REALTOR® Vs. Realtor

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A closer look: what is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is a person authorized to assist in real estate transactions. They are also sometimes called “real estate associates” or “real estate salesperson”. Agents have expertise in a specific location and a network that helps them bring buyers and sellers together.

When talking about real estate agents, it is also useful to understand the term “real estate broker”. Real estate brokers are like real estate agents, but with additional training and licensing. Unlike an agent, brokers can hire real estate agents to work for them, either individually or through a real estate brokerage firm.

In contrast, real estate agents cannot work independently and must work for a brokerage firm or real estate broker. Qualifications to become a licensed real estate agent vary by location, so research and understand the qualifications in your area.

Responsibilities of real estate agents

There are different types of real estate agents, each with different responsibilities. A real estate broker, for example, may have a larger workload than a typical agent due to running a business and other agents. This includes things like making sure all real estate transactions comply with the law and that the documents are accurate and complete.

The type of work performed by a real estate agent varies depending on whether they are a buyer’s agent or a listing agent. Buyer’s Agents represent home buyers and aim to get their clients into their dream home that is on budget.

The responsibilities of a Buyer’s Agent include:

  • Find local properties that match buyer preferences and price range
  • Organization of house visits
  • Keep clients informed about the local housing market and events
  • Submission of offers and assistance in the negotiation process
  • Arrange home assessments and inspections
  • Review of contracts, agreements and other documents

Listing agents, also called selling agents, represent the home seller in real estate transactions. Listing agents help clients sell their home for the best possible price.

The responsibilities of a listing agent include:

  • Offer a reasonable but attractive price
  • Help with home staging and marketing
  • Finding potential buyers
  • Bring offers to clients and help with paperwork and documents
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