One of the most complex and significant financial events in peoples’ lives is the purchase or sale of a home or investment property. Because of this complexity and significance, people typically seek the help of real estate brokers and sales agents when buying or selling real estate.
Real estate brokers and sales agents have a thorough knowledge of the real estate market in their communities. They know which neighborhoods will best fit clients’ needs and budgets. They are familiar with local zoning and tax laws. Agents and brokers also act as intermediaries in price negotiations between buyers and sellers. Agents and brokers spend a significant amount of time looking for properties to sell. They obtain listings—agreements by owners to place properties for sale with the firm.
When listing a property for sale, agents and brokers compare the listed property with similar properties that recently sold, in order to determine a competitive market price for the property. Following the sale of the property, both the agent who sold it and the agent who obtained the listing receive a portion of the commission. Thus, agents who sell a property that they themselves have listed can increase their commission. Before showing residential properties to potential buyers, agents meet with them to get an idea of the type of home the buyers would like. In this prequalifying phase, the agent determines how much the buyers can afford to spend Most real estate brokers and sales agents sell residential property.
A small number—usually employed in large or specialized firms—sell commercial, industrial, agricultural, or other types of real estate. Every specialty requires knowledge of that particular type of property and clientele. Selling or leasing business property requires an understanding of leasing practices, business trends, and the location of the property. Agents who sell or lease industrial properties must know about the region’s transportation, utilities, and labor supply. Whatever the type of property, the agent or broker must know how to meet the client’s particular requirements.
Personality traits are as important as academic background. Brokers look for agents who have a pleasant personality, honesty, and a neat appearance. Maturity, good judgment, trustworthiness, and enthusiasm for the job are required to attract prospective customers in this highly competitive field. Agents should be well organized, be detail oriented, and have a good memory for names, faces, and business particulars. Commissions on sales are the main source of earnings of real estate agents and brokers.
The rate of commission varies according to whatever the agent and broker agree on, the type of property, and its value. The percentage paid on the sale of farm and commercial properties or unimproved land is typically higher than the percentage paid for selling a home.
The broker or agent who obtains a listing usually shares the commission with the broker or agent who sells the property and with the firms that employ each of them. Although an agent’s share varies greatly from one firm to another, often it is about half of the total amount received by the firm.
Agents who both list and sell a property maximize their commission. Income usually increases as an agent gains experience, but individual motivation, economic conditions, and the type and location of the property affect earnings, too. Sales workers who are active in community organizations and in local real estate associations can broaden their contacts and increase their earnings. A beginner’s earnings often are irregular because a few weeks or even months may go by without a sale.
The beginner should have enough money to live for about 6 months, be able to work full time, must have a car, laptop computer and digital camera.
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