Why hire a Realtor?
There are millions of licensed real estate professionals in the U.S., but not all of them are Realtors. The title refers to professionals who are registered members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and cannot be used by just any other individual dealing with real estate transactions. In other words, Realtors are real estate agents, but not all agents are called Realtors.
NAR members are required to follow the association’s code of ethics, and are exposed to several opportunities to hone their craft. Compared to traditional real estate agents, Realtors regularly attend seminars and earn certification related to the industry. This makes Realtors updated with current market trends, business practices, and interest rates.
If you hire a Realtor focused on your area, you can be assured that they know how to make your property attractive to prospects. Local Realtors are essentially experts in your community because they know what ticks in the area, what the neighborhood wants, and how to help the community become better.
Where can I find a Realtor?
Finding the perfect Realtor to help you sell your home will be easier if you follow these tips:
- Visit realtor.com, one of the largest real estate websites dedicated to offering services by member Realtors. Use the online search field to look for Realtors who are operating in the vicinity where your home is located.
- Look into property listing and directories for a comprehensive list of Realtors. Some of them may be specializing in your area.
- Roam around your neighborhood or community and look for Realtor signs. You may also drop by open houses and ask around for a Realtor.
- Ask your family and friends for referrals, especially those who have recently bought or sold their homes.
- If a real estate brokerage firm is operating in your area, inquire about Realtor services.
How do I choose a Realtor?
Once you get connected with a Realtor, you need to look into the following qualities before finally deciding that he / she is the professional that you’re looking for:
- Services: Inquire about the specific scope of their work. How can they help you sell the house?
- Type of representation: Depending on the state where they belong, Realtors may offer different ways to represent parties in a real estate purchase. Some Realtors represent the buyer, some speak on behalf of the seller, some lie on neutral ground, and some brokerage firms may represent both parties in the same transaction.
- Experience: Ask about the extent of their work in the community where the property is located. You may even ask how many houses they have sold recently.
- Market profile: Some sellers get assurance when they learn how long nearby homes last on the market before they get sold. The Realtor should know these things.
- Home value: Your Realtor must be familiar with recent sales of nearby properties, as well as comparables (or comps) within the same area. If you are looking to choose between a number of Realtors for your home, ask each of them how much they foresee the value of your home to be, and what their basis is for coming up with the figure. You may even request for a written comparative market analysis (CMA) report.
- Marketing plan: Preparing your home for sale is one thing, but marketing them for prospective buyers is an entirely different ballgame. Ask the Realtor how he / she will market your home. Inquire about their marketing techniques and which ones would apply to your property.
- Fee: Contrary to popular belief, brokerage fees are not regulated by government or real estate laws. Instead, they may vary depending on the local marketplace practices. Bottom line, the Realtor will receive commission for their service to you. It might be a good idea to ask them about early cancellation fee, marketing fee, or any other potential expense that is not part of the standard commission.
- Disclosure: Brokers – including Realtors – are required to present a comprehensive agency disclosure statement to the client (you, in this case).
As soon as you’ve chosen a Realtor to represent you, he / she can now place your home on the real estate market for prospects to see. A good Realtor should update you regularly on the market conditions and any inquiries or offers on your property. Make sure that you have set your preferences in terms of communication to your Realtor – method of communication (phone, email, or personal visit) and frequency of updates (daily, weekly, or when something new comes up). Remember that clear and well-defined communication lines are important in ensuring a smooth transaction between you, the agent, and the prospective buyer.
In the same way that you expect your Realtor to act professionally, you should also do the same. This means coming to agent meetings on time and being ready with the necessary paperwork to proceed with the sale.
In summary, a perfect Realtor will represent your best interests. Whoever that person is, he / she will be the face that goes in front of potential buyers. This professional will also handle any kinks that need to be ironed out and address any issues related to the home selling venture. In other words, the Realtor will serve both offensive and defensive roles in the real estate transaction.
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