What is a real estate agent?
A Real Estate Agent is a trained and licensed professional that is authorized to represent a seller or a buyer in a real estate transaction. Agents do not operate individually – they are associated with a managing Broker or brokerage.
How to become a real estate agent?
The “agent” is generally considered entry level in real estate. There are several steps to go through before becoming a licensed real estate salesperson or agent. Requirements include, first of all, that the aspiring professional be at least 18 or 19 years old (depends on the state) and have legal U.S. residency. Each state has a real estate commission, which can provide details on specific licensing requirements.
Next comes pre-licensing education, which can be a set number of courses or a set number of hours – required duration varies, as it depends on local regulations. There are several options for training:
– home study
– online real estate education
– live courses at real estate schools
– real estate licensing programs offered by real estate firms, universities and technical schools
Once the required training is completed, the aspiring agent needs to pass the state and/or national examination, which will result in a license to represent either party involved in a real estate transaction.
However, this license does not allow an agent to operate individually – the salesperson can only act on behalf of a Broker. Therefore, it is generally recommended that the agent find and join a Broker or Brokerage early in the training process – this will offer valuable practice before examination and usually continue as employment once the agent is licensed. Research before you choose – some real estate agencies have additional education requirements, others provide professional assistance and further education.
How do real estate agents make money?
Most real estate agents work on commission. The commission is either a percentage of the selling price or a flat fee. Agents cannot work independently and are not allowed to receive commission directly from the client. All real estate commission is paid directly to the broker or brokerage that the agent represents and it is the broker that splits the money with any agent involved in the transaction.
What does a real estate agent do? Listing Agent vs. Buyer’s Agent
A “listing agent” represents the seller – the agent evaluates the seller’s property, runs a comparative market analysis and provide the seller with market information. They then decide what price to list the property for and sign a contract or agreement. The listing agent markets the property and negotiates a sale that meets his or her client’s conditions.
A “buyer’s agent” or “selling agent” represents the buyer – the agent assists in locating a property that meets the buyer’s requirements, sets up showings, contacts the listing agent to get information about the property, handles price negotiations and the closing process, on behalf of the buyer.
Commercial real estate practice is generally more demanding than residential real estate – a commercial agent for either party will conduct market analysis that includes more complex environmental, demographic and financial research, as well as property data research and long term cost and returns estimates.
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