People have long considered a real estate agent their partner in buying and selling a house, with good reason.
A study shows that FSBOs (for sale by owner homes) got 30 % lower earnings as compared to properties which are agent listed. This means money you thought you saved in agent commissions was lost because you sold your house for a lower price.
That’s why a good agent is important. Whether it involves buying or selling, an agent can sift through the many documents required in a real estate deal. This is crucial because errors or omissions in important documents can cost you money equivalent to the commission you may have originally tried to avoid.
An agent can sift through shortlisted properties based on what you want because they know each house in the market and its corresponding price. This saves you time and frees you from stress.
A real estate agent after your best interest will keep information you provide confidential. They know what to divulge and what to keep from another agent seeking information.
If you have a poor experience, you can always report erring agents to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) granted they are members of this professional group. NAR imposes sanctions on erring Realtors.
Homebuyers who think they have listed everything they want in a house could benefit from a real estate agent’s skills in pointing out problematic areas of the house that may need attention in the future. They will obtain a seller’s disclosure, which is required by law and lists known defects and hazards present in the property.
Home sellers can get comparable sales figures from agents who do market analyses of houses, based on vital factors like residents’ profile, schools, and the absence or presence of crime. They know how mortgage interest rates affect the industry and, therefore, their possible effect on home prices. Their thorough knowledge of buyers’ and sellers’ markets allows them to determine competitive house prices based on data culled from comparable listings.
Real estate agents maintain a wide network of experts in various aspects of buying and selling a house. They can refer clients to trusted contractors, home repair experts, staging firms, title professionals, landscapers, plumbers, electricians, painters, etc.
Agents are also adept in determining the kind of home staging that makes it easier for the seller to sell the property, since they know what a buyer is looking for. They offer sound advice on which parts of the house to highlight and which ones to downplay. They can tell when an entryway needs sprucing up, or whether kitchen appliances have to be upgraded. They can also refer sellers to professional home stagers.
Finally, agents not only have access to homes for sale in official listings, hey know where to look for the best properties that sellers have chosen not to list. Some sellers rely on private, trusted networks to sell their homes discreetly. Experienced real estate agents have access to these off-market properties with the best return on investments. Competition for these hidden gems may not be as stiff as that found in official listings, but may come at a premium.
Real estate agents, Realtors and brokers
For a smooth transaction, buyers, sellers, and renters must always keep in touch with their Realtors, real estate agents, and brokers. Each brings a different set of skills to the table. Here’s how to tell one from the other.
Real estate agents
They carry a professional license to help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. They work for a broker or brokerage company. They must pass the state’s real estate license exam and attend continuing classes to keep their license. They are paid a commission or a percentage of the sale price.
The job requires handling offers and counteroffers between buyers and sellers and answering questions arising from transactions. An agent collaborates with a fellow agent when an offer is accepted. They help clients complete documents and inform them about other musts like home inspections, staging, moving, closing date information, etc.
Listing agents represent sellers and help set listing prices and recommend home updates to raise the property’s value (and the likelihood of a successful sale). They also find buyers and negotiate sales prices and other fees. Listing agents also submit and put required documents on file.
Real estate agents can work as listing or buyer’s agents, but cannot represent both sides in the same transaction.
Commissions depend on the agreement between agent and client (generally the seller). The commission is usually spread out among the buyer’s agent, listing agent, and companies the agents are connected with.
A broker is a real estate agent who furthers their education and holds a state real estate broker license. Unlike agents, brokers can work on their own, put up their own company, and employ other real estate agents. Since they have more experience than agents, brokers take charge of detailed, higher-level paper work and other requirements.
Brokers working with buyers find houses that meet their clients’ requirements. They negotiate for the buyer, draw up offers, and help clients with other requirements until they reach the closing date.
Brokers working for sellers, on the other hand, set the market value of their clients’ properties. They promote these properties on listings, inform sellers about offers, and help process these offers.
Associate brokers carry licenses, but they’d rather work for a fellow broker. They have no brokers or other agents under them. Managing brokers supervise transactions and run day-to-day office operations. They find agents to work for them. They train new staff and management administrative personnel. Principal or designated brokers manage agents and make sure they obey real estate laws. Every real estate office employs a principal broker.
People usually interchange the words “Realtor” and “real estate agent” in describing real estate professionals.
A Realtor ® is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the country’s biggest trade association of real estate professionals. NAR requires members to follow a Code of Ethics that demands transparency and honesty in protecting a client’s best interests. A NAR member may affix the Realtor® trademark to their name.
Realtors must possess a valid and updated real estate license. Their record must be untarnished by disciplinary action due to unprofessionalism and bankruptcy.
NAR’s August 2020 records reveal that there are over 1.4 million Realtors nationwide. Of these, 65% are licensed sales agents, 22% are brokers, and 15% carry broker associate licenses.
How to find an effective real estate agent
A real estate agent who works for and with you is your best ally in finding the ideal house to settle in or rent, and selling property at the right price. You’ll rely on them for the answers to many questions. Therefore, they should be bonafide experts and sincerely want the best for you.
Here’s how you can find the right one.
Experience is important., but it’s not everything. Choose an agent you can relate to, someone genuine and transparent. They must have excellent verbal and negotiating skills, and must be someone you can get along with. Ask yourself if the agent feels right for you.
Look for homeowner referrals
Although most home searches are done online, face-to-face interaction (or through a Zoom meeting) is still the best. Ask homeowners for referrals based on their experience with an agent in the area you want to buy or sell property in. Referrals are the best compliment an agent can get.
Make sure the agent has a back-up team
A support staff can provide a high level of service that can help the transaction proceed smoothly. You can also check Better Business Bureau to make sure the agent’s team is above board.
