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A Realtor is a Realtor is a Realtor…Or Are They?

Not very long ago, if you wished to look for a home to buy, engaging the services of a real estate professional was the first step. With the advent of the internet, many people house hunt on their own or even attempt to go through the closing process without the assistance of a realtor. Even though the MLS has made it much easier to “DIY”, the services of a Realtor, real estate agent, or a real estate broker are invaluable to home buyers.

You may be confused right now, due to that last sentence. With less advertising and less reliance on realty companies to find homes, many people aren’t aware of the fact that a real estate agent, real estate broker and a realtor are not necessarily the same thing. So what’s the difference, and does it matter?

First, let’s start with what they have in common. All are licensed professionals, trained and certified to sell real estate, who can give advice on home buying. That said, a real estate agent has less stringent standards. Anyone who has earned a real estate license is a real estate agent. A real estate agent is a licensed salesperson, but must work for a broker, not operate independently.

A real estate broker must have a college degree or equivalent experience in real estate, and they must take a longer and more difficult broker’s exam that holds them to a higher standard of knowledge than a real estate sales agent. A broker may work for themselves as an independent agent, or they may hire real estate sales agents to work for them. Brokers are responsible for their agents and must provide oversight for their activities.

All Realtors are brokers or agents, but not all agents and brokers are Realtors. Realtor is an official title that refers to membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAR members must pay dues, adhere to a strict ethical code, and answer to a local board. While there are certainly plenty of honest and aboveboard agents and brokers, a Realtor maintains a promise to follow a number of standards governing their conduct and practices that are more extensive and detailed than the state guidelines for agents who hold a real estate license.

Going forward into the future we may see a change in how real estate brokerages, real estate agents, and Realtors operate and sell homes, the same way we have seen a revolution taking place in online mortgages and house-hunting on the MLS. But as real estate is such a high dollar and personal transaction, the need for a human hand and face to face interactions is unlikely to go away.

At Setco Services, we pride ourselves on our ability to implement new technology, such as our secure Paperless Closer, alongside our personal touch and customized title products provided by friendly and helpful local title agents. Whether you have chosen a real estate agent, a broker, a Realtor, or are taking a DIY approach to buy or sell a home, we will be happy to talk with you about what you need to make your closing go smoothly.

Leaving the Nest? Be Ready to Fly!

Elective courses have come a long way since the days of shop for boys and home ec for girls. Now students in high school may opt to take Mandarin, graphic design, oceanography or computer networking. However, there is an area where most schools are still not teaching essential skills: General Life as an Adult. Whether you’re about to send your kids off to college or you’re about to graduate, there are some necessary skills all young adults should be taught. Here we will address young people who are ready to take responsibility for their own lives and cover some basic tasks that should be undertaken when one heads out into the adult world.

Flipping Out? How to Finance Investment Property

If you’re even casually following real estate trends right now, you know it’s a seller’s market. Inventory is tight and is likely to stay that way for a while. If you don’t want to sell your own home, is there any way this situation can benefit you? It’s possible, if you have the desire and funds, to “flip” homes, buy distressed properties, fix them up and resell them for a considerable profit. But what if you have the desire and no funds? Is there any way to get a loan on a house you plan to flip?

Fixing Up Your First Impression

You never get a second chance to make a first impression, right? You’ve heard that many times in your life, but have you thought about it in regard to your home? Whether you’re trying to sell your current home or decorating a new one, you want your entryway to make a positive statement about your home.

Time to Sell? Maybe Not!

You own your home but you’re ready to make a move. Most people in this position start thinking about selling their existing home, but have you considered renting it out? Renting can be a great way to bring in extra income and maintain the equity in the home you have now, rather than starting over again from zero. Is this a feasible option for you? While it may not be a walk down easy street, it is possible to not just make the situation work, but to make it seriously profitable. Keeping your old home as a rental can help you build wealth both through equity and a monthly cash income. Can you handle owning two homes (and likely paying two mortgages) at one time?

Keeping Up With the Trends: 2018 Real Estate

The older we get, the less we seem to be worried about following the trends. Fashion trends, musical trends, makeup trends, often these seem to be unimportant once we reach a certain age. However, if you are looking to buy a home this year, or just thinking about it, there are definitely some market trends you should be aware of.

Negotiation: What 2018 Buyers Need to Know

From coupons to car buying, everyone likes to save money. The bigger the purchase, the more exciting it is to feel that you have come out ahead. In the current real estate market though, is it possible? As a buyer in a seller’s market, with a shortage of inventory in many desirable regions, does a buyer actually have any room to negotiate?

Tips for Home Buying in a Hot Seller’s Market

Summer 2018: A persistently strong economy, low unemployment, burgeoning Millennial buyers, and a high savings rate, combine with low mortgage rates to make the housing market very appealing for most home buyers. Home sales continued to fall in April and May but only due to shortages in available homes, not lack of interest. This means the competition for homes will get intense this summer.

Mortgage Loans: What to Know Before You Owe

Searching for your new home is an exciting process, and finding the one you want can be thrilling, but if you are like the majority of people, you are going to have to get a loan to actually buy it. Obtaining a home loan is a huge undertaking, and many people enter the process completely unprepared. What do you need to know before you go to a mortgage lender and ask for the funds to take possession of your dream?

2018 Staging Trends for Sellers

 If you’re looking to sell your home in 2018, you know the basics. Improve your curb appeal, make sure the house is clean, update what you can. What you may not have considered is not just tidying up and decluttering your home, but actually staging it.

Staging, or preparing your residence for sale to make it appealing to the majority of potential buyers, increases your chances not only to sell quickly, but to sell for a higher price. According to a 2017 survey by the National Association of Realtors, a majority of real estate professionals believe staging increases the sale price of the home anywhere from 1 to 15 percent! Staging is more than just decorating. It means choosing props, moving or removing furniture that makes the space look cramped, and creating focal points in the main living areas.