Southeast Living Staff

Thinking of buying or selling a home all by yourself? Perhaps you don’t think you need assistance, or maybe you’re unsure of what it is exactly that a Realtor does. After all, you’re capable of looking at homes, right? If only it were that simple. Marty McKeown, owner and broker of RE/MAX of Juneau provides insight into what Realtors and Brokers do and how they lend assistance when buying and selling homes.

Southeast Living: What are some of the routine functions that Realtors perform when working on behalf of clients?

Marty McKeown: One thing we should clarify first is the term “Realtor.”  A Realtor is a real estate agent (or real estate licensee in Alaska) who also is a member in good standing with The National Association of Realtors. They are required to abide by a strict code of ethics.  Most “Licensees” here in Juneau are also Realtors.

Realtors perform many tasks that help make buying or selling a home easier for the customer. We assist with pricing strategies, negotiate transactions, offer client representation, schedule showings, meet with inspectors, offer insight and most importantly market your home through the Southeast Multiple Listing Service (MLS).  Getting your home in front of as many potential buyers is key to selling a home, and there is no better way to do that than the MLS.  For buyers we are able to save the customer time and energy by finding homes that meet their specifications.

SL: What are the advantages of working with a Realtor compared to when an individual attempts to buy or sell a home on their own?

MM: Realtors have the experience and data to help someone make the best decision in what is a constantly changing market. We know what homes are worth in today’s market and can help you price it right.  Realtors have access to a wealth of knowledge both locally and nationally. A lot of people can give a lot of advice, but individuals should feel confident in the advice given by a Realtor because of the experience, knowledge and professionalism we offer. And remember that we also do all the work for the client from start to finish, including negotiating and preparing all the legal documents. We know how to sell real estate – it’s what we do day in and day out!

SL: What kind of credentials, qualifications and/or training are required of licensed Realtors and Brokers?

MM: You need to take a real estate course provided by companies licensed by the State of Alaska (such as ACH Consulting, a local company), pass the state exam and then find a brokerage to hire you. Within the irst year you will need an additional 30 hours of continuing educational credits, with additional credits every two years after that. It’s a bit intense but still a great career! The real education starts once you get up and rolling with your business and are able to put what you’ve learned to work for your clients.

There are many more certifications or designations that many Realtors get such as CRS (Certified Residential Specialists), Distressed Property Specialist, Short Sales Specialists and many more. RE/MAX actually has a “RE/MAX University” that is available to all of our agents and helps us stay educated and on top of our game.

SL: Can you tell us a little about the difference between a Real Estate Licensee and a Broker?

MM: A lot more headaches! (I’m kidding). The answer is you need to be a practicing Licensee for a minimum of two years before you can become a Broker. After the two years of experience you can take another course, pass the State of Alaska’s test, and then take another 30 hours of continuing education within the first year. And if you want to own a Real Estate Company you must either hire a Broker who is at the helm or become a Broker yourself.

The Licensees are independent contractors who work under a Brokerage license, and the Broker in charge is responsible for everything the Licensee’s (Real Estate Agents) do. So, more education is required, more responsibility and more liability.

We are also Realtors and still follow the same code of ethics and professionalism standards. I was a Licensee for three years before I became a Broker and bought RE/MAX of Juneau. Most Brokerages will have at least one Associate Broker in the office to take over when the managing Broker is away. I am lucky enough to have two (Mimi Rothchild and Holly Cerne).

SL: Are there any qualities and/or characteristics make for a good Real Estate Licensee?

MM: To be honest you really just need to be a good “People Person” and have a strong work ethic. Real Estate is a people business – bringing folks together and helping them work out a deal in what is the biggest investment most people will ever make!

SL: You have been in various sales jobs your entire adult life? What is different about the Real Estate industry that made you want to buy RE/MAX of Juneau?

MM: I think what I like most about Real Estate is that people are pretty much always happy on both ends of the deal. Sellers are happy because they are hopefully moving on to a new start and many times with some extra money from their equity. Buyers are happy because they are purchasing a great investment and will have a new home where they can create some fantastic memories with their family and friends!