Finding someone to represent you in a real estate transaction is usually challenging. Thanks to the Internet technology, not only can you find a real estate office on almost each and every corner, but you also get access to an endless number of potential brokers and agents.
Sorting through all of this can take time and be filled with pitfalls along the way, especially if you’re a first-time home buyer. Fortunately, there are real estate professionals who can always help.
The question is, which one should you work with – agent, broker or realtor? A lot of times, these terms are used interchangeably and by people who don’t really understand their differences. A real estate agent, for one, is an individual who’s finished some basic training classes and passed a state licensing examination. In short, anyone can practice as a real estate agent as long as they work under a licensed broker. Also, they have to take continuing education courses as a requirement for renewing license periodically.
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On the other hand, a real estate broker, is required to take more classes in different subjects before they qualify to take the broker’s license exam, and take continuing education courses to keep their license active. However, unlike sales agents, brokers can work independently, that is, without being affiliated with another real estate professional.
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Both real estate brokers and a sales agents, as long as they are licensed, can represent buyers and sellers legally in any real estate transaction. One thing they are not allowed to do, however, is use the title, REALTOR(R), unless they are actually members of the National Association of REALTORS(R) (NAR). NAR, which owns REALTOR(R) as a trademark, is known for its very strict Code of Ethics.
A Buyer’s Agent and Reasons You Need One
No matter the strength or weakness of the your target area’s housing inventory at any certain time, there are real estate professionals who are not keen on pursuing potential sellers for the purpose of racking up listings.
But some agents and brokers actually prefer to only represent buyers, hence they are known as buyers’ agents. They do not need a special license for this, but the NAR has instituted a certain course of study for those who want to be an Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR(R)).
Aside from finishing this course, agents and brokers with this accreditation have also worked on a minimum of five transactions acting exclusively as the buyer’s representative. Certainly, they also have to be members of good standing of NAR and the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council. As a first-time home buyer, there is no doubt that having a buyer’s agent represent you, is a good step to take, what with their in-depth knowledge and experience with buyers and the buying process.