A friend’s friend is not necessarily the best for the job. Check the agent out on Google and Yelp. Log on to their website. Check their listing and testimonials. Set an interview to get to know them better.
Look for certifications
An agent will try to increase their skills and experience by obtaining certifications that attest to their qualifications. Organizations that offer further training include the National Association of Realtors, the Residential Real Estate Council, and the Real Estate Business Institute, among others.
Find someone who knows the area
You want an agent that’s familiar with the neighborhood and can point you towards towns and cities that offer the best buys for your needs, like good schools, outdoor dining, wellness centers, etc.
Ask about marketing and technical know-how
A listing agent must know how to maximize online resources via hi-res photos, powerful writing, and compelling videos that convince people to act. A buyer’s agent who spots newly listed homes as fast, if not faster, than you is also a keeper.
Find someone who has time for you
Look for someone who is not overcommitted to the point that they cannot take urgent calls. Ask the agent if they’re available to help you stage your home for prospective buyers, or show you around.
Once you find the right person, buckle down to work. Your chosen candidate passed your standards and formed a rapport with you and is therefore the best for you. Here are things to remember to make that business relationship fruitful.
Conduct yourself according to what you agreed upon
Hold your agent accountable to what they promised you when you were shopping for a real estate representative. How frequently are they supposed to update you? And in what manner (call, text, or email)?
When a homeowner agrees to show their house in-person, follow health and safety protocols. Whether or not a seller chooses to observe general guidelines, the important thing is that you come prepared for every scenario.
Masks, sanitizing sprays, and choosing to wave or say “hi” from a distance instead of shaking hands remain your prerogative.
Understand before signing
Always ask your agent to explain a document’s contents. Ask questions until you’re happy with the answer. Agents don’t interpret the law, however. So don’t get their legal opinion. Only lawyers can do that.
Show up on time
Time is precious, especially for agents with other clients. So keep appointments and be there on time. Call the agent if you’re running late, and let them know what time they can expect you.
Trust your agent
You hired your agent for their expertise. When they provide you with data and options, they do so because they know the information will help you make better decisions.
When they give their opinion, listen.
When they offer you a listing that doesn’t quite match your wishlist, find out why – and then have a look.
If you were upfront about your needs and wants, and articulated your home buying goals, your agent will have gleaned enough to offer you viable alternatives.
Work around your own work schedule so you’ll have time for virtual or in-person showings. Remember that it’s not all about your convenience. Think about your agent’s time and the availability of the seller. All must work together to achieve your real estate goal.
Choose Bayfield, WI
There’s no better place to call home or invest in than Bayfield, WI. USA Today named it one of the Best Coastal Small Towns in the U.S.
Nestled in the gateway of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Bayfield is the portal to all 21 of the Apostle Islands’ stunning, wooded terrain.
Residents and visitors alike have made the sea caves, sandstone cliffs, and pristine sandy beaches of this coastal town a main attraction. The caves, accessible by kayak and boat charter in summer, morph into a frozen wonderland in winter. Guests can study ice formations in the caves when the ice within solidifies.
Bayfield has five safe, protected marinas and a host of sailing charters. Boating services are within walking distance from restaurants, stores, and lodging.
Several local, state, and national parks and forests have camping sites, swimming beaches, hiking trails, and fishing opportunities.
Family farms and orchards abound. Fruits, berries, cherries, raspberries, blueberries, apples, and blackberries are sold at the local farmers market and roadside stands. The variety and volume of fruit have made Bayfield the Berry Capital of Wisconsin.
Explore the Apostle Islands
The Apostle Islands National Lakeshore has the country’s biggest, most extensive collection of historic lighthouses. These symbols of a glorious past can be seen from a boat and some are even accessible to the public.
The Apostle Islands’ top attractions include:
- A recreational boating site that seasoned sailors say is the best in the world.
- A sunset cruise on a sailboat that tours you around the islands with a USGC (United States Guard Charter Boat) licensed captain steering the boat.
- Some of the best kayaking in North America.
- Hiking and camping areas in forests, fishing camps, and trails.
- A ranger station and singing sands at Julian Bay, Stockton Island. When the sand in the beach is dry, a section of the area emits a unique sound.
- Boat shuttle service to Oak and Stockton Islands campsites.
- Madeline Island, the biggest Apostle Island, is accessible year round. In winter, when the bay freezes over, an ice road is open from Madeline Island to Bayfield. During summer, ferry trips from Bayfield land in historic La Pointe on Madeline Island, where one can shop, eat, explore the marina, and check into a lodge. La Pointe has a Robert Trent Jones Sr. golf course and a Wisconsin Historical Society museum.
Homes for sale in Bayfield, WI
A Bayfield median home value is $109,000 and median listing price per square foot is $168. Median sale price is $199,000.
As a tourist and resort destination, Bayfield has fewer families with children as permanent residents. Except during tourism season, traffic, noise, and pollution are minimal.
Impressed by Bayfield? Jenna Galegher, broker and owner of Windseeker Realty and her team would like to show you the best of Bayfield and nearby areas like Ashland, Cornucopia, Herbster, Iron River, La Pointe, Washburn, and Port Wing, WI.
Jenna has rave reviews for her responsiveness, helpfulness, professionalism, friendliness, and efficiency. She’ll help you buy a vacation home, a rental investment, or a permanent place to live.
“She did outstanding work for us when we were looking to buy and I am only giving her five stars [even if I wanted to] leave six for her. You won’t be disappointed with Jenna,” says one client.
“Jenna helped me quickly find a piece of land with a view; she kept me informed; aware of what I needed to know and do to complete the deal. She stuck with me and kept me positive thru all the paperwork challenges. I will be thanking her for her help for years to come now I can start `living my dream’ in the Apostle Islands area,” adds another.