A real estate agent is a licensed professional representing another party in a real estate transaction. For example, real estate agents will represent the buyer, seller, tenant, or landlord in the lease or sale of a residential or commercial property. In rare instances, they may even represent both parties in a transaction. Although real estate agents aren't required to have a four-year college degree, they must have a license in the state where they wish to practice. Exact requirements vary, but typically agents will be required to complete a state-approved educational requirement and pass an exam.
Real estate agents are there to provide experience and insight to help their clients navigate the process of buying or selling a home (or another type of property transaction). A home is typically the largest asset most individuals will ever own. Therefore, successfully buying or selling a property can significantly impact your future and financial stability. Real estate agents provide crucial insight and guidance backed by industry experience to ensure their clients are as informed and prepared as possible to make educated decisions. The exact duties of a real estate agent will vary depending on the circumstance, but their role is to provide advice, support, and guidance to make sure the transaction is as smooth as possible.
When representing a seller, a real estate agent will help their client determine a reasonable asking price and market the property to potential buyers. They will start by pulling comps and providing data on the local housing market to determine a listing price. They will then list the home on the MLS and any other database they can access to attract buyers. A seller's agent may also host open houses, send the listing to other agents they know, post for sale signs and do whatever they can to market the property. Then once the seller begins receiving offers, they will advise their client on the best course of action, help them negotiate, and walk them through the closing process.
A buyer's agent will meet with their client to review their financial records and determine what they're looking for in a home. They will then start setting up viewings to give the buyer as many options as possible. Once the buyer sees a home they like, their agent will advise them on making an offer and submit it to the seller or seller's agent. They will also help them negotiate and walk them through the due diligence process to ensure the property is up to their standards.
The role of a real estate agent at closing is to help their client read through all the paperwork and ensure they understand what they're signing. They will also prepare them for the close by letting them know what to expect and what to bring to the table. By that point, the deal should be virtually finalized, but if any other details need to be straightened out, they will advise their client and help them negotiate. During the closing, the real estate agent's job is to be an advisor to their client to ensure there are no delays or hiccups.
What is the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor?
Although the terms real estate agent and realtor are often used interchangeably, there is a slight distinction. A real estate agent is anyone licensed to represent another party in a real estate transaction. A realtor refers to a member of the National Association of Realtors, which includes a variety of real estate professionals including real estate agents, investors, property managers, and contractors. So real estate agents can be realtors, but not all realtors are agents.
How Many Hours Does a Real Estate Agent Work?
It depends on the agent. Real estate agents are typically independent contractors, allowing them to set their own hours. Some agents grind non-stop and may work 60+ hours per week. In contrast, others do it as a side hustle and may only work a few hours on the weekends. So, it depends on the schedule and goals of the agent.