Why use a REALTOR®?
All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR ® logo on their business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey recently reported that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.
As a prerequisite to selling real estate, a person must be licensed by the state in which they work, either as an agent/salesperson or as a broker. Before a license is issued, minimum standards for education, examinations and experience, which are determined on a state by state basis, must be met. After receiving a real estate license, most agents go on to join their local board or association of REALTORS® and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, the world’s largest professional trade association. They can then call themselves REALTORS®
The term “REALTOR®” is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics (which in many cases goes beyond state law). In most areas, it is the REALTOR® who shares information on the homes they are marketing, through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Working with a REALTOR® who belongs to an MLS will give you access to the greatest number of homes.
Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime.
How to Evaluate a REALTOR®
In making your decision to work with an agent, there are certain questions you should ask when evaluating a potential agent.
The first question you should ask is whether the agent is a REALTOR® .
Questions to Ask:
Does the agent have an active real estate license in good standing? To find this information for an agent in California, you can check with the California Department of Real Estate.
Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyer’s search service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORS® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region.
What real estate designations does the agent hold?
Which party is he or she representing–you or the seller? This discussion is supposed to occur early, at “first serious contact” with you. The agent should discuss your state’s particular definitions of agency, so you’ll know where you stand.
In exchange for your commitment, how will the agent help you accomplish your goals? Show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you?