It is of utmost importance to hire a Realtor and of even more utmost importance to make it a local realtor! Why you say? Why can’t I just hire my brother-in-law up in Northern California to represent me? There are so many reasons:
If you are a buyer, your buyer’s agent needs to be a true expert in the communities you are interested in purchasing. Your agent should be completely versed in the schools, school districts, boundary lines, commuting, type of local building restrictions, etc. Living in the area is really the only way someone could be a true expert in an area. Knowing the neighbors, having dealt with the city building department themself…this is priceless knowledge that can be delivered only by someone who really knows the area. This can save you thousands of dollars in mistakes – the mistake of buying on a “bad street.” The mistake of not knowing that house is in a special “building restrictions” zone.
Also, as a buyer, you will benefit from a local realtor who has insider knowledge that the “lady down the street had her house on the market last year and is still thinking of selling” and maybe that is the perfect house for you. It’s not on the market today, so you wouldn’t have known about it unless a “local realtor” had that special insider knowledge.
Another important reason to hire a local realtor is that they are familiar with the nuances of the specific neighborhood, ordinances etc. This is important if you are a seller as well. In doing a little research on ZipRealty.com’s website I thought I’d check out their comps you could pull up as a “seller.” This is to save some money of course as Zip Realty typically discounts their commission. Here is their comp for an address of a 3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom updated home with nice ocean views from the kitchen and the family room as well as a deck in front of the property. The house was built in 1954 but was updated extensively in 1995. The price range that ZipRealty’s website offers is between $495K – $1.9 million dollars. Now there is a “range” for you.
What are you supposed to do with this comp? This must be a joke you ask yourself. Now a local Hollywood Riviera realtor would of course not even considered comparing this single family home to a condo that sold for $495K. And certainly would have thrown out the $1.9 million dollar sale on the Esplanade. Only a local realtor dedicated to the neighborhood that they service would know each and every property inside and out (these agents have been inside most of the houses in the neighborhood at one time or another.) This is valuable knowledge that you can gleen and it’s priceless.
The last benefit I am going to address in hiring a local realtor in purchasing a home is that they may be aware of the best homes before they even hit the market. As I mentioned above, local realtors know the people that live in the neighborhood that they specialize in. They know whose home is most likely to go for sale before anyone else would know. When there is limited inventory this is valuable information – priceless!
These days you can’t just work off of Average Prices or Average Dollar Per Square Foot to come up w/ Pricing. When comparing property, it takes someone who can back out certan aspects of a home that another home may not have. (Or add in – in the case of a view for instance.) Each home is unique – especially here in the Hollywood Riviera – some have views, some have great floor plans, some don’t, some have been remodeled (some more than others) and it is this specific information that adds or subtracts from the value of a home. You can’t just go by averages these days to price a home. And this goes for both buyers and sellers. It is just as important for a seller to price a home for sale correctly as it is for a buyer’s agent to know the comps when coming up with a realistic offer price for a home. Local Realtors can save a buyers and sellers thousands of dollars.