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What is a REALTOR?

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You’re ready! You’ve decided to seize the unique opportunities presented by the current housing market. The single most important transaction in your lifetime should not be conducted without the expertise and assistance of trained and licensed professionals, and this is where REALTORS come in. And, chances are you may be buying or selling a home again. Developing a long-term relationship with a REALTOR is the best way to ensure you will be well-armed and informed when making your housing decisions.

What’s different about a REALTOR
Working with a real estate professional who is a REALTOR is in your best interest. Not everyone who sells real estate is a REALTOR. Possessing a real estate license does not afford instant REALTOR status–a distinction of which you need to be aware. A REALTOR is a member of local, state and national professional trade associations and, as such, has access to a vast array of educational programs, research and resources. By being a member, a REALTOR subscribes to a strict code of ethics, and pledges to provide fair treatment for all parties involved, protect the right of individuals to own property and keep abreast of changes in real estate practice through continuing education and interaction with other professionals.

As a member of the Ohio REALTORS your REALTOR can tap into numerous resources, like immediate access to staff real estate attorneys, who can provide objective up-to-the-minute counsel. He or she receives up-to-date information on a wide variety of legal, financial and economic issues, and has access to an association with more than 100 years of experience in real estate. And, if things don’t work out, arbitration is a choice your REALTOR can offer instead of lengthy and expensive legal proceedings.

The right REALTOR for you
Like finding the right house, selecting a REALTOR you can trust and comfortably work with is paramount. The best way to find such a professional is through recommendations from family and friends. Of course, you should interview several REALTORS before you choose one. If you are selling your home, you should ask the candidates how they plan to market your home, what pricing advice they can offer, and what other suggestions they can provide to further enhance the desirability of your home. Ask questions about the transaction to evaluate the REALTOR’s knowledge. Ask for–and check–references. And, finally, ask yourself whether you will feel comfortable working closely with this individual in the months ahead.

But if you’re still not convinced of the value of a REALTOR, here are a dozen more reasons to use one:

1. Your REALTOR can help you determine your buying power. That is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders — banks and mortgage companies — offer limited choices.

2. Your REALTOR has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.

3. Your REALTOR can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. REALTORS have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS can provide local community information on utilities, zoning. schools, etc. 

4. Your REALTOR can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.

5. Your REALTOR provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. 

6. Financing options. Your REALTOR can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.

7. Closing process. Your REALTOR can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.

8. Selling your home. When selling your home, your REALTOR can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.

9. Your REALTOR markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the sale ability of your property. Your REALTOR markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Your REALTOR acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. 

10. Your REALTOR will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. NAR studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR will generally pre-screen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.

11. Your REALTOR can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing...a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.

12. Your REALTOR can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing.