Buyer Resources - Articles

Buying Your Home - Working With a Real Estate Licensee (Realtor)

How do I find a good Realtor?

Whether you are a buyer or seller, getting a recommendation from a friend or work colleague is an excellent way to find a good REALTOR®.  Be sure to ask if they would use the licensee again.  You also can call the managers of reputable real estate firms and ask them for recommendations of REALTORs® who have worked in your neighborhood. In any case, whether you are a buyer or a seller, you should interview at least three REALTORs® to give yourself a choice.  A good REALTOR® typically works full-time and has several years of experience.  All licensees  in a transaction usually are paid by the seller from the sales proceeds.  A buyer can hire and pay for his/her own licensee, known as buyer's licensee, whose legal obligation is exclusively to the buyer. If you are a seller, you should interview at least three REALTORs®, all of whom should make a sales presentation including a comparative market analysis, of local home prices in your area. Don't let a licensee 'buy' your listing by choosing the one that gives you the highest asking price for your home. Be sure to evaluate all aspects of the licensee's marketing plan and how well you think you can work with the individual.

Can I use a licensee for a newly constructed home?

Absolutely, however buyers should be aware of the differences inherent in working with sales licensee's who are employed by the developer, rather than traditional real estate Licensees or REALTORS®.

Builders commonly require that if an outside licensee is to be used, they must be present the first time a prospective purchaser visits a site before payment of commission will even be discussed.  At times, when buyers find the development through a developer's advertisement first without the help of a licensee, builders can refuse to pay any commission regardless of how helpful a licensee may become later in the process.

It is advisable to call the development first and inquire about their policy on compensating REALTORS® if you are using one. Be wary of those who say they won't. It may mean their ethics aren't up to standards that a REALTOR will bring to the transaction.    

How much does my real estate licensee need to know?

Real estate licensee's would say that the more you tell them, the better they can negotiate on your behalf. However, the degree of trust you have with an agent may depend upon their legal obligation.  Licensee's  working for buyers have three possible choices: They can represent the buyer (may assist the seller), or represent the seller (may assist the buyer),  or assist both the buyer and seller as a Neutral Licensee, or assist the buyer without representation.  Some states require agents to disclose all possible agency relationships before they enter into a residential real estate transaction. Here is a summary of the three basic types:

*Specific Assistance - The licensee does not represent you.  Rather the licensee is simply responding to your request for information.  And, the licensee may "represent" another party in this transaction while providing you with specific assistance.

* Representing the Seller/Lessor only (may provide specific assistance to Buyer/Lessee)

* Representing the Buyer/Lessor only (may provide specific assistance to Seller/Lessor)

* Neutral Licensee (must attach waiver of Right to be Represented)

Bob Baer
Bob Baer
Associate Broker
3350 Midtown Place Anchorage AK 99503