Real estate agents are the cornerstones of the real estate world. Conducting a real estate deal without a real estate agent by your side, whether you’re a buyer or a seller, is like going to court without having an attorney to represent you in front of the judge.
Although it is possible to carry out your real estate investments without an agent, having one by your side will make the process much easier, and would certainly give you an advantage in the experience and knowledge that real estate agents can bring to the negotiations table.
So, what are real estate agents? What are the different types? And which one should you hire for your real estate transaction? Let’s find out.
What Are Real Estate Agents?
In the world of real estate, an agent is an experienced person who can help you, the investor, throughout the different stages of a real estate deal.
A real estate agent will mostly be responsible for representing either the buyer, the seller, or both in a real estate transaction; he/she will act as a consultant to investors, providing his/her years of experience and knowledge to guide the investors and help them achieve their investment goals.
Real estate agents are usually skillful communicators, thinkers, and deal makers, acting to serve the interest of the investor who hired them, which in turn serves their own interest. Real estate agents are typically paid a commission on each sale or transaction that they play a role in, meaning that their share of the profit will increase with the better deal that they are able to provide.
There are different types of real estate agents depending on their level of experience and education, their specialty, and the license that they have.
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Realtors are real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The most prominent quality of realtors is that they have certain standards of ethics and a strict moral code that they abide by. This makes realtors more trustworthy and allows them to compete better in the real estate market.
In order to become a realtor, a real estate agent would need to take a pre-licensing course and a licensing exam. Moreover, realtors usually proudly display their realtor license on their information pages and their business cards.
The greatest advantage of hiring realtor agents is that they have access to property listings that other agents do not have access to, such as the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), giving them greater access to homes on the market.
Brokers are real estate agents who have obtained a higher level of education and experience in the world of real estate. The qualifications for becoming a broker can vary from one state to another. But once the brokerage license is obtained, most brokers would become the owners and managers of their own real estate firms, as having a brokerage license is required for a real estate agent to own a firm.
Additionally, some attorneys may qualify to become brokers depending on the state they’re in without having to have any real estate experience of being an agent prior to that.
Related: How Much Do Real Estate Agents Make?
Some brokers choose not to run their own brokerage firms but to remain in duty as agents instead. A broker who is working in a firm that is run by another broker is called an associate broker.
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Selling agents are real estate agents who provide their services to people looking to sell their real estate properties. These agents will typically represent the seller or owner of the property that is being sold, and they will be the ones dealing with the potential buyers or their agents.
A seller agent also has a number of different responsibilities, including the process of marketing the property and advertising it, handling walkthroughs and tours, and all the other aspects related to the selling of the property such as:
- Research the market and compare the different prices of properties to help determine the asking price;
- Present offers from potential buyers to the seller and help him/her decide on the best offer if needed;
- Negotiate the terms of the sale on behalf of the seller.
A buyer agent is, as the name suggests, an agent who helps investors who are looking for a property to purchase in the market. A real estate buyer agent will help the buyer investor throughout the entire process of finding, analyzing, and comparing a property as well as the process of negotiating and closing the deal.
Similar to seller agents, buyer agents represent the investor in most stages of the deal, such as during home inspections or negotiations.
Some of the buyer agent’s responsibilities include:
- Listen to investors and understand their priorities and needs, and help them achieve their goals;
- Contact seller agents and identify the best available deals;
- Give suggestions for the financing of the investment, such as loan types or local banks, etc.;
- Write the necessary documents and agreements, such as the purchase offer and the purchase-and-sale agreement;
- Review disclosure statements and help investors understand what problems might exist on the property;
- Deal with contingencies.
Dual agents, who might not be legal depending on the state you’re investing in, are real estate agents who represent both the buyer and the seller of the same transaction. It is important to note that dual agents are considered illegal in some states due to the conflict of interest that might arise from dealing with them.
In addition to the same real estate agent representing both parties of the sale, a dual agency could refer to two separate real estate agents representing both sides but that are both working with the same real estate agency or firm.
Real estate agents are crucial for any real estate investment, and they will be present in most real estate deals, as the services which they provide for both investors and sellers are invaluable, and the experience they bring to the table is, in most cases, hard to match by the buyers or sellers who have hired them.
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