As you know, when you buy or sell a home in the United States there is usually an agent involved. But what exactly does a real estate agent do?
The job of a real estate agent can vary greatly depending on where you live and who your employer is. Some agents only represent buyers and other agents only represent sellers, but most will help both.
A buyer’s agent has to be paid by the client (a fee that is agreed upon before representation begins), while a seller’s agent doesn’t get paid until the property sells. In some cases, the seller pays all expenses incurred by their listing agent whether or not their house actually sells. This means it’s important to work with someone whose interests are completely aligned with your own.
A buyer’s agent will be with you from the beginning when you go to open houses just for fun. They’ll help you set your budget and they’ll even recommend a mortgage broker. Once you find a house that meets your needs, they will negotiate on your behalf. After all of this work, it’s unlikely the agent would also represent the seller unless he/she were able to get both sides of the commission (go ahead and insert “the early bird gets the worm” pun here). In which case, said double-dipping agent would have done more for their client in one fell swoop than many agents do in a lifetime.
A seller’s agent will help you take beautiful photos of your home to post online. They’ll make sure your house is in tip-top shape to attract the most buyers possible. Before opening houses, they will likely stage your house in a way that helps it show its best features. They might even recommend specific ways to prepare your house for sale, like washing the windows or cleaning up clutter in walkways.
Once an offer comes in, both sides of the commission are at stake. The seller pays their agent only when the property sells, while the buyer’s agent gets paid when you purchase a home (whether it happens before or after closing). At this point, an attorney steps in and ensures all the paperwork involved with the real estate transaction is in order. This process often takes a little longer with the involvement of lawyers, which can be frustrating for both sides. Once everything is signed, however, your agent’s work is done unless you decide to move again soon.
If you want to get into real estate but don’t want to go through the hassle of signing up for classes and paying licensing fees, becoming a buyer’s agent might be right for you. A single sale pays well enough that you might consider it worth taking on the extra responsibility. You’ll have an easier time finding clients if your friends or acquaintances are already homeowners since they will likely need agents when their time comes to buy or sell too. But keep in mind that successful buyer’s agents must be able to get along with people of all personality types, have the patience to help anxious buyers find their dream homes, and be able to look at things from the seller’s perspective when negotiations begin.
Like anything else in life, it pays off to do your research before investing in a career as an agent. Check out different real estate agencies and go into open houses (with permission) to see if you like what they do. You’ll probably meet agents during this process who can give you insider knowledge about the profession before signing on the dotted line.
Although some real estate agencies allow their brokers to work with either side of a transaction, others prefer that their agents only represent buyers or sellers.
If you’re buying a house or condo that was built before 1978, your agent may be required to pull a lead-based paint disclosure report for the seller. The seller would then have five days to correct any problems related to lead-based paint before they can be held liable for it. Lead-based paint is kind of an agent’s worst nightmare because everyone is at risk of exposure and getting sick (the purchaser, their family members, and future tenants). It’s one reason why every real estate transaction involves an environmental inspection…and yes, that also means asbestos removal!
A real estate agent will work with you through all of this groundwork until the closing day when title transfers. Afterward, the agent will make sure all of your belongings were moved without incident (you can’t be too careful in today’s world).
A real estate agent’s job is never done. When you own investment property, your agent will help you screen tenants and advise on repairs that may need to be made or tax implications. If you’re selling an investment property, they’ll help find the next owner. Either way, when buying or selling a house, condo, or commercial building in America it’s hard to do it without an agent!
For people who are buying a home, the real estate agent is responsible for finding properties that meet your requirements and then showing them to you. After you have selected one, they will work on making an offer with the seller’s agent. They’ll consult with you throughout the process so you know what to expect next. For example, they may contact you before open houses or inspections so that if there’s anything you want to see or do, you’ll be prepared. After negotiations are finished, they file all necessary paperwork with local authorities and help set up any closings needed for the sale to go through whether it be financial or administrative.
When selling a house, agents list their client’s homes on virtual databases like Trulia or Zillow. They will also draw up a suitable price point for the property based on what similar homes in the area have sold for recently. Their job is to bring interested buyers to viewings and show how the house stacks up against others currently on the market. The real estate agent’s job doesn’t end until the deal has closed, however; they continue to be involved throughout negotiating and closing processes.
If you are thinking about becoming your own agent, remember that selling real estate is not like selling other products; it can take months before you close deals. That means it takes time, energy, and dedication to become an agent. You should only get into this business if you’re prepared to commit yourself fully until your deals successfully close.