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Why You Should Hire A Realtor In The Mountains, Buying or Selling

So, after visiting the Cashiers Highlands area of Western North Carolina your family has decided that you want a mountain getaway of your own, but you just do not know where to start. Many people start their search on their own, but hiring a realtor in the mountains to buy or sell your home is an extremely important decision that could save you time and money.

According to The National Association of REALTORS®, NAR, 47% of buyers start their process researching properties online. 18% start their property search with the help of an agent. In the end, 89% of buyers are using an agent to conduct a transaction for property.

We know everyone is on Zillow, Realtor.com and other similar websites that consumers can easily see and watch listings as they come and go. These websites are linked to the multiple listing services (MLS,) that real estate agents use to market property. Often the information is not entirely accurate, but close enough for you to weed out some and highlight others.

On the selling side of things, only 10% of sales in 2022 were FSBO (for sale by owner,) and that was up slightly from the previous year of 7%. Most of the FSBO sales were sellers who knew the buyer and were able to conduct a transaction outside the use of real estate brokers.

Zillow and Realtor.com are great tools for consumers to use, but in the mountains of North Carolina, especially here on the plateau (Cashiers, Highlands, Sapphire, Toxaway, Glenville), it is extremely important to have a broker on your side during either the buying or selling transactions. Real estate agents are professionals who are licensed by the state and are held accountable to certain regulations, laws and ethics. They are also students of the market and have studied the larger real estate market and know the neighborhoods and communities. They know the strengths and weaknesses of certain communities and are more apt to be able to guide you to a neighborhood that best suits you. Now it is true that many people have come to the mountains knowing exactly where on the Plateau they want to be, but others need some guidance and there is nobody better suited than a real estate agent. Preferably one that has been referred to you by someone you trust.

Buying a home in the Cashiers-Highlands area can be complicated from start to finish. There are some things that real estate agents are familiar with that a consumer may not. A local real estate agent will know what communities have HOA or POA’s and what are those restrictions and covenants say about what you can and cannot do with the home you are buying. Homes could be in the same area and have wide variety of price ranges due to unique circumstances. Views or water features on a property can influence the price of a property as well as useable acreage versus acreage that is on a hillside and not useable. These features can often be deceiving on a listing and an experienced realtor will help you determine the true value of a property.

When it comes to inspections, most consumers will think a general inspection is adequate, but did you know that inspectors in NC are not required to inspect a roof? Or that most HVAC systems are checked to just make sure the temperature is correct when it is turned on? Do consumers know how important a septic and well inspection is for them to have done? Do they know the right person to call to inspect the chimney? So many things go into buying a home in the mountains and making sure it is a good purchase. You do not want to try to wing it on your own because cutting corners now could cost you much more down the road.

Even on the financing side of things, a real estate agent will help guide you in understanding what needs to be done and when. In the mountains, getting appraisals can be challenging. Cashiers and Highlands do not have a lot of appraisers living here, so most come in from out of town to do an appraisal job. This costs them time and travel money so typically a lender may have to offer a little more than normal to cover those costs. Most real estate agents understand this and keep the lending process on track for you. Just remember, real estate agents are working for you, and if you are using a buyer’s agent to find a home, typically that commission they are getting paid is coming from the seller, so there is no money out of your pocket to use their services.

If you are on the selling side of a transaction, you want to hire the real estate agent that has a good network that is far-reaching in that eight to ten hour driving radius that most of the homeowners in the mountains come from.  You also want to hire a company that has a social media presence and is actively promoting properties. Listing your home on the Multiple Listing Service is one thing, but to promote it on other platforms is what can make a big difference in the visibility of the listing. If a real estate firm’s website or social media is lackluster, your property’s promotion will most likely be lackluster as well. Find the real estate firm that is putting money into their website and their social media. Select a firm and agent that will be the face of your property, one that you get along with and preferably one that is recommended to you. You may want to ask for two to three recommendations and hear a proposal from all of them. Selling a home takes partnership and teamwork between the homeowner and the agent, so make sure you find someone who you can work with throughout the process!

When buying property in the mountains of North Carolina, you will want to find an agent who is knowledgeable, personable, connected and fun! At the end of the busy day of seeing multiple houses, can I go have a coffee or a beer with this person and still feel comfortable?  Buying real estate, especially in the mountains, should be something fun and exciting, not painful, boring or worrisome. Select someone who is recommended to you and has testimonials from other clients that speak to you. You will be spending a lot of time with your agent, so it is important you get along with each other as well as trust their advice.

Whether buying or selling real estate in the mountains of North Carolina, having an agent represent you is very important. They are valuable resources and can make the selling or buying experience mostly pain-free, but more importantly, make your decision making much more sound financially and emotionally.

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