Becoming a Pioneer Valley real estate agent is a pretty easy thing to do as it is throughout Massachusetts. It’s as simple as being 18 years old, taking a class, and passing a test. One doesn’t need a college degree or even need to have been a good high school student. One can even be a high school drop-out who has earned their General Equivalency Diploma (GED). When entrusting someone to serve as a consultant when selling or buying what is likely the largest investment a Pioneer Valley home seller or home buyer will make, it is not advisable to work with someone who has only met these minimum requirements.
Dealing with the right real estate sales professional has ramifications beyond a single home sale or purchase. Real Estate is one of the largest driving forces of our economy. We saw how unethical behavior among the largest banks and other financial institutions led to one of the worst economic crises in American history, resulting in millions of people losing their homes. This supports the notion that real estate sales professionals need to be steadfast and uncompromising when it comes to professional ethics―not only for the protection of the consumer, but for the general well-being of the local and national economy.
When deciding who you would like to serve as your consultant when buying or selling a home, a good place to start is to call a real estate agent who is a REALTOR®. Pioneer Valley home buyers and home sellers can make this determination by simply going to the website of the REALTOR® Association of Pioneer Valley―the local REALTOR® board―and conducting a search. Not all real estate agents are members of the National Association of REALTORS® who subscribes to a strict Code of Ethics. This code is a promise to abide by certain duties to clients and customers, to the public, and to other REALTORS®.
A home buyer or home seller who is working with an agent who isn’t a REALTOR®, there is a risk that they aren’t working with an agent who subscribes to the highest standard of practice conducive to their best interests, who knows what that standard is, or why it is in place; which could have deleterious consequences to a home buyer or a home seller. Some of these duties are covered by Massachusetts law, but others go above and beyond the rules established by the commonwealth.
Home buyers and home sellers should familiarize themselves with the REALTOR® Code, as well. While REALTORS® are supposed to subscribe to the ethics code; there are some who could use a refresher. So it’s a good idea for a home buyer or home seller to know the REALTOR® ethics code so they can protect themselves from who may be a mendacious agent.
While working with a REALTOR® is a good start, Pioneer Valley home sellers and buyers could do even better.
Some REALTORS® have gone above and beyond subscribing to the Code of Ethics and the continuing education requirements required by the state. For example, the author of this blog is a REALTOR® who has traveled to New York and New Hampshire as part of his pursuit of earning the prestigious Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) designation. Less than 5% of REALTORS® are part of an elite group of professionals with a CRS next to their name. I’ve also taken the time to earn the National Association of REALTORS® Green designation so that I can better advise my clients about energy efficient homes and sustainability. Other designations that I have taken the time to earn are: Certified Buyers Agent (CBR), Certified New Homes Specialist (CNHS), and Loss Mitigation Specialist (LMC). I am also a licensed real estate broker, which is a step above being a licensed salesperson.
When selling or buying what is likely your largest investment, it is also a good idea to ask a real estate agent if they have a college education or a graduate degree. Some of the best REALTORS® that I have co-broke a real estate sale with were college-educated professionals. The author of this blog holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and a graduate degree in anthropology. I have found that my education in the social sciences has been beneficial to the interpersonal skills required for any sales position.
In conclusion, it is important to make sure that the real estate agent is a knowledgeable professional who is an educated REALTOR® that subscribes to the Code of Ethics. Buying or selling a home is the biggest investment that most people will make in their lifetime. Working with the wrong agent could result in a home purchase or sale being the biggest mistake of a lifetime. Don’t be afraid to ask for a resumé.
If you are planning on buying or selling a home in the Pioneer Valley, make your first call to Michael Seward at 413-531-7129.