The Advantages of Working with a REALTOR®
Working with a real estate professional who is a REALTOR® is in your best interest. That's because:
Not everyone who sells real estate is a REALTOR®. Possessing a real estate license does not afford instant REALTOR® status; an important distinction of which you need to be aware. A REALTOR® is a member of local, state and national professional trade associations and, as such, has access to a vast array of educational programs, research and resources. A REALTOR® subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics developed by the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®. REALTORS® pledge to provide fair treatment for all parties involved, protect the right of individuals to own property and keep abreast of changes in real estate practice through continuing education and interaction with other professionals.
REALTORS® also are committed to higher levels of education and professional development; many REALTORS® have earned professional designations or specialty certifications requiring intensive study. For example, REALTORS® who have obtained the Accredited Buyer Representative and Certified Residential Specialist designations have been trained in all aspects of serving as buyers' and sellers' representatives in real estate transactions.
Your REALTOR® can tap into numerous resources, like immediate access to full-time real estate attorneys who can provide objective up-to-the-minute counsel. Your REALTOR® also receives up-to-date information on a wide variety of legal, financial and economic issues and has access to an association with more than 80 years of experience in real estate. And, if things don't work out, your REALTOR® can offer arbitration as a choice instead of lengthy and expensive legal proceedings.
In addition to subscribing to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and belonging to their local, state and national REALTOR® associations, some REALTORS® have undergone additional training to serve specific markets and client groups. If, for example, you'd like to work with a REALTOR® who is familiar with international transactions or a REALTOR® who works primarily with elderly clients, you might want to find REALTORS® who are designated as Certified International Property Specialists (CIPS) or Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES), respectively. To find out about the various designations REALTORS® click here
Working with REALTORS®
For most of us, a home is the single biggest purchase in our lives. The enormity of the financial transaction aside, finding the right home to fit our particular needs and wants is no easy undertaking. Just as you wouldn't buy a car, computer or camcorder without doing some research into various models and prices, you shouldn't consider purchasing a home without some expert advice and guidance. Though some people may think of using the services of a REALTOR® only when selling their homes, a REALTOR® can be invaluable when buying one as well.
For instance, a REALTOR® can help you determine how much home you can afford based on your financial situation and inform you about available financing options.
A REALTOR® also is an expert on the neighborhood, and can provide detailed information about schools, transportation, local taxes and community characteristics.
Using a REALTOR® is also one way of gaining access to homes listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), an important marketing tool used by REALTORS® to inform other REALTORS® about available properties. That means a REALTOR® can give you information about a wide range of available homes from which to choose.
When it comes to finding out if you're paying too much, a REALTOR® can provide you with market analyses comparing asking and selling prices of homes in the neighborhood.
Finally, a REALTOR® can serve as the liaison between you and the seller, bringing to the table negotiating expertise and knowledge about required disclosures and the housing market.
The Right REALTOR® for You
Like finding the right house, selecting a REALTOR® you can trust and comfortably work with is paramount. Just as you wouldn't be casual in the selection of your doctor or your attorney, you shouldn't take the selection of your REALTOR® lightly. Indeed, the best way to find such a professional is through recommendations from family and friends.
Of course, you should interview several REALTORS® before you choose one. If you're selling your home, you should ask the candidates how they plan to market your home, what pricing advice they can offer, and what other suggestions they can provide to further enhance the desirability of your home.
Whether you're buying or selling, ask candidates about the transaction to evaluate their knowledge. Ask for--and check--references.
And, finally, ask yourself whether you will feel comfortable working closely with this individual in the months ahead.