Couple reviewing home listings posted on a wall

What Does A Real Estate Agent Do?

Kevin Graham6-minute read

October 05, 2020


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

But what does a real estate agent do, exactly? We’ll take a look at how a reputable real estate agent can help you successfully navigate the real estate market. We’ll also outline the steps you can take to be absolutely sure you and your real estate agent are the best possible match. Finally, we’ll go over how our friends at Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC 1 can help.

Get approved to buy a home.

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What A Real Estate Agent Does

Real estate agents are licensed to represent potential buyers and sellers during a real estate transaction and are most often paid on commission. They may work independently or on behalf of a brokerage or another agent.

If you’re buying a home, a real estate agent can make it easier to find a home within your budget. They can also assist you as you put in an offer and negotiate with sellers.

How To Find A Real Estate Agent

Before you get serious about finding a real estate agent, you first need to do a little financial legwork. Your agent needs to know what your budget is before they can begin showing you properties. If you’re just beginning your mortgage process, you may not even be 100% sure of how much house you can afford.

This is where prequalification and preapproval come in.

  • Prequalification: This is when a mortgage lender pulls your credit and asks for a verbal report of your income and assets. The lender doesn’t verify whether these numbers are accurate yet, so ultimately, a prequalification is a rough estimate of income and assets that haven’t been lender-confirmed.
  • Preapproval: A preapproval involves pulling your credit and taking your actual W-2s, tax returns, pay stubs and bank statements into consideration.

Unless you lose your income, your credit score drastically changes or you suddenly take out a large loan or line of credit, your lender won’t rescind or change the offer while you look for the perfect home. Preapprovals give your real estate agent a point of reference so they can start searching for homes that meet your budget and needs.

A real estate agent or home seller may not look seriously at someone who has only prequalified, so make sure you get preapproved before you begin to compare agents. In fact, some agents may require you to get a preapproval before they agree to show you homes.

Because lenders sometimes use the terms prequalification and preapproval interchangeably, Rocket Mortgage® has broken up the approval stages into Prequalified Approval and Verified Approval2 to help you better understand the power you have as you hunt for your home and to help you make the strongest offer.

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What The Right Real Estate Agent Can Offer

Although it’s possible to buy a home without the assistance of an agent, a great real estate agent can be a valuable asset in securing the right home. Some of the benefits of working with a great real estate include:

They Have 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 find a property that’s right for you. They can also tell you if a property you’re considering is more expensive than average, thanks to their knowledge of area prices, which can save you both money and stress. First-time home buyers can especially benefit by working with a qualified agent.

They Can Help You Save Time

Between work and daily life, most people don’t have time to endlessly search for homes and properties. Your real estate agent has access to a wide range of listings and can save you 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.

They Can Assist With Paperwork

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

They Can Help With Negotiations

If your home inspection reveals hidden issues with the property, your agent can help you negotiate repairs and replacements with the seller. The best real estate agents know how to negotiate with property owners, and they can help property owners compromise on making necessary repairs 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.

Picking The Right Real Estate Agent For You

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 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.

Read To Find The Right Real Estate Agent

Choosing the right real estate agent can feel as difficult as the search for the perfect property, but connecting with an agent you trust can make the home buying journey a less stressful one. It’s helpful to begin looking for a real estate agent well before you need to pack up and move out of your current space.

Now that you know what a real estate agent does, Rocket HomesSM can help you find a highly rated, experienced real estate agent in your area. Additionally, Rocket Mortgage® has broken up the approval stages into Prequalified Approval and Verified ApprovalSM in order to help you better understand the power you have as you hunt for your home and to help you make the strongest offer.

1 Rocket HomesSM and the Rocket HomesSM Logo are service marks licensed to Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC. Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC fully supports the principles of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Opportunity Act. Main office located in Detroit, MI. Contact: (888) 468-4735 

For Rocket Homes Real Estate LLC license numbers, visit

CA BRE #01804478

2 Participation in the Verified Approval program is based on an underwriter’s comprehensive analysis of your credit, income, employment status, debt, property, insurance, appraisal and a satisfactory title report/search. If new information materially changes the underwriting decision resulting in a denial of your credit request, if the loan fails to close for a reason outside of Quicken Loans’ control, or if you no longer want to proceed with the loan, your participation in the program will be discontinued. If your eligibility in the program does not change and your mortgage loan does not close, you will receive $1,000. This offer does not apply to new purchase loans submitted to Quicken Loans through a mortgage broker. Additional conditions or exclusions may apply.

Get approved to buy a home.

Rocket Mortgage® lets you get to house hunting sooner.

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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 Companies, he freelanced for various newspapers in the Metro Detroit area.