It is perhaps surprising that considering the wide and diverse responsibilities that an estate agent may have, that there are no formal qualifications needed to become one. A real estate agents responsibilities do not just stop at showing potential buyers around houses which are for sale, they are much more complex than just that.
First when a property is brought to the attention of an agent, they will have to either appraise it themselves or have it professionally appraised for them. They will then discuss the property’s appraised value with the house owner and establish an asking price.
In order to hopefully get the appraised value, many owners request that the asking price be placed at 5% to 10% higher. The agent then must ensure that the property is placed on any relevant property listings and place a for sale sign prominently on the property. In readiness for a sale, the agent must then prepare any paperwork that will be necessary to facilitate a sale, ensuring that that paperwork complies with any by-laws as well as national laws applicable to the sale of that type of property.
Often an agent will have to make themselves available on weekends and holidays as those are the popular days for potential buyers to look at properties. Having shown a potential buyer around a property and having ensured they were able to answer any questions such as how energy efficient the property is or where the location of the nearest schools are, if the potential buyer offers a price which is less than that which has been asked, they will have to mediate talks between the seller and the owner, in the hope of them coming up with a price acceptable to both.
Having reached an agreement, the agent will then ensure that all parties sign the relevant paperwork in the correct places and then continue to see that the paperwork is distributed to the right places to make the sale official and legal.
Although that may already sound like quite a bit of responsibility, don’t forget that there are several types of real estate an agent may have to deal with and each may need different sets of paperwork and different laws to abide by.
In the residential real estate category there may be houses, both detached and semi-detached, apartments, condominiums or row houses. In the commercial real estate category there may be shopping complexes, garages or office blocks and in the industrial real estate category there may be manufacturing plants, farms or even mines, all of which may need different legal requirements for sales.
A real estate agent may even be asked to act as a property agent for a property investor in which case they will be responsible for collecting rents from tenants, oversee any maintenance the property may require from time to time and generally look after the interests, regarding that property, for the owner. So an agent’s is far more than just being a guide for potential buyers.