The real estate profession is regulated by state governments, which have different requirements for earning a license. In general, though, the titles you may come across include:
Real estate agent: Anyone who earns a real estate license can be called a real estate agent, whether that license is as a sales professional, an associate broker or a broker. State requirements vary, but in all states you must take a minimum number of classes and pass a test to earn your license.
REALTOR®: A real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, which means that he or she must uphold the standards of the association and its code of ethics.
Real estate broker: A person who has taken education beyond the agent level as required by state laws and has passed a broker’s license exam. Brokers can work alone or they can hire agents to work for them.
Real estate salesperson: Another name for a real estate agent.
Real estate associate broker: Someone who has taken additional education classes and earned a broker’s license but chooses to work under the management of a broker.
Before looking for a home, determine your price range, down payment amount, and estimated settlement charges. Lenders use different variables including income, debt load and credit scores to determine how much a potential buyer can take out as a mortgage knowing what you can afford makes finding the right home easier.
Before you close on a home, you should hire a home inspector to evaluate its condition. That way, you avoid surprises after settlement, and you can see the condition of the home firsthand. You can also order additional tests for radon, wood destroying insects or lead paint.
After helping you set a listing price for your home, your agent can give you an estimate of your expected expenses and proceeds or net “walk away” cash. To estimate your “walk away cash,” subtract the mortgage payoff (including any home equity loans, settlement fees, commission and taxes) from the sale price of your home. Remember, this is only an estimate, and any changes in the figures will affect the final outcome.
Don’t underestimate the value of curb appeal! A neatly mowed lawn, fresh flowers and a new front door will impress buyers before they get out of their cars. Indoors, clear clutter from bedrooms and closets to make your home seem more open. Your REALTOR can help make your individual home shine.