It’s vital to understand how to choose the right Realtor®. Like selecting any service professional – from an accountant to your family doctor – it’s important to do your homework before deciding on a real estate agent. Your home purchase or sale likely represents one of the most significant financial transactions of your life and you definitely want to find the right agent for you.
Why the Right REALTOR® Matters
Upon beginning your search, you’ll find that many agents specialize in areas beyond general residential properties. You’ll find specialists in luxury homes, distressed properties, international transactions and more. Before you dive in, it’s important to determine whether you’re dealing with a specific property type and/or a certain market segment – high-end homes, retirement communities, etc. This will help you from the start.
It’s equally important to find an agent who can get the job done. Although your uncle’s friend may dabble in real estate, ask yourself if he’s really the person most qualified to help you buy or sell your home. Personal referrals are great, but only if they’re based on relevant criteria.
Abilities matter. Production matters. You want someone with experience, education, and a proven track record of successful closings. On all counts, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates is a solid place to start your search. Nobody in the world sells more real estate than RE/MAX and RE/MAX agents collectively hold more professional designations than agents at any other real estate brand.
Questions Every Buyer Should Ask
If you’re a buyer, you’re looking for someone who knows the market inside and out, someone who can help you find the right house and help you make it yours. Whether you create your list of candidates through referrals, online searching, or other means, you’ll want to meet at least three candidates to see if they fit your needs. Let them tell you about themselves and find out what skills and abilities they’ll bring to the table on your behalf.
Here are just a few questions to consider asking:
Questions Every Seller Should Ask
Before you sign a listing contract with an agent, interview at least two or three candidates and consider asking the following questions:
RE/MAX BUYER TIP: Once you find an agent, communicate your price range from the start, along with the types of properties and neighborhoods you’d like to look at (and what you’d like to avoid). This will help your agent select properties that most closely match your preferences.
The Difference between a Real Estate Agent and a REALTOR®
People use the terms REALTOR® and real estate agent interchangeably, but that is incorrect. There are differences between REALTORS® and real estate agents. They are not the same. Although both are licensed to sell real estate, the basic difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR® is a REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®. As such, the main difference that you hear a lot about — but are likely confused about — is that a REALTOR® must subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. But what does this mean to a consumer?
The Code of Ethics is strictly enforced by local real estate boards. The Code contains 17 Articles and various underlying Standards of Practice. It’s not just a bunch of rules that agents swear to uphold and adhere to. The Standards are much more restrictive and confining as to conduct than those state guidelines governing agents who simply hold a real estate license. While there is no evidence nor guarantee that all REALTORS® are morally or ethically better than unaffiliated real estate agents, it is an attempt by the industry to regulate and, as such, deserves recognition.
Keeping mind, of course, that even the non-NAR member “real estate agent” is held to the same legal standard, as a practical matter.
Here are 17 things that a REALTOR® promises to do that non-affiliates do not:
Full disclosure: Michael Lange is a REALTOR®.
The National Association of REALTORS® was founded in 1908 and has more than one million members.
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