What is a REALTOR?


REALTORS are licensed real estate professionals who are members of the National Association of REALTORS, the New York State Association of REALTORS and their local board or association of REALTORS. They must abide by a strict code of ethics, and their job is to ensure you get what you need throughout the entire home buying and selling process.

For more information on what a REALTOR can do for you throughout the buying and selling processes, read the information below or contact a local board or association of REALTORS in your area. Not all real estate brokers and agents are REALTORS. Look for the REALTOR “R” when you hire a real estate professional.

Home buyers benefit from using a REALTOR

Buying a home is probably the biggest single investment you’ll ever make. When purchasing a home, it’s a good idea to surround yourself with knowledgeable people within the real estate industry, including a true professional – your local REALTOR.

  • A REALTOR helps a buyer determine how much home they can actually afford. Often a REALTOR can suggest additional ways to accrue the down payment and explain alternative financing methods.
  • A REALTOR has access to thousands of listings and can evaluate those listings in terms of affordability and suitability – size, style, features, location, etc. A REALTOR will not waste time showing homes that do not meet their needs.
  • A REALTOR can supply information on real estate values, taxes, utility costs, municipal services and facilities, and may be aware of proposed zoning changes that could affect a consumer’s decision to buy.
  • A REALTOR can often suggest changes within an available home that could make it more suitable to a buyer’s needs.
  • A REALTOR has no emotional ties to available homes therefore he/she can point out advantages and disadvantages in an objective manner.
  • When a REALTOR is acting as a buyer’s agent, he/she will negotiate the most favorable price and terms on behalf of the buyer.
  • A REALTOR usually knows the local money market and can tell a buyer about financing options.
  • A REALTOR can explain the closing process in advance and tell a buyer if local law requires an attorney to be present. A REALTOR can provide the buyer with a list of qualified attorneys if the buyer doesn’t have one.

Want to figure out the estimated cost of purchasing that dream home? Use this worksheet.

Not too sure what to look for when walking through an open house? Here’s a handy checklist.

Sellers benefit from using a REALTOR

According to the National Association of REALTORS the median home price for sellers who use a licensed agent is 16 percent higher than a home sold directly by the owner. Selling a home is a complex transaction that takes time, effort and expertise.

  • A REALTOR can help set a realistic competitive price for the seller and figure the approximate net proceeds for the sale based on types of loans, the seller’s outstanding loan balance and closing costs.
  • A REALTOR is familiar with the local home loan market, knows if seller assistance is advisable and can help a seller decide the type of financing that’s best to expedite the sale.
  • REALTORS ensure potential buyers are “qualified” as to their affordable price range prior to showing them a seller’s home.
  • A REALTOR can list the seller’s home in a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and can work with other REALTORS to assure the seller a wider range of prospective buyers.
  • A REALTOR will advise prospects of all aspects and conditions of the seller’s home, even faults the seller doesn’t intend to fix. This will protect the seller from later objections.
  • A REALTOR handles most all aspects of the selling process including: phone inquiries, making appointments, open houses and showings along with potential buyer follow-ups.
  • A REALTOR is a skilled salesperson who knows how to merchandise a seller’s home efficiently. A REALTOR knows how to add sales appeal to a seller’s home at a low to moderate cost.
  • If a REALTOR is the seller’s agent, he/she maintains objectivity in responding to criticisms by the buyer and in presenting offers and counter-offers until an agreement is reached.
  • A REALTOR will familiarize the seller with the closing procedures in advance and often attend the event to explain any questions.

Want to estimate the proceeds of selling your home? Use this worksheet.

Is your house ready to put on the market? Here’s a handy checklist.

REALTORS work for home buyers and sellers

Let your broker work for you. A qualified real estate professional can answer questions on price, terms, possession, etc., and maintain objectivity in resolving to buyer objections. REALTORS bring buyers and seller together to negotiate an agreement satisfactory to both parties. Before the first showing and beyond the final sale, you’ll get the know-how and service you deserve when employing the services of a New York REALTOR.

For more information on how to pick the best REALTOR for your needs, check out the Realty Times article "Choosing Your Agent."