What Does a Real Estate Agent Do?


A real estate agent is a licensed professional who helps buyers and sellers in

property transactions. They usually work on commission, receiving a cut of the sales

price. Some agents choose to work on their own, while others associate with a

brokerage firm or other real estate entity. Real estate agents and brokers spend

much of their time away from the office, scouting properties or meeting with

prospective clients. They may also attend networking events to promote their

business and build a client network.

For homebuyers, real estate agents find listings in the multiple listing service (MLS)

and other property databases. They can also set up showings, take photos and

prepare listings and marketing collateral for a home. Real estate agents can also

help homebuyers get preapproved for mortgages and assist with the loan process, if

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Real estate professionals also assist homebuyers with locating commercial

properties, such as retail spaces or warehouses. These are known as commercial real

estate, and they typically require a different set of skills than residential properties.

Buyers need help understanding the real estate process and navigating paperwork,

including contracts, disclosures and other legal documents. Real estate agents can

explain terms like escrow, contingency and tenancy and answer questions about

financing options and loan programs.


Sellers also need guidance throughout the selling process, from setting an asking

price to preparing a home for showings and finding suitable buyers. If the home does

not sell right away, agents can offer advice about lowering the asking price or

staging the home for a faster sale.

As part of the marketing process, real estate agents can create virtual tours and

post homes on a variety of websites for potential buyers to view. They can also use

social media and their own networks to connect with prospects.


Throughout the buying and selling process, real estate agents act as go-betweens

for their principal parties, communicating offers and counteroffers, and advising on

inspections, moving and other transaction details. Depending on state laws, agents

can also represent both the buyer and the seller in a transaction, which is called

dual agency. Consumers should always ask agents whether they are representing

them or the other party in a transaction.


Choosing the best real estate agent can make the process of buying or selling your

home easier and less stressful. As you interview agents, ask about their experience

and track record and request references from previous clients. It is a red flag if an

agent declines to provide you with contact information for past clients. This could

indicate that they are not as professional as they claim or that they do not know the

local market well.