A real estate agent is a person who is authorized to conduct real estate business in a given state. This licensed professional is educated in real estate matters and has passed a state board exam. In many states, there are significant distinctions between the terms “agent,” “salesperson,” “broker,” etc. In most cases, when speaking of an “agent,” the person is talking about a salesperson as opposed to a broker (a broker tends to handle higher-level real estate issues).
Real estate terms for professionals can be very difficult to figure out. In some states, an “agent” is called a “real estate broker,” while the broker is called a “qualifying broker.” In some states like Colorado, all licensed real estate professionals are considered brokers.
What Do Real Estate Agents Do?
Depending on their education, licensing, and certification, real estate agents may perform tasks such as:
- Handle standard client forms and questionnaires
- Answer basic questions that buyer or seller clients may have
- Review real estate contracts
- Engage in the negotiation of prices, up to the closing of a deal
- Showcase property and guide clients in walk-throughs and open houses
- Provide clients with some information up to a certain level of knowledge and expertise
Real estate agents or salespersons are sometimes limited in their actual work capacity. For instance, they sometimes need to obtain confirmation from a supervising broker regarding more important transaction decisions. For most home buyers, this distinction does not really have any effects. However, for more experienced investors and commercial investors, a broker may be more preferable over a sales agent.
What Do Real Estate Agents Do for Buyers?
Real estate agents may search for local properties that match their client’s preferences and price range. This may involve searching online or scouting houses in person. Real estate agents also set up property showings and inform clients about the housing market in the local area.
Once a client has found a home they are interested in, real estate agents help submit bids and negotiate on behalf of a buyer throughout the buying process.
Real estate agents also help to set up home appraisals and inspections. Real estate agents often have relationships with people in the housing industry who provide these services.
Oftentimes, a lot of paperwork occurs during the process of buying a home. A real estate agent helps guide a buyer through all of the contracts, agreements, and other necessary documents when buying a home. Real estate agents are also the ones who submit paperwork on behalf of a buyer.
What Do Real Estate Agents Do for Sellers?
Homeowners looking to sell their homes often turn to a listing agent. A listing agent helps provide clients with valuations of their homes so that a listing price can be set. Real estate agents often make suggestions for home updates that will help a home sell better in the market.
Listing agents enter homes into local listing service databases and network with other real estate agents to create advertisements and set up open houses.
Real estate agents also have to create interest for buyers, too. Real estate agents often check a potential buyer’s finances before arranging a showing or accepting an offer. Real estate agents know how to find out if a potential home buyer can afford to purchase the home or not.
Real estate agents may negotiate various aspects of a home sale on behalf of a seller. A real estate agent may negotiate the entire price of a home, or negotiate smaller expenses such as closing costs, warranties, and fees. If there are any legal actions that occur during the process of selling a home, a real estate agent will handle them. This may include preparing, submitting, or filing any documents, contracts, or agreements.
How Do You Become a Real Estate Agent?
To become a licensed real estate agent, most states require a minimum number of classroom hours studying real estate law before applicants take a state licensing exam. This education may be provided by real estate firms or education companies within their respective states. The courses prepare new licensees for the legal aspects of transferring real estate and help students pass the state licensing exam.
Once a person is licensed, they are initially designated as a salesperson and must work under a broker’s license (in most states).
Where Do Real Estate Agents Work?
Real estate agents spend most of their time in an office environment, but some real estate agents travel and work irregular hours. They visit properties and attend meetings with prospective and current clients. These meetings may take place during the day, in the evenings, or on the weekends.
Real estate agents often attend conferences and seminars to stay up to date on current market trends and to keep up with their professional contact network. They must keep up with all of the available properties in their area, which may involve going to open houses every week.
What Is Dual Agency?
A dual agency is when the same brokerage firm represents both the buyer and the seller in the transaction. This is not so common anymore in some states; however, it can often be acceptable where the same brokerage firm represents the clients, but different agents within the firm represent the buyer and seller, respectively. This creates a somewhat different agency relationship.
Dual agency arrangements must always be disclosed to both the buyer and the seller. Undisclosed dual agency work is illegal in all U.S. states. Legal disputes with real estate agents can also involve fraud, misrepresentation, and other issues. A lawsuit is sometimes necessary to allow the plaintiff to recover damages that result from the violations.
What Happens if I Don’t Have a Real Estate Agent?
If you are buying or selling a house yourself, all of the previously mentioned responsibilities of a real estate agent become your own. Suppose you choose to sell your home without using a realtor. In that case, you are in charge of listing your home, advertising it, setting up showings and open houses, drafting necessary paperwork, negotiating prices, and communicating with a buyer’s real estate agent.
If you’re buying a house without a realtor, you must submit bids, negotiate prices, oversee inspections, and handle all of the legal tasks necessary for buying a home. If you don’t have experience or knowledge of real estate, you may not be able to represent yourself or oversee these transactions confidently. Consider hiring a real estate lawyer to save yourself time and energy.
Do I Need a Real Estate Lawyer?
Real estate agents are necessary for most real estate transactions. Working with a real estate agent can sometimes involve various legal concerns. You may wish to hire a real estate lawyer if you need assistance with any type of real estate issue. Your attorney can represent you in court and can help you pursue the course of action that best fits your situation.
If you’re interested in hiring a real estate lawyer, consider using the link here to view LegalMatch’s database of experienced attorneys. LegalMatch’s 100% confidential services can help you narrow down your search for a lawyer in your area for free.