You’re ready: You’ve decided to seize the unique opportunities presented by the current housing market. The single most important transaction in your lifetime should not be conducted without the expertise and assistance of trained and licensed professionals, and this is where REALTORS® come in. Chances are you may buy or sell a home again. Developing a long-term relationship with a REALTOR® is the best way to ensure you will be well-armed and informed when making your housing decisions.
What’s Different About a REALTOR®
Working with a real estate professional who is a REALTOR® is in your best interest. Not everyone who sells real estate is a REALTOR®. Possessing a real estate license does not afford instant REALTOR® status–a distinction of which you need to be aware. A REALTOR® is a member of local, state and national professional trade associations and, as such, has access to a vast array of educational programs, research and resources. By being a member, a REALTOR® subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics, developed by the National Association of REALTORS®. REALTORS® pledge to provide fair treatment for all parties involved, protect the right of individuals to own property and keep abreast of changes in real estate practice through continuing education and interaction with other professionals.
REALTORS® also are committed to higher levels of education and professional development; many REALTORS® have earned professional designations or specialty certifications requiring intensive study. For example, REALTORS® who have obtained the Certified Buyer Representative and Certified Residential Specialist designations have been trained in all aspects of serving as buyers’ and sellers’ representatives in real estate transactions.
In addition to subscribing to the REALTOR® Code of Ethics and belonging to their local, state and national REALTOR® associations, some REALTORS® have undergone additional training to serve specific markets and client groups. If, for example, you’d like to work with a REALTOR® who is familiar with international transactions or a REALTOR® who works primarily with elderly clients, you might want to find REALTORS® who are designated as Certified International Property Specialits (CIPS) or Senior Real Estate Specialists (SRES), respectively. To find out about the various designations REALTORS® hold, click here.
The Right REALTOR® for You
Like finding the right house, selecting a REALTOR® you can trust and comfortably work with is paramount. Just as you wouldn’t be casual in the selection of your doctor or your attorney, you shouldn’t take the selection of your REALTOR® lightly. Indeed, the best way to find such a professional is through recommendations from family and friends. Of course, you should interview several REALTORS® before you choose one. If you’re selling your home, you should ask the candidates how they plan to market your home, what pricing advice they can offer, and what other suggestions they can provide to further enhance the desirability of your home. Whether you’re buying or selling, ask candidates about the transaction to evaluate their knowledge. Ask for–and check–references. And, finally, ask yourself whether you will feel comfortable working closely with this individual in the months ahead.