In the state of North Carolina, the first step to being able to sell real estate is going to school to get your Broker’s license. I believe that today you must take three classes each requiring 60 or so hours in the classroom.
Once you are a Broker, you have two choices:
- Join an Agency and become a Realtor
- Virtually every real estate agency in NC is part of the North Carolina Association of Realtors
- The NCAR works with our local Association of Realtors and this is our link to MLS
- If the Agency belongs to the association, then every Broker working for the Broker In charge must also be a Realtor
- We pay annual and quarterly dues and must attend regular classes via our association
- Realtors must periodically take Ethics Courses
- Realtors must obey our Code Of Ethics. Realtors who disobey can have formal charges brought against them by the Board and or fellow Realtors.
- Discipline can include fines and suspension of your Brokers License
- Realtors, when working with clients, provide their clients with the opportunity to have them work directly for the clients. This is known as a Buyer’s Agency. We work for you and represent your best interest if in fact you purchase real estate
- Work for a Developer
- Historically, most all the Sales Agents you meet at a community in the Carolinas works directly for the Developer.
- Therefore, they are not Realtors and are not held to the same Set of Ethics that Realtors must abide by
- This also means that the developer sales agents technically do not work for you. Their paycheck and direction come from their boss, the developer
Recently, some of the old school developers have taken a new course and had their agents become Realtors. Reason being is that the best deals on land and homes over the past 3 years have come from Foreclosures and or motivated Sellers. This inventory has been priced significantly below what most developers can afford to sell new for, so in order to not lose their entire database of clients to Realtors who can show all MLS listings, they have had to learn to adapt.
But Why Use a Realtor?
It’s important to understand that when you visit new areas and especially new(er) developments, that the Sales Agent on Duty has only one thing on his/her mind. Sell you their product, regardless of whether or not their product meets your requirements. It’s like going to a car dealership that sells Chryslers. He cannot sell you a Ford, GM or BMW and unless you buy a Chrysler, he goes hungry.
Another aspect against the notion of working with only sales agents from developers is that they are probably not very well versed in providing you with information on the entire area/region they are looking. Yes they can provide you information on what is within 3-5 miles of their plantation but, don’t expect them to offer good, unbiased and quality information on areas outside their comfort zone.
Realtors are almost always very knowledgeable of vast areas because we all have clients that want to see everything when they are in town. Granted you will find some provincial Realtors that only focus on their little part of the world, but for the most part Realtors will be less partial to one specific geographic area.
If you haven’t read The Martini Theory, this would be good to do because before you focus on a community or home, you really need to research the heck out of which area best suits your lifestyle needs. If you have significant medical needs, you need to focus on an area for example that can provide you with what you need. And this is where a local Realtor can help you.
Realtors Work For You
By signing a Buyer’s Agency Agreement, you are hiring an employee to watch over any and or all real estate transactions you enter. Think about it, would you go to court without being represented? Do you pretend to know all the nuances of how real estate is conducted in a state you have never lived? Do you have contacts for inspections, appraisals, mortgage brokers, insurance agents and closing attorneys? Your Realtor does.
Can a Realtor Represent You if You Purchase in a New Development?
In probably 90% of the new developments/plantations, your Realtor can represent you and be fully compensated for his/her efforts. Most developers have acquiesced over the past few years and accepted that Realtors can be good for everyone in a real estate transaction. In years past and still with a small handful of developers, they tend Realtors tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth, which sometimes is not what developers want you to hear.
Think about it. You see a nice ad in some retirement magazine, call the plantation, have a great conversation with an on-site sales agent, come down to visit and fall in love with the place. Do you think if the sales agent’s developer was in a bit of financial difficulty that they would tell you?? A Realtor is because we are bound by the truth. We can lose our license over not conveying the whole truth whereas a sales agent is not bound to any sort of higher ethical standards.
If by chance you do find a developer that is cool to the idea of allowing your Broker to co-broke with them, then simply make it clear that if they want your business, they must fully co-broke with your Realtor. Trust me, they will give in as they all need every sale they can get right now.
A Realtor can also save you enormous amounts of time because as they get to know you, they can help eliminate a good portion of the places you thought you wanted to see because they do not meet your requirements. Plus, a good Realtor will probably show you communities that you were not even aware of. Realtors will also assist you in discovering good local restaurants, shopping areas, Vets, hair salons and you name it because well, this is what we do!