You have determined that you want to purchase a home. You have completed the first and most important step: getting preapproved for a mortgage by a Mortgage company or the mortgage department of a lender. What is the next step?

You will need a good agent or broker to work with you. You can attempt to look for a home without one, however, without a real estate broker or agent,  you will probably miss many of the properties that are available.  Most importantly, you might not make the best decision or purchase the property that actually best meets your needs and financing.

The best part of working with a professional is that the services of an agent or broker are generally free to buyers. There is no need for you, as a buyer, to pay any commission, administrative fee or any type of fee to an agent. Most agents do not try to charge buyers fees because the agents fees or commissions are typically paid for by the home sellers who have hired the agents to sell their homes.

You can be represented by a realtor, a realtist or any licensed agent. A realtist is a member of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, the country’s largest and oldest minority professional trade association.

There are chapters throughout the country. NAREB was founded to discourage the practice of discrimination in housing, to represent the best interest of minorities who were, at the time, limited in the areas of Baltimore and America that they could live in, and to eliminate redlining, discrimination and the like.

Having been President of the Real Estate Brokers of Baltimore, for several terms as well as having been Chairman of its Board of Directors, I would recommend using NAREB. Think of them as the NAACP of real estate.

Michael Cassell, CRB,CRS,GRI is the former chairman of the Maryland Real Estate Commission and isbroker/owner of Creative Real Estate Services. For more information go to MikeCassell.com.