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The Best Real Estate Agents2023Expertise Laurels
2023Expertise Laurels

The Best Real Estate Agents

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Frequently Asked Questions

  • Introduction

    Real estate agents help property owners and clients who want to buy real property realize their goals. They offer services, guidance, oversight, and expertise regarding the legalities of real estate transactions.

    Some common real estate agent tasks and services include listing homes, showing properties to prospective buyers, holding open houses, and negotiating property sales prices. Agents also find homes available for sale that meet their clients’ needs and desires. They explain the sales conditions and draw up transactional contracts.

    Agents work with mortgage lenders, property appraisers, home inspectors, and other professionals in the field. Real estate agents can act as a liaison for their clients, explaining complicated legal processes while acting in their best interests; it may be getting the best price for a homeowner who’s selling or negotiating a lower sales price for a buyer. 
  • Are all real estate agents Realtors?

    No. All real estate agents are not Realtors. Realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors. This membership allows these professionals to use this trademarked designation. But membership is not required to provide real estate services. Therefore, real estate agents who haven’t joined a NAR trade association are not Realtors.

  • How do real estate agents get paid?

    Real estate agents are paid when they make a sale. Sales pay on a commission basis. Brokers and the agents who buy and sell properties receive a percentage of the total sales price. The brokers collect the commissions from the sales funds, then pay their agents a set percentage established by contract agreements.

  • What is a fair commission for a real estate agent?

    The typical rate for residential sales is 5% to 6%. For example, a 6% commission on a house that sells for $400,000 is $24,000. Commercial property sales may pay up to 10% on commission. However, the agents split the total commission with the listing broker and the purchasing broker.

  • How do you pick a real estate agent?

    Homeowners who want to sell their homes with the help of a real estate professional choose selling agents, also called listing agents. Aspiring home purchasers use the services of a buyer’s real estate agent. Some real estate agents work for both buyers and sellers, but they usually only represent one or the other at a time. The exception occurs in states that allow dual agency. This arrangement is not recommended.

    Get referrals for a buyer’s or listing agent from friends, family, and coworkers, and do some online research. Then, interview agents at different real estate agencies before deciding. Ask about their experience, workload, specialties, commission rate, and marketing approach.
  • Do buyers pay commission to the real estate agent?

    The commission that compensates real estate agents for their services is paid out of the final sales price. It’s the seller who delivers the funds in the end. Since those funds come from the money that the purchaser provides to acquire the home, it could be argued that ultimately, it’s the buyer that pays.

  • Can a felon become a real estate agent?

    The laws and regulations that govern the real estate profession vary from state to state. So, while a felony may prevent someone from obtaining a real estate license in Arizona, an aspiring agent in Florida with a felony on their record is far more likely to get one. Many states allow real estate licensing for people with felonies on a case-by-case basis if the circumstances meet specific guidelines.

  • Can a real estate agent work without a broker?

    Real estate agents may not work independently with homeowners and buyers to list, sell, or purchase homes. A real estate broker must provide oversight. But agents may become brokers after completing special training and/or academic courses and meeting state-specific broker licensing requirements. Though agents may need to work under a broker’s firm for a set period first.

  • Is it required to hire a real estate agent to sell a property?

    In all 50 states and the District of Colombia, property owners may sell their real property without contracting with a real estate agent. These are “For Sale by Owner” arrangements. But many FSBOs eventually turn to an agent to sell their home or commercial property due to the legal complexities of real estate transactions.

  • How much do real estate agents make?

    In May 2021, the average annual income for a U.S. real estate agent had reached $90,687. Agents working in markets with houses that sell for prices far higher than the national average may earn more. On the other hand, lower markets may generate smaller incomes. Sales frequency and commission rates and splits also impact earnings.

  • How do you become a real estate agent?

    Real estate licensing requirements are state specific. But aspiring agents must attend classes to meet their state’s educational requirements. After completing their courses, they must pass an exam that tests both state and federal knowledge of real estate laws and regulations. They also need to find a broker to work under and pay various fees to gain a state license to practice real estate. 

  • How long does it take to become a real estate agent?

    It’s possible to complete self-paced online real estate courses, take the exam, and receive a real estate license in as little as two to three months. But four to six months is a more realistic time frame. At a slower pace, the process typically takes no longer than a year.

  • How much do real estate agents make per sale?

    That depends on many factors, including the commission rate, the agent's split with their broker, and the home's sales price. For example, the average sales price of a new house in the U.S. hit $408,800 in 2021. With a 6% sales commission, that equals $24,528. After splitting that with the listing agency and the sales agent’s broker, the agent may earn about $6,000 to $7,000 on that single sale. Pricier homes earn greater commissions.

  • How much money do the top earning real estate agents in the world make?

    In the U.S., top earners make an average of about $80,000 to $112,000 annually in real estate markets in Alaska, Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. For international agents in the U.S., the average annual real estate agent income is $77,264. Higher earners make nearly $140,000 each year. Some rare “star” agents earn half a million or more annually.

  • How many hours does the average real estate agent work per week?

    Successful real estate agents put in full work weeks. A 40-hour commitment is typically necessary. Those hours are likely to include evenings and weekends. Most agents continue working those hours throughout their careers. They split their work hours between office hours, travel time, and time spent advertising and marketing, generating leads, and showing properties.

  • What are the best tools and technology for real estate agents to use?

    Technology and tech tools are a huge part of a real estate agent’s profession. Customer relationship management tools are essential for quality customer service that attracts repeat and referral businesses. Other helpful tech tools include marketing apps, virtual 3D tours, and technology that assists with lead generation, transaction management, bookkeeping, and accounting. Even graphic design technology can be helpful, allowing clients to visualize their new homes.

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