Local knowledge – REALTORS® have the ability to provide the “on the ground” perspective that is not available from the Web. They know their market and have first-hand knowledge about a neighborhood's amenities and services, such as schools, zoning laws, and tax rates. There’s also a good chance they’ve been in the other houses for sale in the area.
Tips on choosing a REALTOR®
Make a thorough search, as you would before hiring a contractor or attorney. Attend real estate open houses to see how agents work and to meet them first-hand. Use directories and the Internet, or use Find a REALTOR®.
Ask a prospective agent or broker how long they have been licensed, how long they have been working in this market, or how many sales they have closed in recent months? Always ask if they are a REALTOR® member.
Check references, asking friends and family about their experiences with the REALTOR® you are considering.
Negotiation - Selling a home calls for solid negotiating skill. A REALTOR® can assist with the critical negotiations included in every real estate transaction, and help sellers to work with buyers to finalize the many details that comprise a final purchase agreement.
Representation - As a seller, your REALTOR®'s role may include negotiating a sale price, such as so-called "buyer incentives" that help with a buyer's closing costs or other expenses. Your REALTOR® also can help you determine what, if any repairs you may be responsible for, if requested by the buyer, and negotiate deadlines for their completion.
Pricing - If you're selling a home, a REALTOR® can save you time and money by tapping into market data, reports and local knowledge to help you determine a realistic selling price; screening potential buyers; and managing appointments for showings.
Closing Support - A REALTOR® can provide objective support during the closing process, ensuring both seller and buyer have received the proper documentation for successfully completing a sale transaction and coordinating a final property walk-through.
What's Different About a REALTOR® - 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® in Massachusetts is a member of National Association of REALTORS®, the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® and a local Association of REALTORS®. By being a member, a REALTOR® subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics, 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.
REALTORS® also are committed to higher levels of education and professional development; many REALTORS® have earned professional designations or specialty certifications requiring intensive study. For example, REALTORS® who have obtained the Certified Buyer Representative and Certified Residential Specialist designations have been trained in all aspects of serving as buyers' and sellers' representatives in real estate transactions.