Tom is president of the Galveston Association of Realtors and writes a weekly column for “The Galveston Daily News”. This is an edited version of this week’s article from the newspaper.

This year I’ve been writing about the things that make Galveston great because I’m passionate about this place and believe that while real estate metrics are important, people don’t choose a home on just the cost per square foot.

I appreciate all the feedback I have received from my columns and am glad everyone is enjoying them. For this week’s column, in celebration of Spring Break, I thought I’d take a little break from celebrating our wider community to talk about a great asset in Galveston County, my community of Realtors.

There will always be people who want to sell their own home. With the increasing popularity of various websites, the temptation is becoming stronger for many people. The most common reason people want to sell their own home is they think they’ll save on the realtor’s fee. As the President of the Galveston Association of Realtors, of course I’m going to say that you should use a realtor rather than try and sell your own home.

Real estate is a big deal. For most Americans, a home is the most expensive purchase they’ll make in their lifetime. It’s a serious transaction with significant financial and emotional ramifications for the parties involved, and having proper representation is critical. There are many reasons why I truly believe that a licensed Realtor is the way to go.

Here’s my top three:
• We do this every day! We know the market.
• We know what your house is worth and we know how to improve the appeal of your house.
• We will get the best price for your house. People who sell their own homes may not have any other option.

Though some people own small multi-family properties solely for investment purposes, others find it advantageous to purchase a property, live in one of the units and rent out the others. In this scenario, you are not only a homeowner, but a landlord too. That comes with benefits (a monthly rent check, equity that continues to build) and responsibilities (making repairs, finding tenants).

It’s also possible to purchase a townhome. Regardless of what a property is commonly called – condo, co-op, lot apartment, townhome, garden home – it’s important to know what legal definitions and documents govern the purchase and ownership of the property – and what those definitions and documents mean when it comes to your continued expenses and ownership rights.

Your Realtor can help you find a property that its your needs and help you understand the purchase process and homeownership.