate options that can improve your quality of life (ex. bus or train routes, better neighborhood security). If you are, as another example, zeroed in on a property that you think ticks all of your boxes, a real estate broker may be able to pinpoint important information that do not show up in the listing.
2. You get better terms.
Homebuying may seem to be transactional, but it is nonetheless an emotional process. For most folks, buying a home is the biggest investment in their lives. As such, getting a good deal that will not only allow them to enjoy their home, but also pay it off in affordable terms and earn equity quickly.
An experienced real estate broker can navigate through the available term options and help ease the burden of choosing one that’s best for you. They can also help you identify hidden ownership costs that could otherwise, you may have overlooked, and could cause ownership expenses that can result to a payment default in the future. For example, during the condo turnover, a real estate broker will be able to identify which areas that require improvements, and negotiate with the seller to address them as part of the total contract price. If conducting a property inspection on your own, these areas may have gone unnoticed, and could mean more money to spend in repairs.
Also, having a real estate broker to represent you in these technical aspects of the homebuying process prevents you to make emotional decisions. Real estate brokers are unbiased and have no emotional attachment, as it is their job to get you the property deal that you deserve.
3. You get expert guidance and support.
A real estate broker can provide you with guidance and support through each step of the homebuying journey. For a first-time homebuyer, this is a big deal. A real estate broker will make sure you are on top of the process, and have all the information and options you need in order to make informed decisions. A real estate broker can also help you make better decisions by letting you see certain aspects of your choices. For example, a real estate broker can help you understand why a house and lot of a certain design may not work for you, or why the terms offered in a sales contract may not be beneficial to you in the long run.
By the same token, a real estate broker will also be able to provide you expert advice in terms of understanding the potential of your selected real estate. For example, a starter family initially settling on a townhouse unit may change their mind if a broker finds a house and lot in the same neighborhood that comes with a yard and extra land to add or extend the home. The real estate broker will also make sure that any important regulatory concerns are disclosed before you sign the sales contract.
4. Your broker will make sure everything is documented.
The sales contract is not the only legal documentation you will encounter when you buy a home. Some of the legal documents you will encounter include:
- Contract to sell
- Bill of sale
- Affidavit of title
- Seller’s affidavit
- Transfer tax declarations
- Written offer
These documents also comes with legal jargon that can be difficult to understand, especially for those who do not know the law. A real estate broker can help you navigate these legal jargons, and also highlight important terms in the documents, including terms and protective clauses in case the seller falls short in honoring the end of the bargain.
And well after you have signed the sales contract, there are still additional documentation that you need to prepare yourself with. As a new buyer and ownership rights and responsibilities, processing them on your own can be a real hassle and stressful activity. Thankfully, a real estate broker can assist you with this even well after the sale so that you can perform your obligations well and on time. A real estate broker will also help track all the paperwork needed, and file copies that you may need down the road.
5. You get peace of mind and protection.
Transacting most of your real estate activities online can be a scary ordeal, especially in the era where there’s so many scammers on the market today. But buying with a licensed real estate broker ensures that your money is not only safe, but also well-spent. A real estate broker makes sure that the price for the house, condo, or townhouse is bought at a fair market price, and if lucky, on a discount. A real estate broker’s resources go far beyond what a homebuyer can accumulate on their own, working with one will make any homebuyer assured that they get the best possible outcome in the real estate transaction.
Moreover, real estate brokers are governed by code of ethics implicit in their trade. This means essentially that real estate brokers are obliged to honor rules and laws that were put in place to protect the position of their client homebuyers. This means that real estate brokers by law need to collaborate with homebuyers true to code and regulatory guidelines. And if you are buying a home for the very first time, getting the services of a real estate broker is essentially gifting yourself peace of mind and protection you would not get if you decide to directly work with the seller.