Couple reviewing home listings posted on a wall

What Is A Real Estate Agent And What Do They Do?

Kevin Graham6-minute read

April 26, 2021


There’s no doubt about it – a trusted real estate agent can help make selling or buying a house a little easier and a lot less stressful.

But what does a real estate agent do, exactly? Let’s take a look at how a reputable real estate agent can help you successfully navigate the real estate market. And the steps you can take to be absolutely sure you and your real estate agent are the best possible match.

What Is A Real Estate Agent?

Real estate agents are professionals licensed to organize and assist in real estate transactions and are most often paid on commission. They may work independently or on behalf of a brokerage or another agent.

There are two types of real estate agents involved in the sale of property:

  • Listing agents are real estate agents who represent the seller in a real estate transaction.
  • Buyer’s agents represent the buyer in a real estate transaction.

What Does A Real Estate Agent Do?

A real estate agent can be a valuable asset in selling and purchasing the right home and can make the process run smoothly and efficiently from start to finish. Let’s take a look at what a real estate agent actually does.

Provide Expert Knowledge Of Your Area

Real estate agents are professionals who know the property values, schools and neighborhoods in the area better than anyone else. Your real estate agent can provide you with helpful tips to help you sell your home or find a property that’s right for you. They can also help you price your home right or tell you if a property you’re considering is more expensive than average, thanks to their knowledge of area prices and comparable homes, which can save you a great deal of stress.

Handle The Heavy Lifting

Between work and daily life, most people don’t have time to set up countless showings or endlessly search for homes and properties. Your real estate agent has access to a wide range of potential buyers if you’re selling, and countless listings if you’re buying – and can save you tons of time by finding homes within your price range. They can also use your preferences in order to find homes with access to public transportation, a pool, a great school district – whatever is most important to you.

Assist With Paperwork

Whether you’re selling or buying a home, you can expect to complete a lot of paperwork, some of which may be unfamiliar, especially if it’s your first time. Your agent can make sure that you complete your paperwork on time, that everything you fill out is correct and that you address any outstanding issues as quickly as possible. All of these factors can lead to a less-stressful experience.

Guide Negotiations

If your home inspection reveals hidden issues with the property, your agent can help you negotiate repairs and replacements. The best real estate agents know how to negotiate with potential buyers or property owners, and they can help facilitate a compromise before a sale is finalized. Real estate agents can also make sure that there’s no one working on the home without authorization and that a property owner has all the necessary permits and allocations for ongoing projects. Your agent might even suggest a different property for you if the homeowner is hiding a major long-term issue.

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How Do You Find The Right Real Estate Agent?

As soon as you’re ready to choose a real estate agent, the next step is finding the relationship that’s right for you and your needs. Here are some tips to help you choose an agent:

Tip 1: Talk To Friends And Family

Do you know someone who has recently sold or closed on a home? Word-of-mouth advertising is one of the best ways to find a good real estate agent. Don’t be afraid to use social media sites to put out an open request for your friends and family members to share their experiences with local agents. Because you’ll be spending a lot of time with your agent, it’s worth choosing someone who connects well with people whose opinions you trust.

Tip 2: Ask Questions

When you meet with a real estate professional, ask questions about your desired area to gauge their knowledge, such as:

  • How have average home prices changed since the agent began working?
  • Which areas have the highest and lowest crime rates?
  • Which areas have the easiest access to public transportation?
  • What are the schools like in the area?

It’s helpful to work with a real estate agent who can teach you things about the area, as one of the major reasons why you hire an agent is to gain access to their insider knowledge and connections.

You can also ask a real estate agent to direct you to their previous clients so you can speak to them firsthand about their experience. If an agent refuses to offer any form of testimonial or reference from previous clients, it may indicate that the agent has something to hide or may not know the area as well as they claim.

Tip 3: Check On Your Agent’s License

Most states require that real estate agents register with a licensing board where state agents can record disciplinary actions or complaints. Before you agree to work with a certain agent, locate your state’s real estate licensing board and look up your agent. Make sure their license is in good standing, they have a clean record and there are no pending disciplinary actions on their record.

Tip 4: Look For Flexibility

Are you only comfortable with text message communication or do you prefer to regularly speak to your agent over the phone? Do you work non-standard hours and need an agent available to show homes during the morning or afternoon? Do you prefer a lot of hand-holding when it comes to choosing properties or do you want your agent only to contact you when they’ve found the perfect match?

When you meet with an agent, tell them exactly what type of communication you need and choose an agent who seems happy to work on your terms.

The Bottom Line On Real Estate Agents

Now that you know what a real estate agent does, you can make an informed decision on whether working with one is the right choice for you. If you’re looking to buy a home, get an approval from Rocket Mortgage® today, to start the process.

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Kevin Graham

Kevin Graham is a Senior Blog Writer for Rocket Companies. He specializes in economics, mortgage qualification and personal finance topics. As someone with cerebral palsy spastic quadriplegia that requires the use of a wheelchair, he also takes on articles around modifying your home for physical challenges and smart home tech. Kevin has a BA in Journalism from Oakland University. Prior to joining Rocket Mortgage, he freelanced for various newspapers in the Metro Detroit area.