All About Real Estate Agents

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Who're They...

Real estate agents are professionals instrumental in connecting the customer with the seller.
Additionally, many real estate agents manage rentals wherein they introduce tenants to landlords and oversee the constant maintenance of the property on behalf of the landlords.
In most areas real estate agents are required to be highly educated, licensed and are regulated by a governing body.
Some real estate agents are also Realtors.
To make use of the title Realtor, a real estate agent must be a member of the National Association of Realtors which as well as a number of other requirements, requires Realtors that you follow a strict code of ethics and offers Realtors additional educational and designation opportunities.
Though not necessary by rule or law, it could be a wise decision to find the services of a Realtor.

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What Do They Do....

Real estate agents gather two or more interested parties, perform those steps necessary to successfully conclude a transaction and charge a commission for their services.
For sales transactions, you pay commission to the seller while for rentals, commission is normally charged the landlord.
Real estate agents generally calculate their fee being a percentage of the value (in the case of a sale) and as part of the rent for rental units.

How Do They are doing It...

People who want to sell or rent their house leave details of their property with the real estate agent.
In addition to all property details real estate agent will normally have keys to the house to facilitate showings.
One other interested party (i.e. the buyer/tenant), gets access to this information and to the home by contacting the real estate agent.
That's how a real estate agent becomes a hub of information.
Contrary to some common misconceptions, real estate professionals typically represent the vendor or the buyer but rarely both.

Why must I Use One...

Above all, to protect yourself. Real-estate transactions are highly regulated, highly paper (document) intensive transactions.
Real estate agent possesses an in depth knowledge of the laws, rules, regulations, disclosures and documentation essential to successfully complete the transaction for the satisfaction of the buyer, the vendor and the law.

Because realtors are most knowledgeable about local real estate market conditions, it is prudent and makes sense to seek the advice of one to get an idea of the current trends and pricing for properties within that market.
A good real estate agent will know the prices (or price range) of various properties of various types and at various locations inside the region.

Because of the real estate agent's knowledge and expertise, property sellers are often a few thousand dollars more for property.

Many home seekers, including seasoned real estate investors use the services of real estate agents to discover the best real estate bargains in the easiest and quickest manner.

Furthermore, the best agents analyze the wants and needs of a home buyer/tenant and supply valuable input for the kinds of properties open to them within their budget. Therefore, an excellent real estate agent will not just present a list of available properties towards the buyer/tenant but will actually discuss their requirements and make suggestions.

The great real estate agent, working in this way benefits in a minimum of two ways...
First and many obviously, when the real estate agent is able to successfully complete the transaction the commission is earned and the real estate agent is paid...
and secondly, should they make the customer/client happy they earn a strong reputation and often receive referrals (hence more business).

Important to note...

It is worth noting that there's a myth floating around that realtors only work on behalf of the seller, buyer beware.
This is simply not written in stone nor is it always the case. Realtors are, in most regions, highly regulated.
With few exceptions, realtors work either for the seller (as is the case with many listing agents) or the buyer (as is the truth for a buyer's agent).
Additionally, some areas permit dual agency where a realtor can work for both the seller and the buyer or as a transaction broker in which the agent represents the transaction itself nor the seller nor buyer individually.
However, in the case of dual agency/transaction brokerage, observe that rule, regulation (law) and ethics usually do not permit the agent to act in favor of either party during detriment to the other.
If you are unsure of the relationship between you and your real estate agent, do not hesitate to question.