Wednesday, Jun 11 2014 07:30 AM

Real Estate Today: Why use a Realtor?

Everything you need to know about buying or selling a house is available on the Internet, so why use a Realtor? That may indeed be true. If you are willing to do the research, you may indeed be able to find all the information you want on the Internet. And we all know that if you read it on the Internet, it must be true, right?

Okay, so there's the first, and perhaps among the most important reasons, that you should use a Realtor. Yes, there's all kinds of information on the Internet, but sorting through the chaff to get to the wheat can be difficult, if not impossible. Part of a Realtor's responsibility is to help you sort through the data and interpret it in way that is meaningful.

Some of the things that your Realtor can discuss with you are:

* What's the difference between an equity sale, a foreclosure, or a short sale?

* What type of sale is better for you? (Hint: this varies based on your individual circumstances)

* When's the best time to buy and why?

* When's the best time to sell and why?

* What should you offer on a house I want to buy, and why?

* What price should you list your house for sale, and why?

If you are going to cruise the Internet to see what's going on in our market, I highly recommend that you stick with Realtor.com as your website of choice. It's the only consumer focused website that is updated every 15 minutes to ensure that the properties you see there are truly available.

What's the difference between a Realtor and any other real estate agent? Both are licensed by the California Bureau of Real Estate to practice in California. But, from that point the differences are less obvious. Like Kleenex is a brand of facial tissue, Realtors are the highest level of real estate practitioner.

Realtors do a lot more than help you buy or sell your home. They are also invoked in monitoring and lobbying for, and fighting against, government policy at the local, state and national level to help ensure that homeownership remains a robust part of your financial investment choices.

Perhaps most important, Realtors subscribe to a Code of Ethics. They are held to a higher standard than someone who is merely licensed by the state. These higher standards ensure that you get the highest and best standard of care for all your real estate needs.

For more information about Realtors, contact the Tehachapi Area Association of Realtors or visit the website at TehachapiAOR.com

SALLY LAWRENCE is president of the Tehachapi Area Association of Realtors.

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