It can be daunting to choose someone to represent you in a real estate deal. But thanks to technology, not only do you find a real estate office on almost each corner, but you also have online access to a near endless list of potential agents and brokers.
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. Luckily, real estate professionals are always there to help.
The question is, do you get an agent, a broker or a realtor? These terms are usually interchanged by people who have no real understanding of their differences, if they even know they’re not the same. A real estate agent, for one, is an individual who’s finished some basic training classes and passed a state licensing examination. What this means is, as long they work under a licensed broker, anyone can be a real estate agent. As well, they need to complete a specific number of hours of continuing education courses as a requirement for periodic license renewal.
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A real estate broker, on the other hand, must take more classes in various subjects as a requirement for taking the broker’s license exam, and continuing education courses for their license to stay active. But unlike sales agents, brokers will be able to sell properties not having to affiliate themselves 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. However, one thing they are not allowed to do is call themselves a REALTOR(R), except when they are members of the National Association of REALTORS(R) (NAR). NAR owns REALTOR(R), which is basically a trademark, and is known to follow a very strict Code of Ethics.
A Buyer’s Agent and Reasons You Need One
Regardless of the strength or weakness of the housing inventory at any specific time in your target location, not all real estate professionals enjoy pursuing potential sellers just to rack up listings.
There are some agents and brokers, however, who would like to focus on representing buyers, hence their title, 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)).
Besides completing this course, agents and brokers having this accreditation have also exclusively represented a minimum of five real estate buyers. Definitely, they are also required to be members of good standing of NAR as well as of 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.