I never realized that “realtor” could mean different things. And also, (at least here in Massachusetts) the term doesn’t seem to be used all that much.
Here’s a break down:
Realtor can mean:
- Selling agent: the seller’s realtor. Also called listing agent. In the home buying process you will be in contact (indirectly) with this person who speaks on behalf of the seller. Gets paid a cut from what the house sells for (from seller).
- Buyer’s agent: your (as a buyer) realtor. This person has to accompany you to showings, unless it is an open house. So make sure you feel comfortable talking to this person because you will be spending a lot of time together. This person will communicate for you to the selli g agent should you decide to make an offer. Again, lots of communication required. Also gets a cut from the selling price, costs you nothing.
Finding a realtor for yourself :
- A buyer’s agent will make things easier for you. Your realtor will speak with you about what type of homes you are looking for and in what price range in a particular area of the state in which you are looking. He/she will send you email updates of homes that for your criteria as soon as they hit he market.
- A buyer’s agent should only be working for you and not also for the seller. Yes, this can happen, so beware. If the buyer’s agent is also the seller’s agent, he/she will not really have your best interest at heart.
- Certain realtors may have you sign a contract saying you are working with them only and will not use anyone else. You do not have to sign this. I always refused to sign and good thing because I switched realtors a few times. Which you can totally do. Again, go with what feels right for you.
- Finding a realtor can be tricky but my best success came from asking around (just like how I found my lender). Going with a friend’s recommendation has worked for me twice!
- Your realtor does not also work for the seller
- Your realtor is licensed in the state in which you are looking for a house
- Will answer your phone calls/ texts/ emails in a timely manner (buying a house is stressful and you don’t have time to be waiting for a call back)
- Is willing to meet you for a showing on short-ish notice (but also keep in mind good realtors are busy, especially on weekends when there are open houses)
- Have fun!