Home ownership is still the cornerstone of the American dream. In this age of online shopping for everything from toothbrushes to houses, many consumers are becoming confused over the importance of using a Realtor and working with just one Realtor.

Here is some important information that all Realtors wish buyers and sellers knew.

First, Realtors are not just agents. They are professional members of the National Association of Realtors and subscribe to its strict code of ethics. This is the Realtor difference. Be sure to ask about this professional affiliation when interviewing agents.

Second, regardless of the amount of public information that is available to buyers and sellers online, your Realtor is still your very best source for the true facts concerning a property.

Because many online sources pull from public data sources that are often incomplete and inaccurate, do not be fooled by websites that state a current value of property you may be selling or purchasing. Rely on the expert advice of your Realtor in determining value and evaluating comparative properties.  Also, remember this most important word regarding all real estate: LOCAL. Regardless of what you see and hear on network TV channels, it is not always relevant to the Pine Belt.

Third, work with only one Realtor. This is probably the single most important thing all Realtors wish clients would do. If you are a seller and have signed a listing agreement, you are contractually obligated to that broker so it is vitally important that you honor protocol and direct all questions and concerns regarding your property to your agent. It gets very sticky when agents receive calls from another agent’s client.

If you are a buyer, please know that it is not necessary to call real estate yard signs. Your Realtor can show you any property on the market and under most circumstances, this is a free service to you as the buyer.

Do you pull your own teeth? I’m sure the answer for anyone reading this article is no, of course not!  Even though you may have some limited experience with pulling your child’s baby teeth, if you needed dental care, you would use a professional who is well trained and skilled. So why then would you not use a professional to buy or sell real estate?

Because of recent changes in laws and regulations, it is more critical now than at any time in the past to hire a professional Realtor whose full-time job is assisting clients in getting to the closing table. Don’t try it alone. According to the National Association of Realtors, only 8 percent of home sales last year were those in which the seller went through the process without an agent. This is the smallest percentage since NAR began tracking these sales in 1981.

Unrepresented sellers often mistakenly think they will save money by foregoing professional advice and representation, when in reality the median selling price for agent-assisted sales is documented as being higher. It is simply not safe to allow strangers into your property. Your Realtor will prescreen and accompany qualified buyers through your home.

Most consumers sell only a few homes in a lifetime, usually with several years in between each sale. Professional Realtors handle hundreds of transactions over the course of their career. As Realtors, we realize that a home is so much more to all consumers than just a house. We want to be your trusted adviser and allow you to have an objective third party to help you stay focused and meet your real estate objectives.

An article I had written for the Hattiesburg American Newspaper: 
http://www.hattiesburgamerican.com/story/news/local/2016/02/13/facts-realtors-wish-all-consumers-knew/80326796/