Real-Estate Agent

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Real-Estate Agent


Real estate agents sell, lease and rent houses, apartments, commercial buildings, land and other real estate for clients. They plan, organize, direct and control the activities of real estate services. They are mainly independent sales workers who provide their services to a licensed real estate broker on a contract basis. In return, the broker will pay the agent a negotiated portion of the commission earned from the agent's sale of the property. Real estate agents are well versed in local zoning and building restrictions, property taxes, municipal plans for land development and financing options for buyers. They act as the intermediary between the buyers and sellers, trying to negotiate a compromise price that will make both parties happy.

One of the most important financial events in a person's life is the purchase or sale of a home or investment property. Therefore, people typically seek the help of real estate agents when buying or selling real estate because they have a thorough knowledge of the real estate market in their community. Real estate agents are experts in reading people and it is their job to find the neighborhood, property and characteristics that will best suit clients' needs and budgets. Often called the prequalifying stage, agents must assess the client and determine what market margin their clients are looking in. An agent will generate lists of properties for sale, including location and description, and identify the most pertinent selling points. For example, an agent may suggest a bungalow with easy access to stores to an older couple who cannot climb stairs. They may also have to spend a great deal of time bargaining over a price, as agents must carefully follow their client's instructions in order to get the best possible price. Agents working for larger firms often work in teams; for instance if a property is sold, the agent who sold the property and the agent who obtained the listing both receive a portion of the commission. Accordingly, agents who sell a property they personally listed will receive a large commission.

The majority of real estate agents sell residential property. A smaller number sell commercial, industrial, agricultural, or other types of real estate. These agents are usually employed by a larger company that will contract them out for each job. Real estate agents that specialize in commercial property requires up-to-date knowledge of leasing practices, business trends and location requirements. Those involved in industrial properties must be aware of the region's transportation and labor supply. Real estate agents often have several clients at once because they are paid by commission. Therefore, the amount of money they make depends on whether their clients buy or sell a listing through them. Ultimately, it is up to the individual agent how much work they take on.

Once both parties have signed the contract, and the deal is done, a real estate agent must make sure that all special contract terms are met before the closing date. For example, if the buyers request an exterminator, a new paint job or any specific repairs, the agent must see they are made. Nowadays, agents must also make sure that all properties meet environmental regulations.
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  Average Earnings  
Lowest 10% of Earners:
Median Salary:
Highest 10% of Earners:

  Interests and Skills  
Successful real estate agents will have the high energy and stamina required to work long hours and in a highly competitive, sometimes cut-throat field. They have good organization and communication skills, since the majority of the work is dealing with people in person and on the phone. They must enjoy meeting and influencing new people and selling ideas to them and remember their names, faces and personal and business details such as hobbies and lifestyle. Agents must be patient and understanding and have the kind of personality that people trust. Finally, real estate agents must persevere in their sales endeavors, be tenacious and be able to accept rejection as well as over accomplishment.

  Typical Tasks  
  • Assist individuals and companies in the sale and purchase of houses, apartments, commercial buildings, land and other real estate
  • Solicit property listings from prospective sellers
  • Assist sellers by establishing the asking price, advertising the property, marketing the property and conducting open houses for prospective buyers
  • Assist prospective buyers in selecting, visiting, inspecting and making offers of purchase on real estate properties
  • Advise clients on market conditions, prices, mortgages, legal requirements and related matters
  • Draw up sales agreements for approval by sellers and buyers
  • Ensure that any special terms and conditions stated in agreements are carried out before the closing dates
  • Attend seminars, conventions and courses, and read trade journals and other materials to keep informed about market conditions
  • May rent or lease properties on behalf of clients
  • Working conditions for real estate agents vary. Although they generally work in offices, they spend a great deal of time outside the office showing properties to customers, meeting people, researching the market and performing related activities. Evening and weekend work is required. Most real estate agents work full-time, often working well over 50 hours a week, and are virtually always on call. Also, advances in telecommunications and the ability to retrieve data on properties over the Internet allows many real estate agents to work out of their homes, instead of in real estate offices.

  Workplaces, Employers and Industries  
  • Real estate agents work for real estate and mortgage brokerage firms throughout the private sector. Many have their own offices and are both real estate agents and mortgage brokers. They also work alongside lending institutions including banks, trust companies, credit unions, insurance companies and other brokerage firms.

  Long Term Career Potential  
Many real estate agents advance to become brokers or start up their own independent real estate agencies. Experienced real estate agents in large firms may advance to management positions, specialize in particular types of real estate, such as commercial sales, become real estate appraisers or property managers, enter mortgage financing or get into real estate investment counselling. Some experts say real estate agents would be great teachers because they communicate with people every day. Finally, advancement opportunities for agents may also take the form of higher commission rates due to getting the best leads and consequently selling expensive property.

  Educational Paths  
Real estate agents are required to have a high school diploma and to complete a real estate training course, including passing a qualifying examination. Each region has its own specialized qualifications. Many real estate agents have a university degree or college diploma in a related field. Once a licensed real estate agent, they are required to take 18 hours of continuing education courses every two years, updating their knowledge and skills. In order to operate independently or to become a manager, agents must obtain a broker's licence.

They may operate independently by obtaining a broker's licence according to the regulations in their region. A broker's licence is necessary to become a real estate manager.

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition,
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Employment Statistics, 2002,

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