What to look for in choosing a Realtor..... 

1. A Realtor with some type formal education, for real estate preferably a four year college degree in Business with a major in Finance, Marketing or Real Estate.  Having any degree is some indication a person has the ability to learn, are disciplined enough to finish the degree, are capable of keeping abreast of changes in the Real Estate industry and can use what was learned in college and apply it to the real world.  Further, they may be in a position to provide more specific information and knowledge to their customers based on what courses they took, especially if they had a major in Marketing, Communications or Finance. (NAR) The National Association of Realtors and most real estate practioners believe the more education and training a Realtor has the better they can serve their customers. According to (NAR) only 46%* of all Realtors in Florida have a Bachelors or higher degree. 

2. An up to date license issued in the State they are practicing real estate. If possible, a Realtor with a Broker's license, the highest license available which reguires more education, training and experience then an agents license.  In Florida only 21%* of all Realtor Agents have a Broker's license. 

3. Designations obtained through additional education and training in select areas of expertise such as (SRES) the Senior Real Estate Specialist designation, which is designed for working with prospects age 50 and older on their unique real estate needs. The (ABR) Authorized Buyers Representative designation, the (LMC) Loss Mitigation Certificate to help prospects negotiate short sales, auctions and foreclosures,(AHWD) At Home with Diversity training for working with people from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds,  the (GRI) Graduate of the Real Estate Institute.  Designations and Certificates are held by only 32%* of all Realtors in Florida according to the (NAR) 2009 Florida member profile report. 

 4. Experience, the ultimate teacher for a Realtor providing the ability to render the best service available by sheer number of transactions conducted full time, over a number of years of doing business.  Six years of full time real estate is minimum experience for a successful Realtor, twelve years or more for most seasoned professional agents. Hire a realtor that is working full time in the real estate industry. Full time realtors take their career seriously and will  provide the best service since their income and future depends on it.  

5. Membership in professional organizations such as (NAR) The National Association of Realtors, (JAXREIA) the Jacksonville Real Estate Investment Association, (FAR)  the Florida Association of Realtors, (NEFAR)  N.E. Florida Association of Realtors and the (MLS) Multiple Listing Service.  Organizations where the Realtor can network, learn and contribute knowledge about real estate and changes in the industry. 

6. Membership and volunteering in service organizations such as (HABITAT) Homes for Humanity, I.M. Sulzbacher shelter for the homeless, (K OF C) The Knights of Columbus International Service Organization, American Cancer Society, American Red Cross, The Blood Alliance etc. Volunteering is some indication a person has empathy and is willing to help others who may be less fortunate. 

7. Other life experiences such as prior training in the U.S. Military including the National Guard, U.S. Coast Guard, Army, Navy, Marine Corps and U.S. Air Force. A Realtor that  served in the military most probably experienced military relocation numerous times and can relate to military customers being transferred. 

8. Prior experience in the Corporate World and having under gone formal management training, team building and possibly corporate relocation. 

9. Internet savvy, a realtor that has their own web site, uses e-mail, text, FAX, cell telephones, the MLS with devices such as a Lap Top Computer, Smart Phone and or tablet.  In addition, familiar with internet marketing and can access other real estate web sites to communicate with internet savvy prospects.  

10. A Realtor that has multi million dollars of sales production from both listing and buying property. High real estate sales production provides some indication the realtor is comfortable working with all price range of properties including high end residential and possibly commercial real estate. Further, it is some indication of their sucess in the real estate industry and in running their own business. 

Normally there is no cost to a buyer using the services of a Realtor. The broker listing the home for sale (listing broker) pays the (selling broker) whose Realtor brings a buyer. The selling broker then pays the selling Realtor his portion of the commission, "usually 1/2 of the published rate," when the home is purchased and the transaction closes. In todays market, with all the distressed property, homes are selling below appraised value, some below $25,000. Third party leinholders who are selling the properties short or foreclosed, very often cut the realtors commissions just before closing, making it very difficult for Realtors to make a decent commission and sometimes not even enough for them to cover their expenses. Because of this, some realtors are finding it necessary to negotiate with prospective buyers, who they may represent in distressed property below $25,000, to sign an agreement to help pay a portion of the commission they may lose on low priced distressed properties. It is a new way of doing business and an unfortunate necessity however, it is all the more reason to select an experienced, seasoned realtor.  As long as the commissions are not cut during negotiations and the property sells for over $25,000, the buyer normally will not need to pay any of the selling or buying realtors commissions.

After selecting the realtor you wish to work with and represent you in the transaction, give that realtor your complete loyalty and only that Realtor. Providing your loyalty, the Realtor can focus their efforts in working for you, finding property sometimes not yet listed on the market, research taxes, HOA and CDD fees, provide estimates of your closing costs, help you with a home, WDO inspection and a wealth of other services. There is no need to use more than one Realtor, they all have access to the same information. Further, having more than one realtor they will be duplicating their efforts in attempting to provide their services,  a waste of your and their time. If you expect their complete loyalty and focus, please provide them the same courtesy and never, never attempt to insert a family member or friend that has a realestate license into a transaction after you start working with your Realtor, it is un-ethical, could hold up the transaction and develop into a commission dispute based on the premises of procuring cause or the initiating Broker.     


*(NAR) National Association of Realtors 2009 Florida member profile.  

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