Selecting the right Realtor is the key to a profitable real estate transaction. You’ll want to start searching for a qualified professional as soon as you decide to buy or sell your home. Here’s why.

“Using a real estate agent is a very good idea,” says the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). “All the details involved in home buying [and selling], particularly the financial ones, can be mind-boggling. A good professional can guide you through the entire process and make the experience much easier.

Selecting the right professional is the key to a successful real estate transaction. Better than working with a simple real estate agent, you’ll want the services of a Realtor®.

What’s the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor?
More than two million people have earned real estate licenses but only a small percentage of these are Realtors. Realtors are members in good standing of the National Association of Realtors, their state association of Realtors and a local real estate board. Realtors are held to high standards of ethical behavior and must undergo continuing education annually to remain accredited.

Most Realtors also have particular areas of expertise that are indicated by accreditations like:
– ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative)
– CLHMS (Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist)
– CRP (Certified Relocation Professional)
– CRS (Certified Residential Specialist).
These designations make it easier to select the right specialist for your unique situation.

What Does a Realtor Do?
Realtors are required by law to:
– perform necessary and customary acts to assist in the purchase or sale of real estate.
– perform these acts in good faith and with reasonable care.
– properly account for money or other property placed in his or her care.
– disclose “adverse material facts” which are, or should be, within the agent’s knowledge.

Realtors can help buyers pre-qualify for mortgages and keep abreast of the latest home listings. They can assist sellers in preparing their homes and screening potential buyers. They can show investors the properties that fit their risk profiles and long-term investment strategies.

Since the majority of Realtors are also members of real estate companies, they will be able to put additional resources and manpower to work in quickly locating the perfect home for you, or in selling your home in the shortest possible time frame. They will efficiently organize and coordinate meetings with potential buyers and sellers.

A good Realtor will be well acquainted with the important things you’ll want to know about the neighborhood you may be considering: the quality of schools, the safety of the community, traffic volume and more. He or she will help you figure the price range you can afford and will search their personal database, company listings and multiple listing services for homes you’ll want to see.

With immediate access to homes as soon as they are put on the market, a Realtor can save you hours of wasted drive-around time. When you’re ready to make an offer on a house, the Realtor will help structure the deal to save you money. He or she will explain the advantages and disadvantages of different types of mortgages and guide you through the mounds of paperwork.

When it comes to selling your home, a Realtor will save you time and aggravation. Their commission will vary depending on your location. Realtors pay for all advertising, schedule all open houses and make sure potential buyers are qualified. The money they can save you is often more than the cost of their commissions.