Difference Between a Realtor and a Real Estate Agent Revealed


What is a Realtor? And why should you use one?

Only real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of Realtors can call themselves Realtors. Non-Members are only Real estate agents or Sales people. There are several amazing benefits of using Realtors over a sales person.

All Realtors (members of the National Association of Realtors) are bound to a strict code of ethics. Their code is based on professionalism and protection of the public. Random real estate agents do not have to abide by these codes. If you choose to use a Realtor you can be sure that they are honest and ethical in all aspects of real estate and business. If they are not, they will not be a realtor long.

The Biggest benefit of using a Realtor over an Agent is access to the MLS, the Multiple Listing Service. This is a private service that only Realtors use to share listing with other Realtors. If you use a Realtor they put your House on the MLS and thousands of other Realtors can easily access the information and find a buyer for a house you are selling. Or Your Realtors can access other Realtors listing to find you the house that meets your criteria the best.

Some of the principals that Realtors must follow include:

Protect and promote their clients best interests. A good Realtor knows what the client’s wants and needs are. For example, a good Realtor will know what a client can afford in a home payment and will not put anyone in a home that they cannot afford or will have trouble making their mortgage payment. They will also make sure that their client has got home inspections done on their potential house to ensure they made a good buy.

Realtors should be knowledgeable and commitment in the field of real estate. It’s important to find a Realtor who really studies what is going on in the real estate industry. A good Realtor will know if the market is starting to dip, rise or is going to stay flat. How do they know this? Well Realtors are in the MLS, out looking at houses and studying the market every day. If a realtor does not somehow keep track of what they are seeing then they have failed as Realtors and as your hired gun.

I know many Realtors out there who think their only job is to sell houses. But the job of a good Realtor is to know every aspect of the real estate industry form residential, commercial, and real estate investing.

There has been great feedback from buyers and sellers in the past few years about working with Realtors. Sellers are reporting that an agent’s reputation was the most important factor in their selecting the Realtor they did. Is that true with you? I believe that working with the best Realtor in your area is important. Everyone wants to work with the best.

Home buyers and sellers both report that the biggest benefit they received from using a Realtor was help understanding the home buying/selling process. I can really see that as being a huge benefit. If you do not understand the whole process that goes into buying/selling a home it could cost you thousands and hundreds of hours.

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June 1, 2016 |

Tips on Finding a Trustworthy Realtor


When buying a new home, chances are very good that you are going to choose a realtor to help you with your home buying needs. With many realtors out there, finding one you can trust may seem to be a daunting task. Especially if you’ve never hired a realtor before, or if you’ve ever had one whom you couldn’t trust, choosing a good realtor may be extremely difficult, if next to impossible, to accomplish. So how do you find one whom you can trust, and one who will simplify your home buying experience? Here are a few tips to help you find the right realtor.

Conduct Interviews

It’s not enough to open the yellow pages and scan the listings of realtors there. Ideally, going to the realtor’s office is the best option, but you may not have the time to do this. Chances are there will be too many realtors for you to go visit, so you may choose to conduct an interview on the phone. Be prepared with a list of questions to ask, and expect frank and honest answers. It won’t take long for you to find out during the conversation whether the realtor is honest, or if they are simply a salesperson who evades your questions by giving you pat answers, or fluff.

Ask for References

A good realtor will be happy to give you the names of satisfied customers, in order to back up how trustworthy they will be for you. Sometimes, many people will find realtors on word of mouth alone. Happy customers will be delighted to talk to you about your potential realtor, and many times, this will arm you with the best information about the realtor you are considering.

Talk to the Broker
In some cases, talking opening with the broker about your realtor’s performance may give you clues as to how trustworthy your realtor might be. This may not always give you the best information, as the broker certainly wants your business in the same way the realtor does, but a broker who is willing to talk with you as a potential client may help you determine whether the company the realtor works for will be behind you all the way.

Look for Communication Skills

There is nothing more frustrating than a realtor who does not listen to your needs. If you tell the realtor that your maximum price you would pay for a home is $200,000, and the realtor continually shows you homes outside of your price range, chances are very good that your realtor isn’t concerned about your needs or what you can actually afford, but is more interested in how much commission they may earn off of your business with them. A realtor should remember how many children you have, and how many bedrooms you need, for example; and if you need an office, show you homes with ideal office space; if you have a dog, then the realtor should remember to find homes for you with a fenced in back yard, for instance. You should never have to continually remind your realtor what your needs are; if you are constantly reiterating your needs, then it could be indicative of your realtor either having too many clients, or not really interested in what your needs really are.

