Buying a Home with a Real Estate Agent, Broker or Realtor Finding someone to represent you in a real estate transaction is usually challenging. Thanks to the Internet technology, not only can you find a real estate office on almost each and every corner, but you also get access to an endless number of potential brokers and agents. Working around all of this can take time and be filled with difficulties, specifically if this is your first time buying a home. Fortunately, you can get help from many real estate professionals out there. The question is, do you get an agent, a broker or a realtor? Such terms are used interchangeably several times by people who don’t actually know how they differ from one another. A real estate agent is an individual who has passed a state licensing exam after completing a basic training course. In other words, anyone can work as a real estate agent, provided they come under a licensed broker. Also, they have to take continuing education courses as a requirement for renewing license periodically.
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On the other hand, a real estate broker, is required to take more classes in different subjects before they qualify to take the broker’s license exam, and take continuing education courses to keep their license active. But unlike sales agents, brokers can work on their own – that is, without affiliation with another real estate professional.
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As long as they are licensed, brokers and agents alike can legally represent buyers and sellers in any real estate transaction. One thing they are not allowed to do, however, is use the title, REALTOR(R), unless they are actually members of the National Association of REALTORS(R) (NAR). NAR, which owns REALTOR(R) as a trademark, is known for its very strict Code of Ethics. A Buyer’s Agent and Why You’ll 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. However, some agents and brokers actually choose to represent strictly buyers, reason they are called buyers’ agents. They require no special license to do that, but the NAR has instituted a special course of study for it if they want to earn the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR(R)) designation. On top of completing this course, agents and brokers who have this accreditation have worked on no less than least five transactions as well, acting exclusively as the representative of the 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, being represented by a buyer’s agent is no doubt a wise idea, what with their expertise in promoting buyers’ interests and in the buying process itself.