Finding a REALTOR®

Why Use a REALTOR®?
Buying a home is one of the most significant financial investments most people make in their lifetime. A REALTOR® can help you make it an enjoyable, hassle-free experience. Remember, not all real estate licensees are 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 business cards and 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 high level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate.

Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power – that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you.

Your agent has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties that meet your specific criteria. Your agent can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents have access to a variety of informational resources. Agents can provide information on utilities, zoning, schools and local amenities. They can also help you decide whether a particular property will provide the environment you want for a home or investment and whether the property is likely to have a good resale value when you are ready to sell it.

Your agent can help you negotiate purchase price and terms. There are many factors that play a role in the negotiation process, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase.

Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. This could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, mold, faulty structure, roof condition, plumbing and air conditioning, just to name a few. Your REALTOR®can assist you in finding qualified, responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports.

Your REALTOR® will help you access a preliminary report on the title of the property you’re interested in buying. Your agent, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.

Your REALTOR® can help you understand different financing options and identify qualified lenders, guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.

Questions to Ask When Choosing a REALTOR®

How long have you been in residential real estate sales? Is it your full-time job?
While experience is no guarantee of skill, real estate, like many other professions, is mostly learned on the job.

What designations do you hold?
Designations such as GRI and CRS (which require that agents take additional, specialized real estate training) are held by only about one-quarter of real estate practitioners.

Will you represent me exclusively, or will you represent both the buyer and the seller in the transaction?
While it is usually legal to represent both parties in a transaction, it is important to understand where the practitioner’s obligations are.

Can you recommend service providers who can help me obtain a mortgage, make home repairs and help with other things I need done?
Because REALTORS® are immersed in the industry, they are wonderful resources as you seek lenders, home improvement companies and other home service providers. Practitioners should generally recommend more than one provider and let you know if they have any special relationship with or receive compensation from any of the providers.

How will you keep me informed about the progress of my transaction?
Do you want updates twice a week or do you not want to be bothered unless there is a hot prospect? Do you prefer phone, e-mail or a personal visit?

Could you give me the names and phone numbers of your three most recent clients?
Ask recent clients if they would work with this REALTOR® again. Find out whether they were pleased with the communication style, follow-up and work ethic of the REALTOR®.

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