A realtor is a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of Realtors. This association follows very stringent code of ethics and the members work full-time as real estate professionals. They are licensed by the state to help people in buying and selling properties, and need to meet set standards of education, experience, and examinations. A real estate agent may not be a realtor. If you are interested in buying a property, it is better to choose a realtor over a real estate agent.
How to Choose a Realtor
- The first step is identification. You can ask your friends and relatives for referrals, or look for advertisements in websites and local newspapers. Identify around three or four of them, call them up and fix appointments for interview.
- Interviewing realtors will help you in understanding their approach and personalities. This will let you access whether any one of them would be the right person to help you search a home or not.
- It is important to check whether the person you are interviewing is actually a realtor or not. You can ask him to show his work permit so that you can rest assured that you have chosen a genuine agent.
- During the interview ask questions like - how often will you provide new listings? When can I expect to hear from you? How fast will you call back if you miss my call? etc. The realtor's answers to these questions will give you a clear picture about his capabilities and style of working.
- An experienced realtor has more contacts and is generally more updated than newcomers. Therefore, ask for the agent's work experience and try to figure a rough idea about the number of dealings he has conducted so far.
- Ask the agent if he is Internet savvy because agents who are well-versed with the Internet are more likely to send an immediate email about new property listings, and respond to your queries quickly.
- Look for strong negotiation skills. An agent who is an expert negotiator can be of great help in settling issues between the buyer and the seller, and can conduct the whole process in a clever and efficient manner.
- Select an agent who has mostly handled dealings from the buyer's side as he will be proficient in it.
- A realtor who handles property dealings under your price range and understands your requirements will be able to help you better in your search.
- Referrals and testimonial letters can help in identifying a good realtor who knows his business well. Therefore, do not hesitate to ask for these documents during the interview.
- Even though the seller party is liable to pay commissions to property agents, do not simply assume it. Talk about the agent's charges for the complete process so that there is no confusion about it.
- After the interviews, take time to analyze which realtor will be the best for you, make up your mind and appoint him as your property agent.
Selecting a realtor over a regular real estate agent helps, because they can access Multiple Listing Services (MLS) which is specifically available for members. This service informs members about new property listings in a particular area and increases the chances of finding a suitable house for the buyer. You can also choose to buy a house without a realtor, but then, you need to be extremely cautious and take legal advice, if required.
As said before, owning a property is a dream and buying a house involves a lot of money. So it is simply not viable to choose a person who is not competent enough to help you find the best deal. That's why, do all that it takes to find a good and reliable realtor and once this job is done, he will help in cracking the best property deal for you.