Real estate agent

What is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is a licensed professional who guides buyers and sellers through real estate transactions. Agents perform different duties, depending on whether they work for the buyer or seller. On the seller’s side, they help price and prepare a property for the market and offer professional insights that may lead to a faster sale and higher price. When an agent works with a buyer, he works to find properties on the market that match the buyer’s wish list.

Deeper definition

While the titles “agent,” “broker” and “Realtor” are often considered interchangeable, they actually represent three distinctively different jobs.

To become a real estate agent, one must:

·         Be at least 18 or 19 years old, depending upon the specific state.

·         Be a legal U.S. resident.

·         Complete a particular number of pre-license education hours, or the number of hours needed depends upon the state.

·         Pass a real estate licensing exam in the agent’s state.

Anyone who passes his state licensing exam can be called a real estate agent.

A Realtor reserved for agents who have worked to become a member of the National Association of Realtors and are committed to upholding the Realtor Code of Ethics. The 17 articles of the Code of Ethics are much more restrictive than the state guidelines governing agents and are strictly enforced by local real estate boards.

Most real estate agents and Realtors either work directly for a broker or through a broker as an independent, 1099 contractor.

Real estate brokers who own a franchise or firm are responsible for approving final contracts and setting up earnest deposit accounts. To become a broker, one must gain experience as a real estate agent, normally at least two years.

Then, a broker in training must pursue additional training, including how the law applies to operating a real estate brokerage, real estate investments, property management, business law, and construction and development.

If you have ever wondered what your agent is thinking, here’s a little insight.

Real estate agent example

A strong real estate agent hears what his clients say. An agent who stops to hear a client’s concerns is in a better position to help them navigate the sometimes murky waters of real estate.

An agent must know what is going on in the market, including who the competition is, the market trends and any upcoming projects (like a new highway) that may impact clients. Being informed means asking questions and being part of an agent circle that shares information as it becomes available.

Real estate agents must understand financing. Although all-cash real estate transactions are nice, most people still have to borrow money to purchase a home. A real estate agent who understands how interest rates impact home sales and works with the best lenders in the area is in a good position to serve clients.

Looking for an agent you can trust? These tips will offer direction.

Other Real Estate Terms

Median price

Median price is a term used frequently in real estate. Bankrate explains its meaning.

Comparables or comps

Comparables, or comps, is a key real estate term. Bankrate explains it.

Market conditions

Market conditions is a term common in the housing industry. Learn more at Bankrate.com.

Tenancy by the entirety

Tenancy by the entirety is one way for spouses to own property. Bankrate explains.

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