What Real Estate Agents Do
Real estate agents assist the buyers and sellers of residential and commercial property throughout the sales transaction. On the buyer’s side, real estate agents will search for properties that fit the needs and wishes of the purchaser, present options, schedule showings, and help negotiate a good deal.
The agent may also help the buyer connect with professionals such as real estate attorneys, property inspectors, and title agencies that can ensure the purchasing process goes smoothly. On the sales side, real estate agents will list and market properties, show them to prospective buyers, and help make sure the seller’s interests are represented during the transaction. Real estate agents may work alone or for a firm, and may specialize in a specific type or property, such as luxury homes or retail space.
Who would enjoy a career in Real Estate?
Those who enjoy networking and meeting new people do well in the field. It’s also important for a real estate agent to be highly familiar with the areas he or she serves, as this makes it easier to match clients with their ideal property. Marketing and sales experience is beneficial as well because agents representing sellers have to promote the property and ensure their clients get top dollar for it. It’s somewhat important to be financially motivated and good with budgeting, as real estate agents are routinely paid based on commission only.
There is also some degree of flexibility to the hours worked, as most real estate agents schedule their own days. That often makes balancing work and life much easier for those with many obligations outside of work. The caveat, however, is that realtors may feel the need to bend to the schedules of clients in order to make a sale.
Who mightn't like the career?
The field can be especially challenging for those who aren’t “go-getters,” in the sense that real estate agents have to seek out people to help and then convince them why what they’re offering is best. Because their paychecks depend on it, it’s very difficult for someone who cannot budget their own finances well or facilitate sales to stay in the field.
Real estate agents also tend to be a Jack or Jill of all trades. They have to know the region, people, marketing, laws, and be on good terms with other professionals that can help them close deals. If any one of these areas is lacking, realtors will look less professional and have trouble getting deals to close.
The requirements for becoming a real estate agent vary greatly by jurisdiction; generally at a state or provincial level. Some areas have minimal requirements, such as passing a test to become licensed or taking a short course. Other areas require a degree and licensure. Business, Business Administration and Marketing are common degree types for entry-level real estate jobs.
Salesmanship and presentation are a major part of interviewing, as brokers will expect candidates to demonstrate the traits expected of a real estate agent during the interview process.
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- Real Estate Agent Interview Questions
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Moving into Real Estate from another career
Given the lower barriers to entry than many other careers and the versatility of the role, many people opt to move into real estate as a side career or second career, particularly in areas which don’t require a degree specific to real estate. In these cases, anyone who is willing to complete the required coursework and obtain licensure can transition with relative ease. With that said, some careers tend to transition better than others, particularly those with sales or property-based parts to the position such as Sales, Marketing, Account Management and Property Development.
Real Estate Agent
Role: Once an individual has obtained his or her real estate license, he or she is considered a real estate agent. Oftentimes, people use the term “Realtor” interchangeably, though in its truest sense, it refers to someone who has joined a professional association for real estate agents.
Some real estate agents only work part-time, while others make it their full-time career. The options available are at the discretion of the broker one works under. In any given day, a real estate agent will perform various tasks related to the buying and selling of property. This may include marketing efforts, such as promoting oneself or the office an agent works for, or marketing a specific property that’s for sale.
A real estate agent spends a lot of time getting to know what listings are available, so that he or she can provide his or her clients with the most accurate and comprehensive information possible. The real estate agent will then present options to clients, arrange showings, aid in negotiations during a sale, and make sure his or her client has the smoothest experience possible.
Role: Although real estate agents can do most of the legwork involved in a sales transaction, they can’t actually broker the deal. In order to be legally able to close deals, a broker’s license is necessary. This requires additional coursework and licensing. A person who has the license is called a “broker,” but he or she will likely still do all the same tasks as a real estate agent, in addition to ensuring everything is handled properly in the closing of the sale.
Generally speaking, associate brokers have the license, and can therefore work without the oversight of another broker. However, they may prefer to stay at the same firm as they refine their skills or because they don’t want to deal with the business management aspects of running a real estate firm.
Role: Brokers are typically the heads of the real estate agency. They are the ones ultimately responsible for the behavior, ethics, and procedures followed by underlings, such as associate brokers and real estate agents. Depending on the size of the firm, there may be only a single broker or there may be several who work as partners. They also carry out all the same tasks that real estate agents do, though they may pass off some of the lesser duties to the agents.
Most real estate agents don’t travel outside of their state or province due to licensing requirements. Moving presents challenges similar to transitioning into real estate, as local licensure must be obtained, and creating new local networks can also be difficult, so it’s common for real estate agents to stay in one location unless life circumstances require a move.
Real Estate Agent: According to data from PayScale, real estate agents have base salaries of approximately USD $46,000 in the United States, £16,000 in the United Kingdom, CAD$86,000 in Canada, and AU$49,000 in Australia. Those who have become Realtors may earn a few thousand more per year.
Broker: USD$56,045, £40,000, CAD$61,327. No pay information for Australian brokers is available, though experienced real estate agents earn an average of $63,360 annually.
Commission and bonuses generally double a real estate’s base salary.
Why Real Estate Agents move on
The education one gains in order to be a real estate agent and to work as one are career-specific, so they don’t readily transfer. However, many of the soft skills, such as communication, networking, negotiation, sales, and marketing can prove beneficial across a wide variety of careers. For more information, see “Commercial Brokerage possible exit options?” and “Life After Real Estate.”