Value of a REALTOR®
All real estate licensees are not 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 the business card or 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 higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again.
Real estate transactions involve one of the biggest financial investments most people experience in their lifetime. Transactions today usually exceed $100,000. If you had a $100,000 income tax problem, would you attempt to deal with 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 small upside cost and the large downside risk, it would be foolish to consider a deal in real estate without the professional assistance of a REALTOR®.
Why Use A REALTOR®
Today's buyers and sellers agree. In 2012, a full 89 percent of buyers used a real estate agent, and so did 88 percent of sellers. Realtor® representation during a real estate transaction is important for both buyers and sellers. Here are six of the reasons:
When you work with a Realtor®, their fiduciary responsibility is to you. That means you have an expert who is looking out for your best financial interests, an expert who's contractually bound to do everything in their power to protect you. That's big — the value of that commitment cannot be overstated. "For more than 100 years, Realtors® have subscribed to the NAR's strict Code of Ethics as a condition of membership," says National Association of Realtors® President Gary Thomas. "Realtors® have the expertise and experience to help sellers protect their investment and help buyers build theirs."
Complex, ever-changing real estate regulations. Buying or selling a home is not like purchasing a plane ticket. Every home is different, and laws change every year and vary from state to state. Generally speaking, people purchase a new home every 7-10 years, and a lot can — and usually does — change between transactions. Realtors® are immersed in real estate, and they must stay current with all the updates in regulations, laws, contracts and practices. Once you retain your Realtor®, they put that knowledge to work for you.
Help finding the right home, beyond square footage and baths. Browsing online is a terrific way to start a home search — in fact, almost 90 percent of people start their home search online.1 But when it's time to buy, knowing all the pros and cons of a property can help you make the right decision. Realtors® live and breathe real estate, and they can share information about a home that you wouldn't otherwise know. For example, they can tell you about the perils of polybutylene piping (a plumbing material that's prone to bursting), or the concerns with FRT plywood (a roofing material that can spontaneously combust in higher temperatures, like those in attics). Your Realtor® can go beyond the aesthetics and tell you important details about homes you're considering.
Pricing and selling a home. There are lots of sites where you can view price estimates for your home before you list it for sale, but you take a risk using them. In some markets, online estimates can be off by as much as 35 percent, and they often rely on tax records and data that can be as old as 6-12 months. Realtors® know the local market, have access to the freshest sale data, and can price your house in line with the market to maximize your earnings. In 2012, sellers using an agent got $40,100 more: The median sale price for the 88 percent of sellers who worked with an agent was $215,000, versus a median sale price of $174,900 for the 9 percent of sellers who didn't use an agent.
Contracts and negotiations. Finding the right home is the fun part. Then the real work begins.: Today's contracts can be 50 pages long — not counting addendums and riders. Realtors® can help you navigate these complex documents and craft an attractive offer that makes sense for you. Plus, when it comes to negotiation, your Realtor® is your advocate and can bring an objective voice to a very subjective situation.
Following a code of ethics. When you work with a Realtor®, you're partnering with a professional who operates according to a strict code of ethics. In place for over 100 years, the Realtor® Code of Ethics ensures that consumers who work with a Realtor® are treated professionally and ethically in all transaction-related matters.
REALTOR® Designations & Certifications
Designations demonstrate the additional training and professional development that a REALTOR® has attained after getting their initial license. They serve to differentiate members in a competitive market. But it can seem like alphabet soup sometimes when you see all the letters after a REALTOR®'s name. Find out what it all means with this guide to designations and certifications from the National Association of REALTORS®.