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What Is a REALTOR®?

Not all real estate licensees are REALTORS®. While a real estate agent is simply licensed in New Jersey to conduct business, a REALTOR® has taken the additional steps to become a member of the National, State, and Local Associations of REALTORS® and are pledged to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, the world's largest professional association.

A REALTOR® has its own identification standard—the REALTOR® "R" logo, a federally registered mark licensed exclusively to members of the National Association of REALTORS®. This mark represents our high standard of professional conduct in serving your interests, ensuring your transaction will be handled professionally and your real estate rights protected.

Should I use a REALTOR®?

Your local REALTOR® is a licensed real estate professional with knowledge and experience in your local market. REALTORS® can help you price and market your property for sale, find the home that's right for you and guide you through all the steps of a successful real estate transaction.

According to the National Association of REALTOR®'s 2008 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 92 percent of sellers were assisted by a real estate agent when selling their home and 81 percent of buyers purchased their home through a real estate agent or broker. Surveys of both buyers and sellers consistently reveal that consumers value the guidance and advice offered by real estate professionals.

How can I find out what my home is worth?

You can get either a full blown appraisal, which needs to be done by a certified home appraiser, or you can get a "CMA" (Comparative Market Analysis) from a local real estate agent. The CMA will take homes that have sold recently near your home and that are comparable to yours in age, size and condition and determine a current market price. A CMA is available, at no charge, from a real estate agent. A CMA will help guide you in setting your home's sale price but the true price is what a buyer is ready, willing and able to pay for it.

What should I ask a mortgage lender?

It is important to interview a mortgage lender and choose one that you feel comfortable with. Asking the following questions will give you the insight to help you find the best overall mortgage loan.

Which type of loan is best?

Have the lender explain the pros and cons of the following loan types:

• Fixed-rate loans

• Adjustable-rate loans

• Interest-only loans

• Negative-amortization loans

Have the lender answer the following questions:

• What is the interest rate on the mortgage?

• What are all of the closing costs?

• Do you offer loan rate locks and does it cost to lock a loan?

• Is there a prepayment penalty on this loan?

• What is the minimum down payment for this loan?

• What documents will I need to provide you?

• How long does it take to process my application?

What is the Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice for REALTORS® and where can I get a copy?

The Code of Ethics is a commitment made by all members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) that promises you honesty and ethical treatment in all transaction-related matters. All members of the Monmouth Ocean Regional REALTORS® are members of NAR and are bound by the Code of Ethics to protect your rights and always act in your best interest. Click here to view the Code of Ethics.

What is MLS?

MLS stands for Multiple Listing Service. A Multiple Listing Service is a database used by real estate agents to share information about properties with real estate brokers who may represent potential buyers. MLS systems contain hundreds of fields of information about the features of a property and are only accessible to member real estate agents. Websites that offer public access to property information have only a limited amount of property data and can often be outdated or inaccurate.

The Monmouth Ocean Regional Multiple Listing Service is provided by the Monmouth Ocean Regional REALTORS® and currently there are over 9,800 real estate professionals who access the listing information.

What is a Short Sale?

A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the proceeds from the sale fall short of the balance owed on a loan secured by the property sold. The bank or mortgage lender agrees to discount a loan balance due to an economic or financial hardship on the part of the mortgagor. The home owner/debtor sells the mortgaged property for less than the outstanding balance of the loan and turns over the proceeds of the sale to the lender. A short sale typically is executed to prevent a home foreclosure.