What does a real estate agent do? An overview
Real estate agents are licensed professionals who typically work under the supervision of a real estate broker. Whether you’re in the market to buy or sell a property, they are trained to guide you through every phase of a sale, from scouting out properties to closing the deal.
Though some of the responsibilities of a real estate agent change based on if they’re working with a buyer or a seller, the general duties of all real estate agents include administrative work, research and marketing.
- Answer phone calls and emails
- Schedule appointments and showings
- Update property listings
- Draft and deliver documents
- Order supplies
- Perform real estate market analysis
- Stay current with real estate markets, trends and best practices
- Search open listings to find properties
- Create and distribute promotional material
- Manage their online and social media presence
- Network with potential clients and local businesses
- Run advertising campaigns
- Build a blog or website
What does a real estate agent do when selling real estate properties?
A real estate agent who helps owners sell a property may also be referred to as a seller’s agent or listing agent.
When a seller wants to put their property up for sale, they’ll generally contact a real estate agent to act on their behalf. With the seller’s best interests in mind, the real estate agent will use their knowledge of the market to accurately price the property, list it and market it to potential buyers.
In working with sellers, a real estate agent may perform the following key roles and duties:
- Prepare comparative market research analysis to establish a realistic asking price (beyond what an online estimator can do)
- Identify which assets are a property’s top selling points for that neighborhood, plus pinpoint the best places to invest money in improvements
- Stage the property to make it appealing to buyers
- Photograph the property, inside and out
- List the property on the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS)
- Advertise real estate properties to gain the attention of prospective buyers
- Supervise and/or schedule property showings and open house events
- Draft and prepare documents, such as offers, contracts and closing statements
- Communicate with appraisers, escrow companies, lenders and home inspectors
What does a real estate agent do when working with buyers?
A real estate agent who helps clients buy a property is sometimes called a buyer’s agent or selling agent.
Buyers will often turn to real estate agents when they’re in the market to buy a property, such as a home or a new office space. Because real estate agents typically know the ins and outs of the real-estate market, they can use their expertise to match the buyer with a property best suited for their needs and wants.
Here are some of the key roles and responsibilities of a real estate agent when working with buyers:
- Coordinate and oversee open houses
- Arrange meetings with prospective buyers
- Interview buyers to understand what they’re looking for in a new property
- Schedule property showings
- Coordinate appraisals and inspections
- Negotiate property repair requests and offers on behalf of the buyer
- Draft and review documents and contracts
- Guide buyer through the closing process
Benefits of hiring a real estate agent
Whether you’re looking to rent or buy an office for your business, sell a piece of property or build up your real estate staff, there are several benefits to hiring a real estate agent:
- Real estate agents are qualified and licensed. Though requirements vary by state, becoming a professionally licensed agent involves taking courses and passing a state exam.
- They have connections with others in the industry and community, such as title companies, appraisers, inspectors, landscapers and contractors. Because of this, real estate agents know who might be your best bet for your needs, and can get you in touch with the right contact.
- Real estate agents understand the market and current trends, including property prices and the community. This insight can help you make the right decisions without extensive research on your part.
FAQs about real estate agents
Do real estate agents need a license?
Becoming a real estate agent generally requires a state license. While each state has different requirements for earning a real estate license, basic qualifications can include a high school diploma and passing a background check.
How do I find a good real estate agent?
Are you buying or selling a property? Or are you hiring a real estate agent for your business?
If you’re looking for a real estate agent, run an online search for agents in your area and read online reviews. Ask for recommendations from others who have recently worked with a real estate agent. When you find a potential match, meet with them in person to get a better feel for who they are and their experience.
If you want to hire a real estate agent, write a standout job description to attract the most qualified candidates. Some qualifications to look for include a real estate license, experience with CRM software and strong communication skills.
How do you interview a real estate agent?
Before interviewing a real estate agent – whether a phone screen or in-person interview – thoroughly review their resume and keep it on hand for easy reference.
When interviewing top candidates, ask a mix of common interview questions and questions specific to real estate. For help coming up with questions, explore our list of example real estate interview questions and answers.