The U.S. Census Bureau reports more Americans chose to buy a home during the third quarter of 2011. Home ownership jumped to 66.3 percent during that period, up from the 13-year low of 65.9 percent from the previous quarter, according to the bureau’s report.

“Housing affordability has been at a record high this year,” says Gene Lentz, president of the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. “This is a golden opportunity for people with secure jobs and good credit who want to achieve the American dream of homeownership.”

“Whether somebody is buying or selling a home, finding a good REALTOR® and understanding his or her role should be the first step in what could be the most important transaction in a lifetime,” adds Lentz.

Lentz notes that not all real estate agents or brokers are REALTORS®. A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent or broker who is a member of National Association of REALTORS®, the world’s largest professional trade association. The “REALTOR®” designation is used by real estate agents and brokers who must adhere to a strict Code of Ethics and actively pursue continuing education to increase their professionalism and skill. The Code of Ethics sets REALTORS® apart from other real estate licensees and protects all parties to the real estate transaction, not just a REALTOR®’s client. If a local Association of REALTORS® finds a REALTOR® in violation of the Code of Ethics, disciplinary action can be imposed.

REALTORS® must complete ethics training by taking at least 2.5 hours of instruction at least once every four years to keep membership in NAR. For a REALTOR®, living with the Code of Ethics means being honest and dependable, never putting your interests ahead of your client’s, and speaking the truth to all parties.

When evaluating a potential real estate agent, there are certain questions you should ask. First, ask whether the agent is a REALTOR®. Then ask the following questions:

  • Does the agent have an active real estate license in good standing? To find this information, you can check with your state’s governing agency.
  • Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORS® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region.
  • Is real estate their full-time career?
  • What real estate designations does the agent hold?
  • Which party is he or she representing–you or the seller? This discussion is supposed to occur early on, at “first serious contact” with you. The agent should discuss your state’s particular definitions of agency, so you’ll know where you stand.
  • In exchange for your commitment, how will the agent help you accomplish your goals? How will the agent show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you?

Visit the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS® website at www.silvar.org for a list of REALTORS® by location.

 

 

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