Let’s first start with discussing the difference between a Realtor/Real Estate Agent, an Associate Broker and a Broker.
Realtor/Real Estate Agent
A Realtor/Real Estate Agent is required to work under a Broker. They are Independent Contractors working under a Broker…they are not employees. They must adhere to commission structures of the Broker. Most often they cannot negotiate commission with a prospective client unless approved by the Broker.
An Associate Broker has completed additional classroom instruction and passed a rigorous test. They work under a Broker with no responsibility for other Agents or the day-to-day running of an office. Associate Brokers work with Sellers and Buyers. Most agents become an Associate Broker to gain experience and one day own and run their own brokerage.
The Broker runs the brokerage and may or may not be active selling and listing property. The Broker is responsible for everyone in the office and therefore they tend to be in the office managing.
Most people just refer to real estate professionals as Agents. Now that I’ve cleared that up…clear as mud, huh? Moving on…
Whether purchasing or selling a home Realtors are NOT created equal. The key to finding the right Agent is to find someone whose personal style and methods fit in with your own. Start the search by getting referrals from friends, co-workers and family. Set-up a time to interview each Agent. Never go blindly with a referral. What may have worked for your friend, co-worker or family member may not work for you.
During the interviews look at the professionalism of his/her marketing materials and get a feel for how comfortable you are talking with this person. The Agent should supply you with a list of past client references. If they don’t offer this to you Ask for it. You should feel confident that the Agent you choose is a trustworthy and knowledgeable individual, working full-time and representing a solid and reputable brokerage.
Agents, by law in most states are not allowed to “recommend” services to you. By services I mean home inspectors, title companies, insurance companies, etc. If an Agent presses you to use a particular service provider tread cautiously. The Agent by law can provide a list of service providers as long as there are at least three of each type of provider on their list for you to choose from.
For the past 26 years I listed and sold residential real estate in Maryland. I personally know a few Agents that meet the above criteria that I would gladly refer you to. Remember all Realtors are not created equally.