Good reasons your neighbor is not your real estate agent

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Being a licensed professional means that individual has taken the time to educate herself beyond and above.

Just because a pedestrian is familiar with a neighborhood doesn't mean that he has the invaluable knowledge to assist you with obtaining clear title and ownership for your property.

The professional real estate agent, one who has the Realtor designation, will have a network of people to recommend to help you, as well as have knowledge of where to go for necessary information about property that the non-professional will spend countless hours trying to find.

As anyone who is currently interested in or has purchased property knows there is a lot of information that goes into the purchase of property or a home. In order to get the truth about your desired property, a professional real estate agent is a must.

Even though there are a lot of details that can be found quickly and seem to be true, public websites and rumors do not always have the most accurate information and can be misleading. Knowing who to talk to at the community level to find out details takes time and connections that are cultivated while doing business.

A licensed, professional Realtor has professional access to what is currently available, how long it has been on the market and comparable sales; is knowledgeable about community fees and demographics; and has easy access to important details such as: crime, property disclosures, tax records, if there are any stipulations to building codes, plats and property lines, regime and POA fees, covenants and restrictions, OCRM lines, age of the roof and HVAC, floodlines, insurance needs, easement details, renovation details and prior inspection details.

There are market conditions such as cost per square foot and the median and average sales price in the neighborhood. There are contractual details such as escrow monies, how to qualify for a mortgage, which mortgage companies to recommend, what the interest rates are, if there needs to be an addendum or updates to the contract, if the contract represents you fully and if it covers all of the necessary information.

A Realtor is also a negotiator for you with your sale. A professional will not have the same emotional connection with the purchase, and will be able to negotiate for your best interests.

There are many reasons to use a licensed professional real estate agent. These are just a few of them.

Suzanna Rose McDonald is a licensed Realtor with Premier Island Properties, and serves on the board of directors for the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.

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