Express Your Needs

A realtor isn’t a mind reader, and it really is up to you to make sure your realtor knows exactly what you are looking for. If you are not sure what you are looking for, then it is in your best interest to find a realtor truly interested in narrowing down what you want. Ask questions. If you don’t know whether a school district in a particular area is a good one, for example, and you don’t have children, then it is the realtor’s job to help you understand that even though you might not be concerned about schools right now, there is a possibility in the future that it will be an issue. And while you cannot expect your realtor to read your mind, a good, trustworthy realtor can still anticipate your needs.

Above and Beyond the Call of Duty

Some realtors only perform the minimum tasks in order to help you find a home. A good, trustworthy realtor will go above and beyond the minimal duties. Do you need help finding a loan officer? Will your realtor locate one for you? Will your realtor be present at closing time in case you have any last minute questions? Will your realtor hand-deliver the title to the court on the same day you close? Will your realtor investigate any issues you may have with the home you want to purchase, like will real-estate taxes be included in your price, or will the appliances be included in the home purchase, or is the seller going to provide a home warranty? Some things may not occur to you now as a home buyer, but it should be in your realtor’s best interest to make sure they investigate any possible issues that may come up during the course of the negotiations.

The key to finding a trustworthy realtor is to ask questions, no matter how silly they might be to you. They should be familiar with school districts, utility company policies, which cable company is available to you, and other things that are not necessarily part of your home purchase, but it is these little things that make a realtor extraordinary, and one that you can trust to help you find the perfect home.

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June 1, 2016 |

Realtor Vs FSBO – An Unbiased Comparison


I’m sure you’ve heard many arguments whether or not a Realtor is better at selling your home than you are. Every Realtor, without fail, will tell you that they can sell your home faster and for more money than you can. They will even have statistics to prove their point. On the flip-side, almost every “For Sale By Owner” site on the web will tell you the opposite. So who do you believe when both parties are self-serving?

Being a Realtor with a working team and also the CEO of a For Sale By Owner website, I will attempt to take an unbiased approach to this argument and cover the pros and cons of each stance. There are 4 points that a Realtor will base their arguments on and so I think it is only fair to address each of these points.

4 Points Or “Arguments” A Realtor Will Make

1. A Realtor can price your home more accurately.
2. A Realtor can negotiate the deal better than you can.
3. A Realtor can sell your home for more money.
4. A Realtor can sell your home faster.

So let’s ask each question and talk about the real answers. For the sake of this discussion, let’s first assume that the Realtor we are talking about here is an experienced agent that sells more than 12 homes per year. Why is that important? Because over 80 percent of Realtors sell 3 or fewer homes per year and cannot truly make any of the arguments listed above. How can they? The agents that only sell 3 homes per year have to relearn the business on almost every deal. This is true across the industry. There are too many “part-timers” for these arguments to be a blanket statement for every Realtor.

Up until a few years ago, the answer was most definitely “Yes” but that has recently changed. Let’s compare.

It is true that, on average, Realtors price homes more accurately than a FSBO seller will. Realtors have resources available to them to see all of the recent sales in any given neighborhood. They can also see all of the available homes currently on the market. By analyzing this data, they can make a fairly accurate prediction of what a home should sell for and even how quickly it should sell.

Seller – For Sale By Owner
Most sellers price their home based on what they “think” their home should be worth. Their pricing is based on very little accurate data other than what other homes are currently priced at that are still on the market. No Realtor would ever… or rather, should never base a price on what is for sale but rather what has sold. With today’s technology and the resources on the web, a seller can spend as little as $16.95 and get the same information that a Realtor uses. Now for the tricky part… forget any notion that your home is better than any other seller’s home. Use this report and base your price on hard data and you can price your home as accurately as a Realtor.

Winner – It’s a Tie … if FSBO sellers use the data available to them and take an unbiased approach in pricing their property.

There is more to negotiating than just the price. With that being said, let’s compare.

There is no substitute for experience when it comes to negotiations. As I said before, there is more to negotiations that just price, there are repairs, time-frames and many other small details that become part of the negotiation. A Realtor has the ability to step back emotionally and really look at the deal in an unbiased way. They should be able to analyze the proposed price and use their data to support the selling price. Through experience, they can recognize which repairs make sense to accept, which ones can be settled with money and which repairs should be thrown out with supporting arguments as to why.

