So, it is finally time to buy a home. You are making a sound decision and investment in your future and in your family's future too. As you begin your house-hunting, you should know that you can buy a home with the help of three different professionals. Those professionals, their titles, and what they typically do, are as follows.
Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a licensed individual who can show you any home you want to see. He or she also acts as the go-between for you and the seller, and draws up the contracts when you want to make an offer. The real estate agent earns a percentage of the sale of the property; that is how he or she earns a living. The agent may also be a realtor, but only if he she has met the standards and requirements of the realtor industry in your state. Usually, an agent works for a real estate agency, and not for his or her own self.
A realtor is an agent who has met the realtor qualifications and requirements set by the realtor certification in your state. He or she is free to operate as an independent agent and command a larger cut of the profits on the properties and homes sold. A realtor can work for both the seller and the buyer, or just the seller/just the buyer. If you hire a realtor, make sure that he/she has no conflicts of interest with a seller of a property you want to purchase so that the realtor is working for just you.
Real Estate Broker
A broker buys and sells properties as a means of producing personal revenue. He or she does not have access to the properties in the same way that the real estate agent or realtor does. If you are serious about buying a property, the broker would first have to purchase the property ahead of you, then resell the property or transfer it and the financial responsibility into your name.
Of course, as is the case with any broker of goods, the broker takes an even higher percentage of the resale profits. You may end up paying more for the house, but you are almost certainly guaranteed the house you want. If that is well within your budget, then you can proceed. The broker may have access to home-buying program information that will help make the house more affordable to you, too.