Do you ever take notice of who or what you real estate agent actually is, go on, I'll wait take a look at their business card again, how do they describe them self?
Salesperson - Realtor - Associate Broker - Broker - Consultant - Real Estate Agent
Are they part time or full time? Did you ask? How many transactions did they do last year? Do you think it is important to know a little about your agent before you sign a contract with them?
Salesperson - someone who has 60 hours of education and passed the state and national real estate exam but not yet joined their local Realtor association and taken an ethics class required by the National Association of Realtors yet. All hours of study are per the PA real estate commission.
Realtor - someone who has 60 hours of education, passed the real estate exam both at state and national levels, joined the National Association of Realtors and completed the course offered on ethics and pledged to uphold it.
Associate Broker/Broker 240 hours of study, 3 years experience as a salesperson (see qualifications above), passing of a state and national exam, can also be a Realtor, but may not be depending on their brokerage requirements. An Associate Broker works in a firm that already has a broker of record so is known as an associate broker. Many commercial agents call themselves Brokers.
Consultant and Real Estate Agent, in PA there is no requirement, other than they would need to be a salesperson and abide by those rules per the Real Estate Commission.
All of these people may work part or full time, why does that matter? Part of the rules for presenting an offer, any offer is that it be presented as soon as possible to the owner. If your agent works part time you may not get that offer quickly enough if the buyer changes their mind or sees another house and it may get withdrawn before you see it. This applies to agents who don't work weekends as well, why give a buyer an opportunity to withdraw their offer before it gets presented?
How many transactions have they done? The more you do, the more experienced you are, the more problems you have dealt with, the more negotiations you have been involved in. How many is enough? It depends, you want someone who is able to support themselves doing real estate, and who has experience, especially in negotiations but you may not want someone who does so many transactions that they get over-confident. This is your call.
So next time you are thinking of using an agent ask a few questions, especially about what they bring to the table and how experienced they are at negotiations because today in real estate negotiations are at every level of the deal, from the terms of the offer, to inspections to appraisal issues and you want someone who can offer different suggestions and is not just going to be a stone wall to the deal being completed.
This week I passed my broker exams after several months of studying and completing classes. I have learnt a lot, and every deal I do adds to my experience, I have been negotiating for more than 30 years in real estate and before when I ran my own business as an antique dealer. To me the added knowledge I bring to the table as an "associate broker" is added value for my clients. I am looking forward to using my new knowledge and if you are thinking of buying or selling real estate along the Main Line in Philadelphia I would love to represent you and bring that knowledge and my energy to work for you.