A real estate agent is a person who has obtained a professional license to act as a salesperson in the business of selling, buying, and renting real estate such as houses, buildings, and offices. A real estate agent may represent the seller, the buyer, or both parties in real estate transactions.
Each state has its own regulations regarding the issuance of professional licenses for real estate agents. In general, to obtain a professional license as an agent, the interested person must take a set number of pre-licensing training hours. Afterward, the person must take a written exam, which is commonly divided into two parts. One part covers federal laws and real estate principles. The other covers the specific laws of the state regarding real estate. If the person passes the written exam, the state will issue the corresponding professional license that enables the person to act as a real estate agent. Additionally, most states will require the real estate agent to affiliate with a real estate broker.
Real estate agents are paid through the commissions obtained when closing a real estate transaction. Such a commission is frequently calculated over an established percentage of the purchase price for the real estate being sold, bought, or rented.
Real estate agents may perform several of the following tasks, depending on if they represent the buyer or the seller:
- Advise clients on listing prices.
- Advise clients on bidding prices.
- Prepare real estate for listing.
- Provide listing and advertising services.
- Research the market for active, pending, and sold listings.
- Search for available real estate on behalf of a buyer.
- Coordinate open houses for prospective clients.
- Organize meetings between prospective buyers and sellers and their real estate agents.
- Prepare and complete the paperwork required to close the real estate transaction.
[Last updated in August of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]