Career Guide: Real Estate
Nature of the Work for Real Estate Sales Agents
People typically need help from real estate sales agents when purchasing real estate due to the complexity of the process. Real estate agents have extensive knowledge of the real estate market. They already have an understanding of which neighborhoods are the best fit for a client’s needs and budgets. Familiarization with the local tax and zoning laws and of where to obtain funding for property purchasing is also necessary.
Real estate sales agents work with brokers to provide services on the basis of a contract. The agent is then paid a percentage of the sale that they make.
Property ownership is verified by real estate sales agents by arranging title searches, and organize meetings between sellers and buyers so they may finalize the details of the agreement. In the last meeting, the new owners will take possession of the property. They may also act as the middle man for price negotiations between the sellers and buyers. Real estate sales agents may also secure finances from a lender for a prospective buyer, which could mean the difference between closing and losing a sale.
Real estate agents spend a lot of time searching for properties to buy or sell. When they find a listing for sale at a firm, they must compare that price to other similar properties on the market to determine its market price. After they sell the property, a real estate sales agent must share a portion of the commission they receive with those who gave it to them.
Prior to showing residential properties, an agent will meet with a client to discuss what kind of home they would like to buy, and what they can afford to spend. In some cases, they will require the client to sign a loyalty contract, which states that only they can show them listing.
The next step is to create a list of properties for sale, including their description and location and available sources of financing. They may meet many times with prospective buyers to visit and discuss properties.
After both the seller and the buyer have signed the contract, the real estate sales agent must make sure that all terms in the contract are finished before the closing date. This may include any repairs or modifications due to environmental concerns, such as lead paint.
Some real estate agents sell industrial, commercial, agricultural and other types of real estate. They must have extensive knowledge on their respective field. For example, those who sell, buy or lease industrial properties are required to have knowledge on the region’s utilities, transportation and labor supply.
Real estate agents often work over a 40-hour workweek and it is typical for their hours to overlap into evenings and weekends. Most agents can determine their own schedule despite the irregularity of their hours.
The ability to retrieve listings and other insurance information through the Internet has caused a number of real estate sales agents to work from home. However, these workers still spend the majority of time away from their desks. Agents build relationship away from the office, not at the work desk.
By James Kimmons Becoming a Real Estate Agent Tips
Updated July 15, 2016
The easiest part is getting the license:
While many people stress out over the studying and the test for becoming a real estate agent, their focus is really on the wrong end of the problem. Pay attention to the items that follow, as you'll pass the test if you try, but you're likely to be in the large group who fail to make it in the business if you don't plan ahead.
Have a backup income source:
Either have some money saved up to make it for maybe six months or more without a commission, or keep your day job for a while.
While becoming a real estate agent part time may not have been your plan, you need to have the ability to pay your bills while you get started. Unless you have some family members or friends ready to buy a home, you can go for many months without an income when becoming a real estate agent.
Get a mentor or choose a broker with good training:
The test isn't what you need for success when becoming a real estate agent. You need it for the license, but you need a lot more to make this business a success. Get a successful agent or broker for a mentor, or offer to assist them in their deals. There is much to learn about the process, and it's not all about "selling." You're going to need to understand and explain surveys, title insurance, liens, encumbrances, deeds, and much more. You'll feel much more capable if you've at least seen these documents in the course of a few real estate deals.
Start building your "book of business":
Some call it working your "sphere of influence." Becoming a real estate agent is just the very first step in a long (you hope) career of working with buyers, sellers, investors, appraisers, loan officers, mortgage brokers, inspectors, title companies and others. Start out right by finding a good contact management system in which you'll enter all of these contacts and prospects.
You'll want to follow up over time, and you'll need an efficient way in which to locate information you've filed away on prospects and contacts.
Start out right with technology and the Internet:
No matter what some of the "old-timers" may tell you, you NEED the Internet to market in today's real estate world. While some with many years in the business can continue to succeed due to referrals and past business over the years, you'll need to use your website and social networking to get a foothold with today's buyers and sellers. Budget for a good web presence, though it really need not be expensive.
Becoming a Real Estate Agent Isn't Just Getting a License:
For most would-be real estate agents, the courses and the test for licensing turn out to be less fearful than they anticipated. The rude awakening comes later when they don't find that easy income in the first couple or three months. They thought they had a family member or friend all lined up, but they are taking their time, not buying or listing when the new agent thought they would.
Having a plan, some money saved or another income, will smooth your entry into this competitive business. Budget for several months without any income, perhaps six or more in some cases. Budget for enough money to begin a website and online strategy to build business down the line. However, lots of contacting of people, and beginning your prospects list by the old methods will help you to get started while the slower online process builds. You can call, mail and email every person you know, and you just may pull a deal out of the hat sooner than expected. This will keep you in the game while you build your marketing efforts and business.
Learn from peers, your mentor or your broker about all of the important documents involved. Try to avoid being asked basic buyer or seller questions you can't answer, as it could cost you the prospect. Either ask for past transaction folders and study the documents, or ask to assist an experienced agent in their next transaction. There's no substitute for actual deal experience.
The real estate business can be fun, exciting and a very satisfying career. However, you have to make it through that first year or two to make it all happen down the road. Have a plan, build a database of prospects, and work hard to find the keys to success at becoming a real estate agent.