Homes are selling in record time all across the country – across the globe, even. Some homes are only on the market for a few days before they’re sold. With such a quick turnaround, you would think selling a home was easy. In reality, there is a whole team of people helping a transaction close, from real estate agents, lenders, and title agents to photographers, home stagers, inspectors, and more. We’ve rounded up the most common roles and talked to some industry colleagues about the importance of their roles. Keep reading for tips on selecting your own PiTs (partners-in-transactions)!
A buyer agent represents the buyer in a transaction, negotiating on their behalf and ensuring the buyer is protected under the terms of the contract. They learn the buyer’s needs, search the multiple listing service (MLS) and their network for homes that match, and take the buyer on property tours. It’s important that a buyer agent educates their client about the home buying process and be able to provide reliable recommendations for other services. A buyer should feel informed and prepared throughout the process and confident in their new home purchase.
A seller agent represents the seller in a transaction, negotiating on their behalf and ensuring the seller is protected under the terms of the contract. They advise on preparing the home for the market, sometimes hiring a photographer and a staging company as part of their listing services. The seller agent will market the home, hold open houses, schedule property tours, and communicate with other agents and interested buyers. A seller should feel confident their agent will help get the highest and best price for their home with little stress on the seller’s part.
A photographer helps present the property in its best light, literally and figuratively – not many people will show up to look at a home they haven’t even seen pictures of. Square Foot Photography stresses that a buyer’s first impression almost always happens online and having great photos will ensure a buyer is left wanting more. There are multiple factors that go into both preparing a home for listing photos, such as cleaning, decluttering, and staging, and taking listing photos, such as getting the right angles and editing to an ideal standard. The photographer should be experienced, detail-oriented, and have an ability to understand what photography services each unique property needs to really shine.
A mortgage broker helps find a loan that fits a buyer’s needs, presenting options from different lending institutions. This differs from a mortgage lender who only works with their own lending institution. Mortgage brokers, like Stephen Roberts with Austin Mortgage Lending, help set proper expectations of the financing process and tell a buyer how much they qualify for (i.e. how much house they can afford). Buyers should feel they’ve been presented with all their options and have made the most sound choice – after all, a home mortgage can be a huge, long-term commitment.
A title agent assists in the transfer of rights and ownership from a seller to a buyer – they actually have a seat at the closing table. Hannah Turnbow, with Priority Settlement Group of Texas, says the most important thing to look for in a title agent is responsiveness. It’s their role to make sure the transaction moves smoothly and on schedule, such as documents being received on time and earnest money being delivered properly. A buyer should feel confident their title company will help them overcome any obstacles to closing that may come up.
A home stager designs the ideal furniture layout and decor to accent the home’s best features, attracting more potential buyers. The seller is more likely to receive the highest and best price when a buyer can picture their daily life in the home. Noleen Bester with NB Designs says there’s a formula to achieve this – it’s about being design-savvy and anticipating and meeting the buyer’s expectations. The most important quality in a home stager is the ability to understand the buyer demographic’s preferences. They should also be certified, insured, and treat the client’s home with care.
A Home Inspector is often hired by the buyer in a transaction to inspect the home for mechanical, structural, health, and safety issues. The inspection takes place before closing, giving the buyer an opportunity to renegotiate or ask for repairs if any problems are found. Inspectors don’t sweat the small stuff, like peeling paint – they only look for major defects such as foundation cracks, water stains, or exposed wiring. Look for an inspector who is licensed in your state, insured, and certified (they’ll have to follow a code of ethics). Always ask what is included; some areas of a home require additional inspection fees.
There are many other roles that play a part in selling a home – each transaction is as unique as the people involved. There are appraisers, real estate attorneys, home insurance agents, escrow agents, and even more niche roles. This can be overwhelming for a buyer or seller, so step one in the process is to find an agent they trust to work for their best interests. A buyer or seller agent should be well-informed of the roles in a transaction and build a network of reliable recommendations in each. The agent who makes their client feel taken care of every step of the way is sure to win the business, today and in the future!