Career Development

Real Estate Agent Job Description: Salary, Duties, & More

Real estate agents help people buy and sell real estate. They typically work for real estate brokerages, although they may also work independently.

Real estate agents help people buy and sell real estate. They typically work for real estate brokerages, although they may also work independently.

Real estate agents work with buyers and sellers to find the right properties and to negotiate a price that’s acceptable to both parties. They then assist with the closing process, which involves arranging financing, appraisals, inspections, and other paperwork.

In addition to providing a valuable service to clients, real estate agents often make money by collecting commissions from the sale of properties. Real estate agents can make more money by selling high-end properties or working in high-cost areas like New York City or San Francisco.

Real Estate Agent Job Duties

Real estate agents are typically responsible for the following duties:

  • Identifying potential clients and marketing properties to them or via direct mail, websites, or other methods
  • Identifying clients’ desires, wishes, and needs regarding buying or selling a home
  • Locating prospective homes that meet the client’s criteria in terms of location, size, price range, schools, etc.
  • Taking prospective buyers on viewings of suitable homes
  • Determining the market value of homes by researching recent sales and listings in the area and calculating capitalization rates and other data points such as days on the market and days under contract based on historical averages
  • Presenting offers to sellers and negotiating with them until an agreement is reached or presenting counteroffers when negotiation is unsuccessful
  • Managing the paperwork involved in each transaction from start to finish. This includes securing necessary documents such as appraisals or surveys as well as ensuring that deadlines are met for tasks such as title searches or inspections

Real Estate Agent Salary & Outlook

The median salary for real estate agents is $67,962. The highest earners make over $130,000. Those earning higher wages tend to work in urban areas.

The employment of real estate agents is expected to grow more slowly than average over the next decade. This is due to the increasing use of technology in this field, which allows consumers to perform many tasks themselves without having to contact an agent or broker.

Real Estate Agent Job Requirements

The education, training, and licensing requirements for real estate agents are as follows:

Education: Although they are not required to earn a college degree, a bachelor’s or associate’s degree in real estate can help them advance their careers.

Training: On-the-job training is a crucial part of becoming a real estate agent. Agents must learn how to use real estate software, how to write up contracts, how to advertise properties for sale, how to effectively market properties, and more.

Certifications & Licenses: Real estate agents must earn a state-issued license to work in the field. These licenses are typically obtained after completing a training program and passing a real estate exam. Some states require real estate agents to have a license from the National Association of Realtors. Certifications are generally not required, but these are available for those that want to pursue further qualification. One of the common certifications is the Certified Residential Specialist (CRS).

Real Estate Agent Skills

In addition to education and other requirements, candidates that possess the following skills may be able to perform more successfully in the job:

Communication skills: Real estate agents must be able to explain a property’s features to potential buyers or sellers.

Sales skills: This is a sales position, so real estate agents must have excellent sales skills.

Decision-making skills: A real estate agent must make important decisions on behalf of clients. 

Networking skills: Real estate agents need to build professional relationships with other agents, property owners, bankers, and appraisers. They also need strong networking skills in order to find homes for clients.

Time management skills: Real estate agents must know how to manage their time well, which means working within strict deadlines while still getting all of the work done.

Real Estate Agent Work Environment

Real estate agents work for real estate firms, helping home buyers and sellers find what they need. They may also sell commercial properties such as office buildings or shopping malls. Most agents work in a fast-paced environment, with deadlines to meet and goals to achieve. Many travel to meet clients, negotiate deals or attend meetings.

The job requires both physical and mental effort. Real estate agents must be able to accurately estimate prices of homes and other property based on available information about lots, building materials, and construction costs. They often have high levels of responsibility, reporting directly to the key decision-makers at their company.

Real Estate Agent Career Advancement

If you are a real estate agent who wants to advance past the position of an entry-level agent, you’ll need to focus on two key areas: networking and marketing. If you do not have connections within your community or industry, it will be hard to achieve success.

