Brokerage firms like Cloud Realty provide assistance to consumers in a variety of ways. They know what’s available, including properties that have not been publicly advertised. Most belong to a Multiple Listing Service, which allows them to share information locally and nationwide.
They help sellers determine an appropriate price, market effectively, arrange open house showings, and find buyers able to obtain financing.
Can expect help with evaluating their housing needs and financial ability, to save time by looking only at homes that meet their needs, and aid in negotiating a fair transaction.
They can also be assured that there are no undisclosed “clouds” on the title, obtain data on the neighborhood, and receive reports and advice on structural integrity, insect infestations, or environmental issues.
Also, brokerage firms may arrange for other professionals, such as escrow companies, loan officers, and lawyers, if needed. They hammer out a contract acceptable to both parties. Payment is by commission once the sale is completed.
Each state has different licensing requirements, but most require at least a high school education, a comprehensive examination, and varying periods of experience. Once licensed, agents are usually required to complete a specified amount of continuing education, pay an annual fee, and may opt to join one or more professional organizations.
Not all agents are Realtors, who must be members of the National Association of Realtors and pledge to follow an additional code of ethics.
Several levels of expertise are available, allowing consumers to choose according to need. Brokers have met stringent requirements, which enables them to control their agencies, and employ associates.
Most professionals perform both buying and selling functions, although that must be disclosed to clients. Others restrict their activities to either listing new properties or working exclusively with buyers. In all instances, they must remain objective and negotiate the best terms for their clients.
People wishing to become licensed must meet educational requirements and pass an exam. Course are available from a variety of sources, including a wealth of online schools. Students are advised to confirm that their choice of instruction is adequate. Organizations such as The Association of Law Officials and the Better Business Bureau provide ratings.
Training needs to include lessons on fundamental concepts like the kinds of ownership, legal agreements, insurance, and finances. Learners must also gain an understanding of their obligations to customers, including what must be disclosed.
Practices include knowing how to handle foreclosures, government-sponsored mortgages, and legal matters, such as water rights, easements, and potential restrictions on use and enjoyment of the property. Although the work can be very rewarding, many real estate agents find themselves on the job weekends, evenings, and holidays.