When you talk to someone about Real Estate - buying, selling, renting, investing, anything - you're going to hear Realtor, Real Estate Agent, Broker, Buyer's Agent, and more all seeming to refer to the same thing. Well, for all intents and purposes, they are. At least in and around Chicago, anyway.
There are technical differences (a Realtor is a real estate agent that is a member of the National Association of Realtors, for example), but you really just need to know that they are all licensed by the state of Illinois and, as such, are held to certain standards and duties in representing you. So, less than what is the difference between them all, you need to know what to expect from any agent representing you in a transaction.
There are 6 duties I'm bound to while I work for you.
Care: I will give you the best service I can and use my knowledge and expertise to guide you through the real estate process. What's great about this part of license law is that it doesn't matter what your budget is or how many homes you want to buy, you get the same level of service and care.
Obedience: I will faithfully act at your direction, so long as your direction doesn't break any laws. If you want me to write a contract for a property for $1, I'll write that contract (I'll explain why it might not be a good idea, but I'll write it).
Loyalty: I will put your interests ahead of mine. This means when it comes time to negotiate a contract I'll work my hardest to get you the best price (even though that means I make less money). If we've been working towards buying a property and you have a change of heart I'm not going to force you to keep moving forward.
Disclosure: I will give you all the information available to help you make the best decision for you. If I see something I am required to say something. While I am not a licensed inspector, I have seen enough real estate to be able to point out certain likely defects (and then advise you on how to get it properly checked out).
Accounting: I will keep a clear record of funds received on your behalf. Money is changing hands throughout a real estate transaction and money given to me (namely, Earnest Money) will be clearly tracked and accounted for.
Confidentiality: I keep your secrets secret. I know what you're pre-approved for, I know how much you're willing to pay, I know where you're willing to walk away; however, I don't disclose anything like that that might hurt your position in a negotiation. Of course, as the negotiation continues, this information may or may not become relevant or vital at which point you can give me the direction to disclose it - it's not a secret anymore.
Again, the important takeaway is that as your Realtor - no matter the term you prefer to use - I'm here to work for you and be a trusted guide as you move through the process of buying or selling real estate.
Did you miss an article? Click Here to see last month's entry in Your Path to Home Series Ready to move on? Click Here to see the next entry in Your Path to Home Series