How to Find a Real Estate Broker You Can Trust
When it comes to real estate, find yourself a broker who's both trustworthy and responsible
If you're selling properties, are you considered a real estate broker?
A real estate broker, or REB, is in the business of selling or leasing a property. Those properties can be house and lots, condominiums, office spaces, lots, or parking slots. But not everyone who sells properties is a licensed REB. According to the Real Estate Service Act of the Philippines (RESA Law), licensed brokers are registered under the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Housing and Land Use Regulatory Board (HLURB). Licensed brokers would usually have stamps or include “PRC no.” and “HLURB no.” at the end of their names, because it shows that they’re registered to do business with you, and took the tests and applied for the licenses to do so.
What does this mean to the buyer?
It means that when you deal with a licensed broker, they can’t simply disappear with your money—you can take legal action against them should they turn out to be shady or dishonest. Licensed broker Bernadette Tuazon Abella says, “The main difference between a real estate broker and other sellers is that an REB is licensed and registered under PRC or HLURB. His or her license may be revoked if the REB is engaged in fraudulent transactions, or practiced unethical conduct. REB may also be penalized with up to Php200,000 fine, or up to 4-year imprisonment.”
Does that make all sales agents frauds?
No, as long as real estate salespersons are registered under a licensed Real Estate Broker. Abella states, “A real estate broker can have 20 real estate salespersons registered under his or her PRC license, for as long as the license is renewed every three years.”
How do you find a reliable Real Estate Broker?
Getting referrals from friends who have dealt with buying properties would be a good start. They’ll most likely refer those who they found were easy to deal with, or were responsible and acted ethically. “Asking friends or relatives will always be a good start,” Abella states.
Ask for their specialty.
Most REBs have a roster of properties that they can offer you, but it would be best to get referrals for a broker who specializes in a certain location, or certain type of property. Most REBs would zero in on selling just office spaces, while others would focus on residential properties. When asking for referrals, be specific on what type of property you’re in the market for, and choose the REBs specializing in the property and location you’re looking for.
Do your initial research—Google them!
Abella suggests that you can always search for the names of your shortlisted REBs to check their legitimacy. “Ask for the REB’s complete name or 7-digit PRC license number, then head to the PRC’s official website, www.prc.gov.ph.”
Meet, don’t commit.
When you’re taken to look at properties, you are under no obligation to sign or pay for anything—real estate isn’t an impulse buy! Be wary of brokers who are too hard sell, or are pressuring you to the point of being uncomfortable. Find the person who makes you feel at ease, and one who you feel is trustworthy.
Know your rights.
Reading contracts and terms and conditions may feel unnecessary, but in truth, everything you need to know about what paperwork to expect (like your property's title, for example) and what services your broker will be providing are all there, in black and white. The basics to know—any amount given to another person must have a corresponding official receipt, and all titles must be under the owner’s name, or transferred to the owner’s name in due time. Any broker who doesn’t comply with these basics can be reported to the PRC or HLURB.
Don’t be afraid to make the switch.
Take note that this can only be done if you’re not in the middle of a sale—transferring your details and such is possible, but would be too much of a hassle. But if for any reason that you lost faith in your current broker and you’ve given them enough chances to redeem his or herself, you can always scout for a new one, either one from the same group if they’re working as a team, or a different individual altogether.
Finding a reliable real estate broker is much like finding that person you click with—after all, the foundation that needs to be between you and your broker is one of trust, and that can’t be found in just anyone. Take your time in choosing the one that will be able to address your needs.
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