When you are looking for help buying or selling property, it's important to remember that the term 'real estate agent' and the word 'REALTOR®' are not synonymous.
A real estate agent is a REALTOR® when he or she becomes a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS®, The Voice for Real Estate®, the worlds' largest professional association representing over a million members in more than 1,700 local association/boards.
The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.
REALTORS® Code of Ethics
There are many Reasons why you need a REALTOR® to sell your home rather than venturing out on your own to do so!
Selling a house can be a complex process. A Realtor can help you at every stage, from setting a price to marketing the property to closing the sale.
Setting the Price
The selling process generally begins with a determination of a reasonable asking price. Your real estate agent or Realtor can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in your local marketplace, as well as the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in marketing your home and selling it at the best price. Often, your agent can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the salability of the property.
The next step is a marketing plan. Marketing exposes your property to the public as well as to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service, other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, and so on. In many markets, a substantial portion of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. The Realtor Code of Ethics requires Realtors to use these cooperative relationships when they benefit clients.
An agent will also know when, where and how to advertise — which medium, format and frequency will work best for your home and your market. Though advertising can be valuable, the notion that advertising sells real estate is a misconception. National Association of Realtors studies show that 82 percent of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts from previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts.
When a property is marketed with an agent’s help, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Agents will generally prescreen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
Your agent can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing — a lot of possible pitfalls. Your agent can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.
Monitoring, Renegotiating and Closing
Between the initial sales agreement and the closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, there are unexpected repairs that require the buyer to obtain financing, or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your agent is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing.
Getting the REALTOR® Guarantee
All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors are called Realtors. They proudly display the Realtor logo on their business card, website, and marketing. Realtors subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. Realtors are committed to treating all parties to a transaction honestly. An independent survey reports that almost 85 percent of home buyers would use the same Realtor again.
Getting Expert Assistance
Finally, consider the scale of your transaction. Selling your home is one of the biggest financial decisions you’ll make. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to solve it without the help of a CPA? If you had a $100,000 legal question, would you deal with it without the help of an attorney? Considering the relatively small cost of hiring a Realtor and the large potential risk of not hiring one, it’s smart to find a professional to sell your home.
Ron Schmeadick wrote this article for realtor.com