(Editor's Note: The Chronicle's real estate guide appears in the second Thursday edition of every month.)
With spring upon us and summer starting June 21, now is the prime time for home sales.
The rains are less frequent, the holidays are behind us, summer fun has not yet started and it just makes sense to get into a house now so you can both enjoy it during the summer and fall; it is also a time to do remodel and landscaping work if needed. For whatever the reason, this is the season for sales.
For buyers, that means finding the right broker and getting started on the hunt for that perfect home. There’s been a trend for some buyers to use outside real estate brokers for a variety of reasons.
The buyer is often from out of town and has real estate relations outside of Lewis County. Brokers often ask why did you use an outside agent? “We went with a good friend of ours” is a common reply.
Some sellers believe they will get more outside exposure by going with a broker from, for example, Seattle or Portland. Or they believe they will get a better deal with a low-cost real estate company promising low closing costs and “guaranteed” sales over a defined time period.
But buyers and sellers should be aware of the advantages of going with “the home team.” Good local agents don’t over promise or over price. You do get what you pay for, and a local broker will see you in the future. Top brokers rely on word-of-mouth reputation for future sales; they don’t try and get the deal done with hard-sell shenanigans.
If you “shop local” by using a Lewis County broker, the money remains in the community, circulating through our local economy. When a broker keeps a deal together and gets paid, it means that broker can go to a local auto sales group for a new car, or shop at a local shop for a new outfit. It means more money spent in local restaurants and area entertainment. Using an outside broker means the a large portion of the closing costs go to support a business out of the area.
If everyone shopped local, from cars to clothes to entertainment to your real estate professional, our economy is stronger, our quality of life is better. And it is not just Realtors, but all the other local support businesses such as mortgage lenders, appraisers and title companies that should be used.
A local broker knows about our floods, our wetlands, our growth areas, the local schools, what makes our communities good. They know when to advise a buyer so they are not surprised at what limitations that may affect their property, or also what might be done right next door.
There is a strong distinction compared to an outside broker. Buyers will spend much less time looking at houses with a local broker who knows the housing stock. Many outside brokers just don’t have the intimate knowledge of our area. Looking up homes on the internet does not match a local real estate broker’s time touring in person area homes that are up for sale.
Add it all up and it is clear: to get your best service in what is often the biggest financial decision a person will make in their lifetime, use a local broker.
Paulette Eaton is a managing broker at RE/MAX Key Land Company headquartered in Centralia and the chair of the Lewis County Chapter of Washington Realtors