Getting A REALTOR®

National Association of REALTOR
Millions of people in the United States have earned real estate licenses. However, real estate can be a tough business with a steep dropout rate, and the result is that only a small percentage of those with licenses actively help buyers and sellers today.

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) includes about a million brokers and salespeople, individuals bound together with a strong Code of Ethics, extensive training opportunities and a wealth of industry information. NAR members are routinely active in PTAs, local government committees and a variety of neighborhood organizations.

Buying and selling real estate is a very personal and complex matter. At first it might seem that by checking local picture books or online sites you could quickly find the right home at the right price behind door number 2.

But a basic rule in real estate is that all properties and borrowers are unique. No two properties -- even two identical models on the same street -- are precisely and exactly alike. Homes differ and so do contract terms, financing options, inspection requirements and closing costs. There are many items to consider on every transaction of real estate.

In this maze of forms, financing, inspections, marketing, pricing and negotiating, it makes sense to work with professionals who know the business. REALTORS® serve millions nationwide.

How can you choose?
Look for ones that are active in the community. The real estate business is competitive, local Realtors must fight hard to succeed in repeat business. A good Realtor knows the area specifics for the property represented.

The best place to find a local Realtor is from Web sites, referrals from other Realtors, recommendations from neighbors and suggestions from lenders, attorneys open houses, local advertising, financial planners and CPAs. The experiences and recommendations of good clients can be invaluable.

It's best to interview several Realtors before selecting one professional with whom to work. These interviews represent a good opportunity to consider such issues as references, training, experience, representation and professional certifications.

What you should expect
Once you select a Realtor you will want to establish a good business relationship. Some Realtors represent sellers while others represent buyers. Each Realtor will explain the options available, describe how he or she typically works with individuals and provide you with the agency disclosures (the ins and outs of your relationship with the agent) as required in your state.

Once hired, the Realtor will provide you with information detailing current market conditions, financing options and negotiating issues that might apply to a given situation. Remember: Because market conditions can change and the strategies that apply in one situation may be inappropriate in another, this information should not be set in stone. During your time in the marketplace Realtors should keep you updated and alert you to each step in the transaction process.

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