Choosing your agent could be the most crucial element of the home buying and selling experience. This is where it is important to realize the difference between a real estate agent and a REALTOR®. While an agent is simply licensed by their state to do business, a REALTOR® has taken the additional steps to become a member of the local board of REALTORS® and has agreed to act under and adhere to a strict Code of Ethics. This membership obligates them to be fair to all parties involved in a transaction.
It may seem tempting to try to sell or buy your home without using a real estate professional. But by using a REALTOR®, you have the advantage of information and knowledge through what can often be a complicated and confusing procedure.
With so many resources available, a REALTOR® may be able to help you come out with the same amount of dollars or more than you could command by selling your home yourself.
A REALTOR® is a professional who knows all that needs to be done. They have the experience and resources to advertise, find the homes that suit your needs, and make all of the preparations that save you the time and effort of researching it yourself.
When you are selling your home, an agent who knows the local market can help you set a fair market price. You want to get the most for your home, but overpricing it can prolong the time it sits on the market, making it even more difficult to sell.
A REALTOR® can help you show your home to potential buyers to its best advantage. They will advise prospects of all aspects and conditions of your home and can protect you from later objections.
A REALTOR® can also help you with the home-buying process. Buying a home can be financially intimidating, but an agent can help you determine how much home you can afford and show you some financing methods. The goal of home ownership remains one of the most commonly shared ones, and an agent can show you how to make it achievable.
A REALTOR® is familiar with all the local and current real estate values, taxes, costs and services that could affect your purchase. Your REALTOR® can show you the home best suited to your needs, and can also suggest simple changes that could make a home a good choice. It helps to have someone both objective and knowledgeable when looking for a home to buy!
When buying or selling a home, there are a lot of details that can overwhelm you or be forgotten. Using a REALTOR® is the best way to be sure that you have someone on your side to get you the best deal and see that everyone is satisfied.
Source: NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
Practical Advice for Selecting a Real Estate Professional
|Choose a real estate professional with as much care as you would a lawyer or doctor. Friends, neighbors and co-workers are often a good source for referrals. Ask them about their home buying or selling experience - what kind of service did they receive and would they choose this particular agent or real estate brokerage company again?
In Connecticut, both buyers and sellers have the right to representation in real estate transactions.
Buyers Under CT law, real estate agents must discuss/explain buyer representation with prospective buyers before showing property. A buyer may choose to be represented or to proceed without representation.
A buyer choosing representation will be asked to sign a Buyer Representation Agreement. This agreement is a contract between the buyer and the real estate company and, to be valid, must include the beginning and ending date, the geographical area it covers, a compensation provision, and the signatures of the parties. A buyer who signs the Buyer Representation Agreement can be shown all listings on the market.
A buyer choosing to proceed without representation will be asked to sign the Agency Disclosure Notice for Unrepresented Persons. This document is a disclosure notice, not a contract, and states that the buyer understands that the real estate company represents the seller's interests and chooses to be unrepresented. This disclosure notice is signed when the buyer wishes to see only that company's listings.
Sellers Sellers who choose to be represented by a real estate company sign a Listing Agreement, but how does a seller know which company to choose? Some sellers attend open houses to observe listing agents in action, noting their familiarity with the property, their expertise and professionalism, and others look for "sold" signs in the area, read newspaper ads, and then interview several agents.
When interviewing an agent, some questions you might ask include:
- How long have you been licensed?
- How long have you actively worked in this area?
- Are you a member of the National Association of REALTORS®?
- Do you work full time as a REALTOR®?
- Have you earned any professional real estate designations? Click here to find out why you should choose a REALTOR® with the GRI designation.
- How many home sales have you closed in the last three months?
- How will you market my home to prospective buyers?
- How close are your sales prices to your listing prices?
- How long does it take for your listings to sell?
Once you've narrowed your choice to two or three professionals, you may wish to check with the Connecticut Real Estate Commission at 860-713-6150 or www.state.ct.us/dcp to ensure the agent you choose has an active license in good standing.
When selecting a real estate professional, be mindful that not all real estate licensees are REALTORS®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark which identifies real estate practitioners who belong to the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics.
You can search for REALTORS® by accessing the NAR's REALTOR® search engine.
In the end, it comes down to trust. Whether you are a home buyer or seller, you have important decisions to make and will be relying on a real estate professional for guidance, so be sure to choose a REALTOR® that you feel has the ability and expertise to help you in your transaction.