Seller – For Sale By Owner
It’s hard to compete with experience when you are negotiating a contract. It’s like playing cards. You get better the more you play. You learn when to hold fast, when to bluff and when to fold. This doesn’t mean that you can’t do it though. Here is where you have to weigh your options carefully. If you sell on your own and get the raw end of the deal on repairs or even lose a few thousand dollars on price because you didn’t have the data to support your argument, how much did you save by not using a Realtor? The average home seller saves $15,000 in commission when selling as For Sale By Owner. So if a Realtor could have saved you that $3,000 in the selling price and kept you from making that $2,000 in repairs, you are still ahead $10,000.

Winner – Realtor … but is stronger negotiation worth 6%?

According to NAR (National Association of Realtors), “Sellers who use a real estate professional make 16 percent more on the sale of their home than do sellers who go it alone”. Is this true? Let’s compare and see.

We talked about accurate pricing earlier. Accurate pricing in the beginning is key to getting the most money for your home in the end. Realtors have the data available to them to accurately price a home in the beginning. It should be a safe assumption that, on average, Realtors can in fact sell your home for more.

Seller – For Sale By Owner
As I mentioned earlier, FSBO sellers now have the same data available to them to price their home accurately. Accurate pricing is key to getting the most money for your home. It has been proven that if you price your home even 10% above true market value, you will only reach 30% of the potential buyers for your home. The longer your home sits on the market, the more inclined buyers will be to get aggressive with their negotiating in the belief that you are getting desperate. If you price 15% below market value, you will reach 90% of potential buyers but once again, buyers will think you are desperate to sell quickly and become more aggressive in negotiating on the price even lower.

So where does the 16% figure come from? The statistics that back this figure up, though incomplete at best, stem from past FSBO sellers using their gut feelings to price their home or simply listing in the local paper.

Winner – It’s a Tie … again, only if FSBO sellers use the data available to them and take an unbiased approach in pricing their property.

Let’s hear their arguments and then compare.

When you ask a Realtor how they can sell your home faster, their response is almost always “accurate pricing equals a faster sale” and “we offer greater marketing” or “greater exposure for your home” to drive more interested buyers. We have already answered the issue on pricing so let’s move on to the “greater exposure” claim. A Realtor has one main marketing avenue. I am talking about their local MLS of course. The MLS feeds the Realtor’s listings out to which is the largest real estate website in the world with over 5 million unique visitors per month. Only a Realtor can list a home on the MLS. They may also talk about magazine and radio ads but any honest Realtor will tell you that these are really there to advertise their brokerage and drive leads for their buyers agents. Very few Realtors submit your home to additional real estate sites, usually due to lack of know-how.

Seller – For Sale By Owner
How does a seller compete with It is the largest real estate site on the planet after all. Thanks to the new technology available today, a few (not all) “for sale by owner” websites will syndicate your listing out to multiple real estate classified sites. The combined site visitor reach of these sites can be well over 12 million unique visitors per month. That’s a lot more than 5 million. I am by no means discounting In fact, I think it would be very smart to ensure your home is also listed on So if and the MLS is only for Realtors, how can you list your home there? A few Realtors (very few) offer a flat-fee MLS listing. For anywhere between $299 and $499, a Realtor will list your home on the local MLS and You will still be responsible for paying a buyer’s agent 2% to 3% if they bring the buyer but that still saves you 3% to 4% in commissions. On a few FSBO Websites, you can get the great exposure of your local MLS and through a “Flat-Fee MLS plan”. Plus, you can still reserve the right to sell “For Sale By Owner.”

One important detail to consider here is the fact that a Realtor’s service is free to buyers. Because these services are free, they would be foolish not to employ a Realtor. Realtors will NOT show a FSBO home unless they know they will get paid a commission. Plus, the MLS is the only place most Realtors conduct a home search for their clients. It would behoove you to list on the MLS if you are not seeing immediate success selling without the MLS.

Winner – Tie in regards to traffic and exposure … comparing a Realtor to FSBO without MLS exposure.

Winner – For Sale By Owner Seller … comparing a Realtor to FSBO with Flat-Fee MLS option.

So what does this all mean? It means that times are changing. There are enough resources available to you, the “For Sale By Owner” home seller to allow you to sell successfully, quickly and for top dollar. There are times when the need for a Realtor are real and necessary. Their expertise, experience and dedication to help ease your stress during these potentially difficult times can be worth every penny you pay. If you have the money and the ability to enlist the aide of a Realtor, then I feel confident in saying that you will not be sorry. However, if money is tight or you have the time to educate yourself on real estate, then you will be greatly rewarded. Good luck!

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January 10, 2014 |
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