When it comes to buying and selling a home, a real estate agent is an invaluable resource for both sides of the transaction. Whether you’re a first-time buyer or a seasoned seller, an agent can help you to reach your real estate goals.
Here are the roles that a real estate agent plays in the home buying and selling process.
What is a real estate agent?
A real estate agent is a licensed professional who is skilled in real estate transactions between clients who buy and sell—organizing, facilitating, and guiding the process from start to end.
You might hear a few different names for an agent: they’re sometimes known as Realtors (if they’re licensed with the National Association of Realtors), brokers, broker agents, listing agents (if they represent the seller), and buyer’s agents (if they represent the buyer).
Their main purpose is to act in the best interests of their clients, depending on who they are representing in the transaction. Regardless of a listing or buyer’s agent, the real estate agent will act as a liaison between both parties—communicating with the agent on the other side, as well as their own client. In this position, they answer questions, find homes, schedule viewings, and help to either formulate or field offers and counteroffers.
What real estate agents do
Real estate agents act as the middle-person in home buying and selling transactions. A few things on their to-do list includes:
- Provide clients with the necessary paperwork, and walk them through it
- Communicate with their client and the agent on the other side of the transaction
- Guide clients from start to finish, from inspections to deadlines to closing
Agents are fully versed in the ins and outs of the local housing market, as well as local and state real estate laws. This makes them the perfect resource to accomplish their clients’ needs.
What buyer’s agents do
When real estate agents work for the buyers, they curate a list of potential properties based on their clients’ needs, preferences, and price range, with options from their MLS database, other clients, or networking through other agents. They set up showings and answer questions throughout the process.
The buyer’s agent will also talk with the lender about potential properties to get a better idea of what’s affordable, and will then help to submit an offer and negotiate on your behalf from start to finish.
Later, the agent will help throughout all of the various deadlines that come until closing, from appraisals to inspections, often recommending service providers. They act as a guide through all of the paperwork, agreements, amendments, and other documents that come with buying, and submit them for you.
What listing agents do
For sellers, real estate agents help in numerous ways to get their houses on the market and sold. First, they provide an unbiased valuation of the property and assist with setting a price, acting as a guide and resource, providing tips for updates and suggestions.
The agent also uploads the house into the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) database and provides invaluable real estate marketing through networking, open houses, and advertising. They work to find serious potential buyers and negotiate everything from home price to closing costs and fees on their clients’ behalf and handle paperwork, such as agreements and contracts.
The key actions of an agent
In summary, the role of a real estate agent comes down to the following traits:
- Guide. The agent will be a guide from start to finish, taking lead on every step and identify your priorities.
- Expert. This is their job—an agent has all of the knowledge required of their field. They are savvy in local and state laws, in the local home market, comparable sales, and behind-the-scenes information.
- Insider. In the same vein, an agent has networking connections and an insider’s look into homes. They often know about homes before they go on the market, have working relationships with other agents, and have recommendations for services (such as lenders, contractors, inspectors).
- Advocate. An agent is hired to represent you and be on your side. Their fiduciary responsibility is to you, and they’re an expert looking out for your best interests. They’re also on your side for negotiations and counteroffers. They’re constantly looking out for you, doing all that they can to make the process as smooth as possible.