First, let’s get something out of the way and talk about Alaska semantics. Not all real estate licensees are Realtors even though the term “Realtor” is synonymous with real estate agent. Also, “real estate agents” in Alaska are technically called licensees. Let me explain!
Realtor is a term used to describe real estate licensees who are members of the National Association of Realtors. A Realtor and you’re a-typical licensee can both sell real estate in their designated state, but the biggest difference is that the Realtor subscribes to the ideologies of the NAR and also takes their code of ethics.
In most states, professionals who carry a license to sell real estate are called, “agents.” Due to some less than becoming activities by former licensees, people who are licensed professionals in Alaska to sell real estate are not technically able to call themselves agents. Small semantics, but it’s important to know so we can make a clear distinction when talking about your future dream licensee! (P.S. even though I went through that long introduction, for the remainder of this blog I will in fact call licensees agents!)
What does a real estate agent provide you in the great state of Alaska? Here are some things to name a few:
· Identify your best financial real estate solution
· Identify and show you potential properties
· Contractually and legally represent you in a huge financial transaction
· Protect your best interests by upholding great moral standards
· Creatively overcome obstacles that may prevent you from closing
· Non-Licensed therapist
Ok, that last one may be a bit far-fetched, but it is true. Now that we know a little bit about who an agent is and what they do, what’s the most important thing we should look for?
I may upset a few people about what I’m about to say to determine your agent, but bear with me as I explain it! I believe the following is most important in the correct order:
· Honesty and Integrity
It may be a little different depending on the situation (business sales, commercial, high dollar transactions, transactions with unique circumstances requiring deep understanding of real estate law). Let’s just say this is for your typical first time homebuyer.
First time home buying is not, technically speaking, a very hard transaction for any agent to complete. That said, this is why I have formulated my chart this way. You have to LIKE your agent. You will be married to them for 2-4 months during the process. Talking to some one every day, dealing with emotional and stressful situations with them…you want to like that person.
Next, you have to know they will deal fairly and honestly. Please note this is a personal preference, but I believe all business transactions should be done fairly and honestly as part of their civic duty of being a public servant (much like a doctor). Also, this helps you stay out of law-suites and jail—that’s a good thing!
Education…I implore all agents and Realtors to become highly, highly educated. However, in a simple transaction, or a complex one, most agents have access to many, many professionals who have been there before, including but not limited to their broker (the main guy who is in charge of their companies dealings). That is why this ranks lower than the later two. Like I said, education is VASTLY important, just not the most important thing.
Lastly, experience not only extends to real estate, but in life. I like to know if my agent will give me undying follow through, attention to detail, meet and attack timelines and has a great track record throughout all professional endeavors in their life. I’m not saying an agent who came from flipping burgers can’t make the worlds best Realtor…in fact many have! What I am pointing out is that you have to make sure they are an A-class agent who pulls out all the stops to get the job done for you. You need to make sure they are not lazy, slothful or dismissive.
To recap, if you like your agent, you trust them, they have some solid education with a proven track record, hold them tight and never let them go! A great person with an awesome attitude is hard to find in any industry and goes a long, long way.