Why Use a REALTOR®?
So shouldn’t you work with a REALTOR® to get the best advice possible for that investment?
REALTORS® Facilitate the Process
A REALTOR® is a client advocate, the market expert and the negotiating tiger all wrapped up into one independent contractor. Because REALTORS® are usually solo practitioners, they wear many hats. They are sales people, but they are also marketing directors, social media managers and data analysts all in one.
A rising number of home buyers are using REALTORS®. About 88% of home buyers purchase their home through a real estate agent or broker—a share that has steadily increased from 69% in 2001, according to the National Association of REALTOR®’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.
Homeowners rely on REALTORS® to help them find the most qualified buyer and to navigate the home selling processes. Rules regarding home sales are always changing, and it is the REALTOR®’s job to stay on top of those market dynamics and pass along their expertise to their clients.
REALTORS® direct their home-buying clients to the best financing options for their situation, and they steer all their clients to make better decisions in preparation for the home buying or selling process.
For instance, a homeowner who wants to list their home might be advised to take a home equity line of credit (HELOC) before listing to make necessary repairs—because once the property is listed, a bank will not lend on that property. A buyer might be advised not to buy a car before starting or closing on a home purchase, because such a big ticket purchase would change their debt-to-income ratios and might disqualify them for a home loan.
REALTORS® Offer Great Resources
REALTORS® know the best contractors and can refer them easily to new homeowners and potential sellers. They are the link between all things real estate and the novice.
One of the REALTOR®’s most important roles is as the unbiased voice of reason. The REALTOR® is the objective set of eyes in the transaction. They help sellers see outside their personal connection to a property, and they help buyers stay level when faced with a multiple-bid situation.
A REALTOR® can help a buyer save money and help a seller to make the most money. Because they go through the home buying and selling process daily, they can warn clients of potential dangers and looming changes.
For instance, when Congress threatens to eliminate the mortgage-interest deduction, REALTORS® are at the forefront of the fight rallying to voice their support and save the measure. They are the link between housing policy and the consumer.
A REALTOR® maintains a customer-focused approach. Showing properties and writing offers is just a percentage of what happens in the course of the typical REALTOR®’s day: no two days are alike, and no two transactions are alike.
The REALTOR® is the only constant in the real estate transaction. Can you afford not to have that experience on your side?
Article courtesy of REALTOR.com
Choosing A REALTOR®
You will likely rely a lot on your own instinct, too, to decide whether you are compatible with a particular agent and will feel that he is someone you can trust.
One more step you can take is to understand your REALTOR®’s training. In fact, the first step is to check that your sales agent is indeed a REALTOR®, which means she is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and therefore adheres to NAR’s code of ethics.
Designations REALTORS® Hold
While all licensed real estate agents must meet the minimum requirements of their state laws, you may also have noticed a string of letters attached to the REALTOR®’s name on a business card. These abbreviations mean that the agent has taken additional courses, has documented experience and has passed a test to earn a particular designation. The following list of designations shows the most common designations and what they mean to you as a buyer.
ABR—Accredited Buyer Representative: As a buyer, you may want to look for someone with this designation since it means the agent has taken a course in buyer representation, passed the test and has extensive experience with buyers.
ABRM—Accredited Buyer Representative Manager: This designation is for brokers, owners and managers who have documented experience and education managing agents who represent buyers.
ALC—Accredited Land Consultant: If you’re looking for land to build a custom home, you may want to consider this type of specialist.
CIPS—Certified International Property Specialist: If you want to buy overseas or you’re from another country and want to buy in the United States, a CIPS designation means the REALTOR® has specialized in the international marketplace.
CRB—Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager: This designation means that the broker or owner of a real estate company has completed advanced classes and has extensive experience.
CRE—Counselor of Real Estate: Membership in this elite group of REALTORS® is by invitation only to professionals with extensive experience.
CRS—Certified Residential Specialist: If you want a REALTOR® with more experience and access to a network of other highly successful agents, you may want to look for one with a CRS who therefore has advanced training as a listing agent and buyers’ agent.
Green Designation: Buyers interested in finding an environmentally friendly home can work with an agent with a green designation who has more knowledge about this type of dwelling.
GRI—Graduate REALTOR® Institute: Graduates of the REALTOR® Institute have received extensive additional education related to residential real estate.
MRP—Military Relocation Professional: This certification emphasizes experience and education with current and former military personnel and their families.
RSPS—Resort & Second-Home Markets Certification: If you’re in the market for a vacation home, look for an agent with this certification.
SRES—Seniors Real Estate Specialist: REALTORS® with this designation have expertise meeting the needs of buyers and sellers over age 50.
Your choice of a REALTOR® should be based on interviews and research, but you can also check on their designations to see whether their experience and education meets your needs as a buyer.
Remember, 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®.