Start attending social events, networking events, and seminars to get your name out there. It is also important that you become a master at marketing yourself. You should have a stellar website with your biography, testimonials, and plenty of photos of your successful listings. You should also have a strong social media presence on sites like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

The next step up is to become a broker. To get there, you’ll need to successfully complete several classes to get an education in real estate law. At this point, you’re qualified to open your own brokerage firm and hire agents to work under you.

Real Estate Agent Trends

Here are three trends influencing how real estate agents work. Real estate agents will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

Online Real Estate Marketplaces

As online real estate marketplaces become more popular, they are likely to impact the way real estate agents interact with customers.

Online marketplaces like Zillow and Redfin offer consumers greater transparency into what homes cost and include features that can be useful for buyers or sellers. 

Increased Importance of Digital Marketing

Real estate professionals are increasingly using social media to advertise their services, reach new clients and drive traffic to their listings.

For example, real estate agents are increasingly promoting themselves on Instagram by sharing photos of their properties in hopes that users will click through to view more details about the home for sale.

While the average number of likes per post is still low compared to other social media platforms, Instagram continues to be a platform that many real estate agents see as a powerful tool for digital marketing. 

Real Estate Analytics

Technology is changing the way real estate agents do business, especially in regard to how they sell properties. Real estate analytics can help agents assess where a property is worth listing and how much to list it for. In addition, modern analytics systems can help them assess factors like their own performance or what types of promotions have been most effective for similar properties in the past. 

How to Become a Real Estate Agent

1. Planning Your Career Path

To be a successful real estate agent, you need to understand how to negotiate effectively. This means you need to think about the best ways to convince buyers and sellers that your perspective is the right one.

If you want to become a real estate agent, it’s important to be willing to work hard. As an independent contractor, you will need to create your own opportunities; most new agents spend their first few years working for other agents before they are able to build up their own client base.

Real estate agents are typically required to have licenses in order to operate, so you should check with your state or local government before making any decisions.

It can also be helpful to take some online courses or read books on negotiation strategy; these resources can help you identify common pitfalls and offer tips for avoiding them. Remember: practice makes perfect!

2. Writing a Resume

The best resumes for real estate agent positions demonstrate your ability to sell and negotiate deals. In order to do this, it’s important that you include specific and measurable past sales results and describe your role in getting the deals done. You can highlight your negotiation abilities by including brief examples of success stories related to selling homes, overcoming challenges, or creating relationships with clients.

In addition to sales experience, if you have been an effective manager in the past, be sure to highlight any organizational skills you developed in that role. 

Ensure you include any real estate certifications you have achieved as this will highlight your knowledge of the industry and show your commitment to continuing your education in order to keep up with industry trends. If you’ve received any sales awards or accolades be sure to list these as well.

3. Applying for Jobs

There are a few ways to go about finding a job as a real estate agent. You can start by registering with the National Association of Realtors and looking for openings in your area. It is also a good idea to join local groups and ask around; maybe someone knows of an opening at a local company that isn’t listed on any websites. Try going to seminars and workshops for real estate agents. This will also help you gain knowledge of the common practices in your local area, which can make your search easier. Additionally, you can try creating your own opportunities by reaching out to people in the field. If you have personal connections with home sellers or other real estate agents, ask them if they need any help, or whether they know of anyone who might be hiring.

4. Ace the Interview

In order to succeed in an interview as a real estate agent candidate, it is important to be familiar with the neighborhood that you will be selling in. It is also important to demonstrate knowledge of how real estate works, such as the different kinds of homes, financing options, and the process of buying or selling a home. You should also have a firm grasp on how the industry works – what fees you will be paid, how your work will be evaluated, and so on.

Keep in mind that a real estate agent is essentially a salesperson – so don’t be afraid to let your personality shine through! While demonstrating your knowledge is important, you want to demonstrate that you can work well with others as well. If you know something about the buyer or seller (a past sale, for example) try to incorporate that into the conversation, as it can help build rapport and show that you are actively listening.


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