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STEP #1: CHOOSING A REALTOR®
A REALTOR® can inform you of the going price for homes in your area at the current time. This is important because your home is only worth what a qualified buyer is willing to pay at the time it’s on the market. The current real estate market fluctuates based on supply and demand, interest rates, general economic conditions, and other factors.
Why Do I Need a Realtor®?
Your home can be one of your biggest assets. So, when you list your home, you need the right people to know, so you can get the right price. Realtors help protect this important asset.
Listing your home with a Realtor means that more people will know your home is for sale. Your home will be promoted to the right buyers and agents. When an offer is made, skilled negotiators will advocate for you, so that your home is sold for the best possible price.
With a Realtor’s help, you’re also reducing your risks. Without a Realtor, you might have a higher chance of a contract falling through. Or, you might find yourself agreeing to terms or a price that was not what you expected. Realtors are experienced in working with these contracts. So, they can help you navigate the legal aspects of selling, so you’re in control of this important choice.
With local knowledge of the market, Realtors can compare your home with others, and price it to attract the right buyers. With the right price, you’ll find enough buyers to sell your home in a reasonable timeframe – and for what it’s really worth.
What Exactly is a Realtor®?
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People use the terms REALTOR® and real estate agent interchangeably, but that is incorrect. Not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. There are differences between REALTORS® and real estate agents. They are not the same. Although both are licensed to sell real estate, the main difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR® is a REALTOR® is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, the largest trade group in the country.
Every agent is not a REALTOR®, but most are. If you’re unsure, you can ask your agent if they’re a licensed REALTOR®.
The 17 Differences Between Realtors®and Real Estate Agents
REALTOR® must subscribe to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics. There are 17 Articles in the Code of Ethics. To many consumers, this matters. The Code of Ethics is strictly enforced by local real estate boards. The 17 Articles of the Code of Ethics also contains various underlying Standards of Practice. It’s not just a bunch of rules that agents swear to uphold and adhere to because their broker made them join the Board. The Standards are much more restrictive and confining to conduct than those state guidelines governing agents who simply hold a real estate license. Here are 17 things that a REALTOR® promises to do:
- Pledge to put the interests of buyers and sellers ahead of their own and to treat all parties honestly.
- Shall refrain from exaggerating, misrepresenting, or concealing material facts; and is obligated to investigate and disclose when situations reasonably warrant.
- Shall cooperate with other brokers / agents when it is in the best interests of the client to do so.
- Have a duty to disclose if they represent family members who own or are about to buy real estate, or if they themselves are a principal in a real estate transaction, that they are licensed to sell real estate.
- Shall not provide professional services in a transaction where the agent has a present or contemplated interest without disclosing that interest.
- Shall not collect any commissions without the seller’s knowledge nor accept fees from a third-party without the seller’s express consent.
- Shall refuse fees from more than one party without all parties’ informed consent.
- Shall not co-mingle client funds with the agent’s own.
- Shall attempt to ensure that all written documents are easy to understand and will give everybody a copy of what they sign.
- Shall not discriminate in any fashion for any reason on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, handicap, familial status, or national origin.
- Expects agents to be competent, to conform to standards of practice and to refuse to provide services for which they are unqualified.
- Must engage in truth in advertising.
- Shall not practice law unless the agent is a lawyer.
- Shall cooperate if charges are brought against them and present all evidence requested.
- Agree to not bad mouth competition and agree not to file unfounded ethics complaints.
- Shall not solicit another REALTOR’S client nor interfere in a contractual relationship.
- Shall submit to arbitration to settle matters and not seek legal remedies in the judicial system.
The National Association of REALTORS® was founded in 1908 and its members number more than one million.
How to Choose a Realtor® to Sell Your Home
Hiring the right person to sell your home is critical to ensure that you encounter as few roadblocks as possible during escrow and earn a good price for your house. When you choose a Realtor to sell your house, look for an agent with a wealth of experience in the industry as well as selling homes in your price range.
- Choose a Realtor from a reputable real estate office. Bigger real estate offices might have more resources for marketing homes BUT smaller ones may provide more services and offer other advantages, like discounts.
- Ask for a marketing plan. A good Realtor will know how to price your house correctly to attract buyers. Your potential agent should know who your target audience is, have a recommended strategy for giving your home curb appeal and present a plan to market your house using multiple media outlets.
- Check references.Family, friends, and even past employers may all attest to a person’s integrity.
- Ask your potential agent for a list of satisfied home buyer or sellers who completed real estate transactions with the agent.
- Call 2 or 3 former customers to verify that the agent handled their home sale to their satisfaction.
- If any problems were encountered, ask the former customer to share details. Confirm that any issues were taken care of to the satisfaction of all parties involved with the sale.
- Consider the agent’s experience and capabilities. Many people receive real estate licenses each year but only a handful make it a profession. The ideal Realtor has experience and up to date education. Certificates and classroom time through their affiliated Realtors’ Association should be easily verified.
- Find out how long the agent has been selling homes. Veteran real estate agents may have more contacts to help sell your home BUT newer agents may be more enthusiastic about marketing it and more readily available to you.
- Research the number of homes similar to yours that the agent has sold. Consider the number of sales in your price range that the agent has successfully completed and the agents own knowledge of your specific area.
- Avoid agents representing both buyer and seller. These individuals are known as “dual agents” and are technically supposed to work for both the buyer and the seller’s best interests. Since human beings generally have a difficult time exercising impartiality, opt to work with an agent whose commission hinges on their willingness to fight for one party’s best interest.