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Buying a Home with an Agent, Broker or Realtor It can be daunting to choose someone to represent you in a real estate deal. But thanks to technology, not only do you find a real estate office on almost each corner, but you also have online access to a near endless list of potential agents and brokers. Going through all of this can be time-consuming and full of pitfalls along the way, particularly for first-time home buyers. Fortunately, there are real estate professionals who can always help. The question is, do you get an agent, a broker or a realtor? These terms are usually interchanged by people who have no real understanding of their differences, if they even know they’re not the same. For one, a real estate agent is a person who’s completed some basic training course and passed a state licensing exam. In short, anyone can practice as a real estate agent as long as they work under a licensed broker. They also need to take a certain number of hours of continuing education courses before they can renew their license periodically.
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A real estate broker, on the other hand, must take more classes in various subjects as a requirement for taking the broker’s license exam, and continuing education courses for their license to stay 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 Reasons You Need One Whether the housing inventory in your target location at any particular time is strong or weak, some real estate professionals are disinterested in pursuing prospective sellers just to rack up listings. There are some agents and brokers, however, who would like to focus on representing buyers, hence their title, 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. Besides completing this course, agents and brokers having this accreditation have also exclusively represented a minimum of five real estate buyers. Certainly, they also have to be members of good standing of NAR and the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council. If you’re a first-time home buyer, having a buyer’s agent represent you is, without a doubt, an excellent idea, what with their wide knowledge and experience dealing with buyers and the purchase process itself.