One of the things about your 20s—or 30s, or even 40s, I suppose—is that you have to figure out how to navigate the Real World. You know, with credit scores, which no one can completely explain, and renter’s insurance and all kinds of things to give you a headache. Well, in case you were wondering, here’s the rundown on real estate agents and why they exist in the world:
Real Estate Agent Background
A real estate agent will represent either a property buyer or property seller, called, shockingly, buyer’s agent and seller’s agents. Both kinds of agents are paid by the brokers who employ them—that is, their fee is indirect, usually a portion of the commission from the sale.
A buyer’s agent collects information and then selects appropriate properties for consideration. What size house do you want? What kind of location? What’s the price range? The agent will check out the possibilities and narrow the list further. With each property, she’ll explain the good and bad features so you can make an informed decision even if you don’t have the time or background knowledge to look yourself. If you decide to buy a property, the agent will help you make an offer and deal with the paperwork.
A seller’s agent assists the seller in setting a price on their home, offers tips for optimal presentation, and then advertises the property. She will arrange showings and/or open houses for people to view the house. If an offer is made, she advises the negotiation process and takes care of the paperwork.
In short, a real estate agent does a huge amount of your apartment finding legwork and makes the whole process much smoother—if sometimes slightly more expensive.
Limits of Real Estate Agents
It’s also important to know what real estate agents don’t do: they don’t set the price of properties, they aren’t legally allowed to steer you in one neighborhood or another based on neighborhood demographics (that’s what we call discrimination, folks), and they don’t provide expertise outside their field, such as legal expertise.
So…would YOU use a real estate agent? Let us know on Facebook!