REALTOR® vs. Real Estate Agent
There is a difference:
Ever wonder what the difference is between a REALTOR® and a real estate agent? You might think it’s just another way of saying the same thing. It’s not. Only real estate professionals who belong to the National Association of REALTORS® (as well as the state and local associations) can call themselves REALTORS®.
A real estate agent holds a state license but a REALTOR® has taken the extra steps to join the local board of REALTORS® and subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics. In other words, REALTORS® have to be fair to everyone in a deal because they answer to their peers.
Now you might be saying, “I can represent myself in the deal and I’ll save money.” Think of it this way: with a good REALTOR® you have an experienced professional who can guide you through the tricky stuff.
- REALTORS® have access to many resources they may be able to get you a better deal, so that extra money you were planning to save by representing yourself will be covered.
- A REALTOR® will handle everything for you – from advertising to research to all that boring paperwork, so you’ll save time, too.
- A REALTOR® knows the market and that will also save you time. If you try to sell your home by yourself you run the risk of overpricing it, prolonging how long that “For Sale” sign sits on your lawn.
When it comes to the buyer, a REALTOR® is the best person to negotiate the ins and outs of the sale. A REALTOR®:
- Knows how to show the home best, protecting you later on if you get a difficult buyer
- Guides you through the financially intimidating process of buying a home
- Helps you determine what you can afford and how to pay for it
- Know the extra costs that go beyond the “For Sale” price – like taxes, closing costs, mortgage prices and down payments.
Hiring a REALTOR® makes the process easier:
Buying or selling a home can be daunting, requiring many professionals taking you through every step. Or, you can go it alone. But an estimated 85 percent of real estate transactions occur with the help of a REALTOR®. An NAR survey of recent home buyers and sellers found that sellers using a REALTOR ® fetched a median home price that was 16 percent higher -- $230,000 vs. $198,200.
A REALTOR® is the best option. Relying on a REALTORS® experience makes financial sense: Your REALTOR®:
- Can give you up-to-date information on what’s happening in the market and the price, financing, terms and conditions of competing properties
- Markets your property to other real estate agents and the public
- Can recommend repairs or upgrades that make it a lot easier to sell your home
- Gets the word out about your property to other agents
- Will know when, where and how to advertise your property
- Screen homebuyers and lead the tours through the house
- Deal with all that paperwork and the technical questions.
Choosing a REALTOR®:
- Interview at least three REALTORS® before deciding
- Choose a REALTOR® with experience
- Ask for referrals and follow up on them. Talk to past clients.
- Don’t just settle for the REALTOR® asking for the lowest commission. You wouldn’t go for the least expensive surgeon if your life depended on it, so why go cheap on such a major investment?