Choosing the Right Agent

Do I Need an Agent?

Today’s busy world can be overwhelming enough and even more so for those who are thinking of buying a new home or selling an old one. Real estate laws can change quickly and unless you are familiar with the process and, sometimes even then, it can be a challenge to search for the right agent to represent your needs.  

Thanks to the Internet, buyers and sellers have online access to an unlimited number of possible agents and brokers as well as homes and properties. Searching for homes for sale online has become very common.  Sorting it all out can be time consuming and there could be a few landmines along the way if things are not carefully managed. This can be so especially for first-time home buyers who are the most likely to have little experience.

Finding an Agent

Selecting the right agent to represent you in your real estate transaction can be an invaluable partner in the success of a real estate transaction. The right agent or broker can help guide you through each step from the search to the celebration and with their experience they can go a long way in easing the stress that is associated with making what, for some, may be the biggest financial decision of their lives.

Finding an agent with the right skills and experience to help you with your transaction is important. Many home buyers don’t understand the difference between a Real Estate Broker, a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor and why that can be important when choosing an agent. These terms are often used interchangeably. but they are really quite different in the services that they can provide whether buying or selling.

Whats a Real Estate Agent?

A Real Estate Agent is someone who has passed a state licensing exam and has been issued a real estate agents license. An agent can only practice their trade as an agent if they are working for a licensed real estate broker. A real estate agent’s license is issued by each state and, laws can vary in their requirements. However, in almost every state a real estate agent is required to take real estate continuing education course each year in order to renew their license and keep up with the latest real estate laws.

Whats a Real Estate Broker?

A Real Estate Broker has the same educational requirements as an agent , then is required to further their education with additional classes on real estate law and fiduciary responsibility in order to qualify for their broker’s license. In addition to having a fuller education, brokers can also open their own office and sell real estate either acting as the agent or having other agents work for them. As with agents, brokers must also take continuing education courses to keep their license active.

Whats a REALTOR?

A Realtor is a Real Estate Agent, having passed all the requirements and been issued their Real Estate Agent’s licence, who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). To become a member, each applying Real Estate Agent and Real Estate Broker must agree to abide by the association’s high standards and to uphold the code of ethics as REALTORS.

Real Estate Specialties

Also, many agents may specialize in a particular aspect of real estate sales.  It is very common in commercial real estate to specialize in a very specific niche.  Residential real estate, on the other hand, that is less common.  You may find a local REALTOR that specializes in condos, vacant land or foreclosures.  Although real estate agents are generally fluent in all aspects of real estate, when an agent specializes in a specific type of real estate, you can get a higher level of experience in that area.

Making the Right Choice

Whether you are buying a new home or selling an old one a Real Estate Broker, a Real Estate Agent or a Realtor, once licensed, can all legally represent you in any real estate transactions.  The difference is going to be in their level of education and knowledge of real estate law and by their association to a greater body of agents and brokers.

In all cases, an agent or broker legally has a fiduciary duty to treat you and everyone associated with the transaction fairly while keeping your best interests in mind.

When making your decision you should select a real estate professional who you feel confident can guide you through the quagmire of buying and/or selling your real estate. Having a good relationship with your agent is about knowing that there is someone in your corner working on your behalf to get you the best deal possible.

A good agent will keep you informed at every step of the process, and be able to help you do a complete search of any inventory currently on the market including properties that may not be found in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

In compiling data for its 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the NAR found that buyers wanted two things from an agent or broker who represents them: A good reputation in the industry and honesty. In the end, it’s all about what you need and who is the best fit for you.

If you are looking for property in Hawaii or selling a property in Hawaii and need an agent. Please contact me for more information about my services.

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