BOULDER – This market is hot! You’ve heard it time and again…inventory is low, prices are up, interest rates are good, Boulder and surrounding areas are desirable…it should be easy, right? We can do it ourselves, right? Put a sign in the yard and let the buyers flock in, right?

[pullquote] A professional Realtor has the experience you need to advocate for you and guide you through the buying and selling process.

No…now, more than ever, you need an expert in your corner. Whether trying to buy or sell, a real estate transaction if fraught with legal exposure. In this market, emotions are running high and buying or selling a house is still one of the largest financial transactions you will ever be involved in. Real estate contracts are long and full of dates, deadlines and contingencies that must be maneuvered through to a smooth closing. A professional Realtor has the experience you need to advocate for you and guide you through this process.

A few months ago, a couple was referred to me by a past client. They admitted they were thinking of selling For Sale by Owner (FSBO) because they knew their place would sell fast. I agreed that it would but told them about what to expect and what pitfalls could happen along the way. They listed with me and as expected, we received nine offers on their property within just a couple of days. They were very glad to have my counsel on how to structure the showings, reviewing of offers and response deadlines. We met to review the offers (now on a spreadsheet) and to point out the particulars of each one. It would have been confusing, stressful and exhausting on their own. I know in the end, they were glad to have my help and advocacy.

In buying a property, the market is even tougher. Of course you can look online at the myriad of websites showing homes for sale in the area. Are those websites accurate? Are there listings you’re missing? Having a Realtor as your Buyer’s Agent is what you need. Realtors have the most accurate and up to date information. We often know things about the history of a particular area that my be huge in your decision making. It’s a lot more than showing houses folks….we know neighborhoods, schools, demographics, comparable sales, etc. Once you find a house you like, the game is on. It’s now a race to see who can write the best offer for the seller. It’s often a “stab in the dark” on what price it will take to get it. You may not win on the first, second or even third attempt to get your contract accepted by the seller, but a Realtor can help you put your best foot forward, giving you the best chance possible, while understanding the risks you are taking.

Realtors are much more than just “salespeople.” We are members of our community who live here too. We often act not only as your advocate, but your data analyst, your therapist and often have the only objective opinion in the room. We can be the “cooler heads” when necessary and put things into perspective. We understand that this is a huge, emotional, stressful situation that will effect you and your family for years. We do not take it lightly. We take it seriously.

Yes, you need a Realtor…not a real estate agent…there IS a difference.
The public often uses the terms Realtor and real estate agent/broker interchangeably, but there are differences. BIG differences. Both are licensed by the State to sell Real Estate, both are governed by the Department of Regulatory Agency (DORA) and both have access to the MLS system. But that’s where things start to diverge. Realtors are members of their local trade association (The Boulder Area Realtor Association (BARA) in this case). Realtors are members of the Colorado Association of Realtors (CAR) and members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). As members of these organizations, Realtors have all agreed to adhere to the Realtor Code of Ethics. Real Estate Agents are not required to this standard. The Code of Ethics, among other things, states that:

• Realtors protect and promote their clients’ interests while treating all parties honestly.
• Realtors refrain from exaggeration, misrepresentation, or concealment of pertinent facts related to property or transactions.
• Realtors cooperate with other real estate professionals to advance their clients’ best interests.
• When buying or selling on their own account or for their families or firms, Realtors make their true position or interest known.
• Realtors make sure that contract details are spelled out in writing and that parties receive copies.
• Realtors give equal professional service to all clients and customers irrespective of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, national origin or sexual orientation.
• Realtors paint a true picture in their advertising, marketing and other representations.
• Realtors make only truthful, objective comments about other real estate professionals.

When you work with a Realtor, they have a fiduciary responsibility to be your advocate. NAR Members are required to continue their training by completing a Code of Ethics review course every four years. Realtors must agree to handle any disputes with other Realtors through binding arbitration and be held accountable for their actions. As members of NAR, Realtors contribute to a bipartisan political action Realtor Party that advocates for personal property rights for Homeowners at the Federal level. So if you like your Mortgage Interest Rate deduction, you can thank NAR for their continued support. Most Realtors are involved in their Boards and communities and see the value in knowing about their industry and performing at peak professional levels.

So, yes, you need professional help when considering buying or selling property and yes, make sure your agent is a Realtor…ask them.

Lisa Wade is a Realtor at RE/MAX of Boulder and past president of the Boulder Area Realtor Association (BARA). Contact Lisa at 303.402.5451 or e-mail [email protected].

By Lisa Wade, RE/MAX of Boulder