One of the questions people ask when they decide to buy or sell a property is, “Why should I use a Realtor?” In other words, what value does a Realtor bring to a transaction?
First let me explain the difference between a Realtor and a real estate licensee; the terms are not the same. All Realtors are real estate licensees whether they are brokers, appraisers or salespersons but the reverse is not always true. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) owns the term “Realtor,” which is a federally registered collective membership mark. This is a type of trademark identifying the user as a member of a particular group rather than indicating the source of a product or service. When a licensee takes the extra step of joining a local Board or Association of Realtors, he or she also becomes a member of NAR and is allowed to use the term “Realtor.” Use by non-members is prohibited.
The simple answer to the question “why use a Realtor?” is that Realtors have the training and expertise to assist the buyer or seller in a transaction. Realtors participate in many transactions over the course of their careers, which is an advantage that can’t be ignored. They are a trusted source of real estate information and know the local market where they work. This helps them to assist their clients to reach their real estate goals.
Today’s typical home sale involves as many as 20 steps to complete a transaction. This can be a daunting maze for most buyers and sellers. However, Realtors have access to advanced educational opportunities and training in various specialties that allow them to raise their skills and professionalism. Some of the types of training offered are in such accredited sub-specialties as buyer’s representation (ABR), residential real estate expertise (CRS), social media and Internet readiness (e-PRO) and senior housing issues (SRES).
According to the 2011 NAR “Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers”:
In 2011, 89 percent of buyers used a real estate agent, up steadily from 69 percent of buyers in 2001.
- 86 percent of buyers said they were very satisfied with their agent’s knowledge of the purchase process.
- 87 percent of buyers said they were very satisfied with their agent’s honesty and integrity.
- 89 percent of recent home buyers would recommend or use their agent again in the future.
- 84 percent of sellers used an agent or broker to sell their home.
- Only 10 percent of sellers sold without professional assistance, down from a high of 20 percent in 1987. Nearly half of those were transactions in which the seller already knew the buyer so the home was not sold on the open market.
- 91 percent of buyers who used the Internet to search for a home used a real estate agent to purchase their home, compared with 70 percent of buyers who did not use the Internet.
Finally, Realtors subscribe to a code of ethics adopted in 1913 by NAR making it only the second trade or business group in the United States to adopt mandatory ethical standards. The ethics code is a comprehensive document spelling out professional responsibilities owed to clients, customers, other Realtors and the general public. All Realtors must take ethics training at least once every four years to retain their membership. Consumers can read more about the code of ethics and find a summary of the code that explains how it benefits them at www.REALTOR.org/codeofethics.
On June 12, 12 Realtor members from the Jefferson-Lewis and St. Lawrence County Boards of Realtors joined other New York State Realtors in Albany for Realtor Lobby Day. They discussed real estate issues with elected representatives and staff from the offices of Sens. Patty Ritchie and Joseph Griffo and Assembly members Addie J. Russell and Ken Blankenbush. Participants included Jennifer Stevenson, Blue Heron Realty; Elizabeth Miller, CENTURY 21 Gentry Realty; Gail and Walt Christensen, Christensen RealtyUSA; Ken Catlin, Front Porch Realty; Betty Henderson, Lisa L’Huillier and Chuck Ruggiero, Hefferon Real Estate; Jennifer Dindl-Neff, Humes Realty and Appraisal Service; David Barron, Husky Property Management; Karen Peebles, Peebles Realty; and Les Henry, Thousand Islands Realty.
Lance M. Evans is the executive officer of the Jefferson-Lewis Board of Realtors and the St. Lawrence County Board of Realtors. He has lived in the north country since 1985. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. His column appears monthly in NNY Business.