The terms professional, broker and Realtor are often used interchangeably. But not all professionals or brokers are Realtors. The term "Realtor" 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 some cases goes beyond state law.
Whether you are looking for a Realtor to help you buy or sell a house, you do not want to be part of someones learning curve. One of the first questions you should ask a potential Realtor is how long they have been licensed and how long they have worked in the area.
Friends, neighbors and co-workers are often good sources for referrals. Get as many details as possible about their buying or selling experience with a particular professional. Were they happy with the service they received? Would they use the Realtor again? You can also check the local yellow pages or search the Internet to scope out your options and find leads. If you are selling, look for sold signs in your neighborhood.
Both buyers and sellers should look for a Realtor who is familiar with the area. Ask what they have sold or listed in the neighborhood recently. If you are buying, a Realtor should be able to provide you with information on the community, schools, taxes and other facts. If you are selling, you want your professional to be able to talk to prospective buyers about these details.
Use the Right Type of Realtor
Should you use a conventional Realtor or a buyers broker? Many home buyers do not realize that Realtors legally work for the seller. They are making their commission from the purchase price, so they want to sell a house quickly and for the highest amount possible.