By Jason Boone

Every piece of data seems to scream that the Bend, Oregon, real estate environment is a seller’s market.

The inventory of homes for sale is at a historic low. The median sales price is steadily increasing. Pending home sales numbers indicate there’s no end to the turnover in sight. These conditions imply that, in spring 2016, it’s not hard to sell a fairly priced home in Bend. So, a seller might wonder if he or she needs a Realtor. Why not forgo the cost of a commission and sell your home yourself?

Even when times are good and the selling is (seemingly) easy, a Realtor provides essential service and expertise. Here are six reasons you should use a Realtor.

1. Using a Realtor, on average, leads to a quicker sale.

In an article highlighting things real estate agents don’t want clients to know, there is a reference to a Northwestern University study comparing for sale by owner (FSBO) transactions and those executed with a real estate agent. Even this “anti-Realtor” article notes that the study found that Realtor-marketed homes, on average, sell quicker than FSBO homes. A shorter time on market translates to savings on interest and taxes.

2. A Realtor has real-time knowledge of current market conditions.

A Realtor is going to recommend an asking price based on data from comparable homes, or “comps.” A FSBO homeowner might think that scouring online records for closed sales on comps will provide sufficient information to set an attractive asking price. But a Realtor with strong relationships and knowledge of the market can get more timely information about comps, information that can be valuable in establishing an asking price. As the “agents don’t want you to know” article notes, “A really good agent who is well connected with other local agents will be able to get a feel for what pending sale prices are by asking around.”

3. A Realtor is bound by a code of ethics.

Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors, and it’s worth remembering that not every real estate agent is a member.  “Professionalism and protection of the public” are hallmarks of the Realtor’s code of ethics. Realtors are required to undergo regular training on the code of ethics.

4. A Realtor can provide valuable assistance in evaluating offers.

For a seller, it might seem easy which of competing offers to accept — the highest, right? In fact, there are other considerations. A Realtor can help a seller evaluate the totality of a buyer’s offer: the strength of the financing, the nature of any contingencies, the amount of earnest money, the desired time to close and so on. A FSBO seller might overlook aspects of an offer — to his or her own detriment.

.5 A Realtor has knowledge of ancillary aspects of the transaction.

The home a FSBO owner is selling might be the first or second he or she tried to sell. A Realtor is much more likely to be well-versed in matters such as home inspections (What should the seller agree to remedy, and what should be denied?), features of the house that must remain (curtain rods? floor-based racks in the pantry? shelving brackets in the garage?) and legal requirements for closing. And when it comes to addressing issues revealed in a home inspection, a Realtor is likely to have relationships with tradespeople who can respond quickly and keep the transaction on track.

6. A Realtor can act as a buffer between the other party.

Selling and buying a home are stressful. For the vast majority of us, a home represents the biggest investment of our lives. It’s to be expected that both the buyer and the seller feel the pressure during the sales process, and without a Realtor, that pressure can evolve into hostility. A seller can offload that stress by using a Realtor. It will be the Realtor, not the seller, dealing with the ninth iteration of a question about the health of the furnace or the age of the roof or the closing date.

Of course, I have a vested interest in the question of whether using a Realtor is helpful. But I firmly believe that my knowledge of the Bend market and my experience in the industry provide value to my clients.

To learn more about the services I offer, to explore the Bend real estate market or get started with listing your Bend home, contact me at (541) 383-1426, or visit Bend Property Search to connect with me through my website.