A Realtor, often called either a real estate agent or a real estate broker, has several tasks to complete when helping buyers and sellers to find and purchase the right property or to sell their property for the greatest gain possible. Realtors can work for agencies or for themselves once they have gained some years of experience. Education in the field is required to become a Realtor, as well as passing a state test. Realtors begin as real estate sales person and can upgrade to the status of real estate broker with experience and the passage of a second exam.
Another category of real estate experts are transaction brokers, which do not work with any agency and have more of a facilitator role in the real estate transaction than an active agent role. These brokers can assist both buyers and sellers without representing the interests of either directly. Realtors can represent the buyer, the seller, or even both in a real estate transaction.
Services that Realtors of all kinds can perform are widely varied. Residential appraisals are available, which are inspections that determine the market value of a property, as long as the Realtor is also accredited as an appraiser. Comparative Market Analysis is an estimation of the value compared to other properties, including those currently for sale. Realtors can offer consulting to sellers and buyers, property management services, leasing services, and guidance in how to buy or sell a home for owners who want to work on their own. Auction services and legal services such as preparing contracts or leases are often available as well.
For buyers and sellers who want to hire an agent to more directly represent them, agents can be hired to provide market exposure for a property through MLS listings, signs and flyers, websites, and other marketing means. Agents can also facilitate the buying or selling of a property by handling legalities, escrow accounts, and paperwork for the buyer or seller or both. Because agents have been educated in how to handle the sale and purchase of properties, they can cut through the legal requirements easier than an individual on their own.
Although the services of a Realtor are not absolutely necessary in buying or selling a property, it makes the process a lot easier. People do not often realize the amount of work that goes into advertising, marketing, leasing, selling, or appraising properties. Buying involves more risk to the buyer without the use of an agent because not everyone knows what questions to ask of the seller. Both sides can benefit from the help of a Realtor.