By Bob Walsmith Jr.
2022 President
Santa Barbara Association of Realtors

According to Webster’s Dictionary, a Realtor is defined as, “a person who acts as an agent for the sale and purchase of buildings and land; a real estate agent.

However, to be called a Realtor®, one must be a licensed real estate salesperson who belongs to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), the largest trade group in the country. Every agent is not a REALTOR®, but most are.

Being a REALTOR® means that you are held to a higher standard of ethics by the NAR.

What is the difference between a salesperson and a REALTOR? Real estate agents are also known as real estate salespeople. But it doesn’t mean that they can legally negotiate a deal and write contracts. In order to properly represent a buyer or seller, an agent must first join a local board of realtors. The board of realtors is how an agent gains access to the contracts.

In the greater Santa Barbara area, the “local board of Realtors” is the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, of which I am proud and honored to be their president for 2022.

Now that I have probably really confused you, let me explain how a local trusted REALTOR® can help you find the home of your dreams or help you sell your current home, and much more.

First, talk to your friends and family for a name or two of the REALTOR® that they trusted to help them during their most recent real estate transaction.

Scour social media. Yes, I said social media. Why you might ask? Well, don’t you feel more comfortable dealing with people that have values close to yours? If you are a lover of wine, golf, fine dining, hiking, like me, wouldn’t you have more in common with that person and probably get along better in the long run? Makes sense!

After you have found one or two, or perhaps more, sit down with them and find out if you are compatible. If you don’t click right away, how do you think it might go during possibly tense negotiations?

Ask them for their client list, complete with phone numbers. Call them and ask them what it was like to deal with this particular REALTOR®. Also, check out their client recommendations on their website. Do your research and homework.

Again, familiarity and comfort are everything when you are dealing with the most expensive purchase or sale you will ever encounter.

Find a REALTOR® that you feel has your best interests at heart and not the fact that you are simply a paycheck to them.

Don’t hire someone just because they are successful or have a shiny website. You always have a choice of who to work with.

Also, you want to find a REALTOR® that will be around after the sale is complete. What I mean by that is that they should be a wonderful resource for you for years to come. What if you need a plumber, an electrician, someone to lay down artificial turf in your backyard, and the list goes on and on? You should call your trusted REALTOR® for those kinds of things.

I get calls all the time from past clients when they need a contractor or similar service. A trusted REALTOR® has a list of referral partners to share with their clients. That is another level of service that they should provide.

Choose a REALTOR® that you feel will be a good friend for a long time. That person will always be there for you and will provide the level of service that you deserve and expect.

I hope this article helps explain what a REALTOR® is and what they can do for you!

Bob Walsmith Jr. is a native to Southern California and a Realtor® with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties in Santa Barbara. During his work with the Santa Barbara Association of Realtors, Bob has served on the CORE Committee, Education Committee, been Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee, and the Multiple Listing Service Committee. He also is on the Board of Directors of the Alpha Resource Center of Santa Barbara. Bob lives in Goleta with his beautiful wife Julie. When not working, Bob enjoys playing golf, fine wine, fine dining, and walking our beautiful coastline. Bob can be reached at 805.720.5362 and/or


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