Buying a house is the largest financial
investment most people make, and it’s one of the most complex. You need to
think about financing, appraisals, zoning regulations, short sales, repairs,
and more. Realtors® are here to
Realtors® And Real Estate Agents
A real estate agent’s job is to help guide you through the complexities
of buying a property. But not everyone with a real estate license is a
Realtor®. A Realtor® is not just a real estate licensee, but is also a member
of the National Association of
What’s the difference? Realtors® must meet stricter education
requirements than the law requires, and they’re bound not only by the law, but
by the higher standard of the REALTOR Code of Ethics.
That’s why only Realtors® are allowed to use the famous Realtor
Your Realtor® is committed to protecting your interests
throughout the entire transaction with the integrity, honor, professionalism,
and expertise that meets the high standards set by the “Realtor” name.
And Realtors® have access to more and more sophisticated tools
to help buyers find just the right home, and make the entire process run
You’ll find your Realtor® isn’t just an expert on your local
real estate market, but also a trusted advisor who can help you navigate a
What Will A Realtor® Do For Me?
Realtors® can be invaluable to buyers in a number of ways:
If your Buying your Realtor® can…
§ Help you determine how much home you can afford
§ Explain financing options and help you find the right loan
§ Assist in your home search through the local Multiple Listing
Service, or with houses you find through Realtor.com and other websites
§ Provide objective data about each property-including helping find
information you might not realize is available
§ Provide negotiating expertise, and help resolve any issues that
arise with the seller that could delay closing or voice the contract
§ Help you get and understand any homeowner association documents
§ Coordinate appraisal and other issues your lender may require
§ Help you determine what inspections are necessary, such as for
dry rot, asbestos, and mold, and the condition of the roof and septic tank-just
to name a few
§ Explain earnest money deposits, escrow accounts, and closing
§ Go on a final walk-through to make sure everything is in order
and any repairs have been made properly
§ Work with you and the seller’s agent to reach a smooth and
The Nuts And Bolts Of Working With Your Realtor®
You choose your Realtor® the way you would choose a doctor,
accountant, or other professional: Meet with several, take a friend or
colleague’s recommendation, or respond to an ad, for example.
§ Once you’ve found the Realtor® you want to represent you, you
enter into what’s called a “brokerage relationship”.
§ In order to work together, you and your Realtor® need a written
“brokerage agreement” that outlines at a minimum:
§ What services the Realtor® will provide;
§ How long he or she will be providing those services; and
§ What fee (if any) and how it’s paid
This agreement might be for a single day – to see a few houses-
or several months. For sellers, the fee is typically a percentage of the sale
price, while a buyer might see “Fee to be paid by seller’s agent.”
In most cases, your Realtor® will act as what’s called a
standard or “full-service” agent, providing you with the wide range of
assistance and all the advantages of having a trained real estate professional
working for you.
There are other options available to you, including hiring a
Realtor as a limited-service agent or as an independent contractor; your
Realtor® can explain the benefits and drawbacks of each relationship.
Remember that you and your Realtor® will decide what kind of
working relationship works best for you.
Whatever you and your Realtor® agree to, once you’ve signed that
brokerage agreement, your Realtor® can start working for you and representing
Whether you’re buying a home – or just checking out your options
– you need the expertise of someone whose job it is to know your local market
inside and out. You need a Realtor®.
Why Do I Have To Sign The Brokerage Agreement?
The short answer is that Virginia law requires it in order to
The longer answer is that having something in writing – whether
it covers a single property or a months-long relationship – ensures that both
you and your Realtor® understand exactly what’s expected from each other.
Be sure to discuss your options with your Realtor, and make sure
all your questions are answered.
Learn more about how Realtors® can be an invaluable resource to
you when you’re buying or selling real estate and learn about issues
specifically affecting homeowners in Virginia at: National Association of Realtors-Buyer Representation