What is a Real Estate Agent?
A Real Estate Agent is a person or team that helps to buy, sell or lease properties.
Is a Real Estate Agent the same as a Realtor®?
Not necessarily. Notice Realtor® is written with a registered trademark logo. That's because Realtor® is a registered trademark name that may only be used by members of real estate boards affiliated with the National Association of REALTORS (NAR) (USA) or the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) (Canada).
A Real Estate Agent or a real estate salesperson who is not a member of NAR or CREA, is not considered a Realtor®. So, all Realtors® are Real Estate Agents, but not all Real Estate Agents are Realtors®.
Does a Realtor® have specialized education and licencing?
Yes. A Realtor® must successfully complete a number of courses set out by their real estate board in order to acquire their Realtor® designation. Moreover, a Realtor® must adhere to the Realtor® code of ethics.
Does a Realtor® have any privileges that a Real Estate Agent does not?
Aside from having their specialized accreditation and education, a Realtor® may have access to certain attractions, such as listing services, that are strictly provided to members of real estate boards affiliated with NAR and CREA. In other words, a Real Estate Agent's access to information and real estate network may be more limited than that of a Realtor®.
Can't I buy or sell a property on my own?
Yes, you can. If neither party uses a Realtor®, you will engage in what is called a private sale. If the other party has the representation of a Realtor® but you don’t, you are simply engaging in the transaction without representation or an agency agreement with an agent who would otherwise have a fiduciary duty to act in your best interest.
Ok, so why would I use a Realtor®?
Great question. There are many advantages to using a Realtor®. First of all, the market is vast which can be overwhelming, time-consuming, and at times inaccessible. A Realtor® can help facilitate this process by:
|Providing a market analysis for your home (situating an estimated value of your home within its surrounding market)
||Providing a market analysis of areas that may be of interest to you
|Listing your property on exclusive listing platforms giving it increased visibility
||Presenting you with a wide range of listings that may otherwise be unavailable to you
|Professionally market your home through such mediums as open houses, print/online advertisements and networking
||Providing a comparative analysis of properties you may be interested in with similar properties
|Professionally prepare your home for sale (ie. through staging, expert improvement recommendations)
||Assisting you in your property search, finding homes and areas that match your criteria and expanding to your options to listings and regions that you may otherwise be unaware of
|Managing the communications for all showings and with all interested parties
||Managing the communications for all showings and properties that are of interest to you
|Negotiating on your behalf
||Negotiating on your behalf
|Answering your questions and offering their expert advice
||Answering your questions and offering their expert advice
|Reading and analyzing legal contracts on your behalf
||Reading and analyzing legal contracts on your behalf
Do I have to pay a Realtor®?
That will depend on the transaction. Different transactions require different parties to pay the Realtor®. A Realtor® will receive a percentage of the sale as commission.
What about Realtor® teams? Does that mean I have to pay double?
Definitely not! Realtor® teams split the same commission as a single Realtor® would be entitled to.
How do I find a Realtor®?
These days, you can get a Realtor's name from anywhere. Some regions have specific websites designated to helping you find a Realtor®, which you can search by the salesperson's name, location or brokerage. Alternatively, you can find a Realtor® through a brokerage you may be comfortable or familiar with. It is also very common to find a Realtor® through social media and word-of-mouth.
How do I decide which Realtor® is right for me?
When choosing a Realtor®, it may be important to consider the area and property type the Realtor® is comfortable servicing. Some Realtors® specialize in specific property types and regions whereas others have a more flexible and versatile range.
The good news is you can always have a few conversations with a Realtor® before deciding to sign a contract with them. This will give you a preliminary idea of their work ethic, personality and capability so that you know they fit your real estate needs.