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Tips on Choosing a Realtor to Help You Buy or Sell a House

What exactly is a realtor?

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 (which in many cases goes beyond state law). Realtors share information on homes that they are marketing through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). A realtor who is part of the MLS will enable you to learn about a greater number of homes for sale in the Florida real estate market and others.

Obligations an Agent Has to You When Helping You Buy or Sell a House

A real estate agent is bound by legal obligations to the client. Generally, some of these obligations include putting the client's interest above anyone else's, they keep their information confidential, they obey the client's lawful instructions, they report anything that may be useful to the client, and they account for any money involved.

When you sign up with an agent, you should ask for a clear explanation of your state's regulations as far as the duties of the agent so that you will know what is expected for any important matters.

Difference between a Buyer's and Seller's Broker

The seller's agent is solely responsible for keeping the seller's interest in mind and their loyalty is to the seller. It is important to keep confidential information to yourself when dealing with the seller's agent because they may be duty-bound to tell their seller what you  have said. When buying a home, many people will hire a buyer's broker who will keep confidentiality and obedience to the buyer because they owe the full range of duties to their client, the buyer.  The buyer's broker is often paid by the seller, regardless of the agency relationship.

How to evaluate an agent:

  • Find out if the agent is a realtor ad do they have an active real estate license in good standing.(You can find this with your state's governing agency)
  • Does the agent belong to the MLS-multiple listing service and/or a home buyer's search service?
  • Find out if real estate is their full-time career and what designations they hold.
  • Is the agent representing you or the seller? This should be discussed first and foremost before working with them.
  • Find out how the agent will help you accomplish what you came to them for. Will they show you homes that are within your budget and will they give you a list of properties that they are going to show you? Make sure they know that they must help you accomplish these goals in exchange for your commitment.