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Realtor Duties and Responsibilities

Based on postings that we analyzed, realtors share several core responsibilities whether they work independently or as part of a larger company:

Gather Client Information The realtor's first responsibility is to meet directly with clients who are interested in selling their home, buying a home, or both. During an initial meeting, the realtor asks a series of questions to determine the client's price range, the neighborhoods and home types they are interested in, and the amenities they prefer in a home. On the selling side, realtors determine a client's timeline and information about the home.

Identify Properties for Sale The next step in the realtor's process is to identify potential homes for their clients to visit. Realtors use the information provided by the client and the multiple listing service (MLS) to identify properties that meet all or most of the client's criteria, sending homes to clients to review. In this aspect of the role, the realtor provides clients with many homes that are on the market or heading to market soon.

Accompany Clients on Property Visits Once clients have expressed interest in a particular property (or a number of properties), the realtor accompanies clients on visit homes. During a visit, they may answer questions about the property and provide insight about a home's features, benefits, and potential issues. The realtor also asks questions during a home visit to find out what the clients like and dislike to help guide future property searches.

Negotiate Home Sales Another of a realtor's major duties is negotiating home prices once the client is ready to make an offer on a property. The realtor presents the client's offer to the seller's realtor, and the two conduct a series of negotiations on their clients' behalf. If the negotiations are successful, the buyers and sellers come to an agreement and the sale can proceed to the contract stage, where additional negotiations may take place after a home inspection and further visits to the property.

Connect Clients to Specialists During the buying and selling process, the realtor connects their clients to professionals such as mortgage brokers, home inspectors, and contractors. Most realtors have a network of professionals that they use for referrals and can help ensure that clients have all the necessary paperwork in place for a successful sale.

Support Marketing and Promotional Activities Lastly, realtors guarantee a steady stream of clients by engaging in marketing and promotional activities. These can include mailings, networking, and referral activities. Realtors also follow up with previous clients to determine whether they're interested in selling their home, relocating, or acquiring another property.


Realtor Skills and Qualifications

Realtors work with home buyers and sellers throughout the home sale process. Realtors need to possess a real estate license and have the following skills:
  • Negotiation - realtors need to be excellent negotiators, able to work with clients and other realtors to arrive at agreeable sale terms and negotiate a number of elements during the sales process
  • Market knowledge - this role requires thorough knowledge of the local real estate market. Realtors should be informed about current trends, average home prices, and neighborhoods within their sales territory
  • Client service - this role requires excellent client service skills, since realtors need to understand what their clients are looking for in a home, work within their price range, and be available throughout the sales process
  • Marketing - realtors need excellent promotional and marketing skills to attract buyers and build their client base through referrals, outreach, and advertising
  • Organization skills - generally, realtors work with a number of buyers and sellers, so they should have strong time management and organization skills to keep track of appointments and commitments
  • Communication skills - realtors need effective verbal and written communication skills and should be able to prepare documents and speak with clients, other agents, and financial professionals

Realtor Education and Training

While realtors do not need a specific degree, they do need to take a series of real estate classes and pass licensing examinations. The specific requirements can vary from state to state, and in some cases, realtors who have taken college courses in real estate can bypass the classes and move directly to taking licensing examinations. There may also be continuing education requirements for realtors to maintain their licenses over time.

Realtor Salary and Outlook

While realtor salaries can vary because of commissions, geography, and a number of other factors, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) estimates that real estate agents earn a median annual salary of $45,990, while real estate brokers earn a median annual salary of $56,730. The highest-earning real estate agents make over $109,490, while the lowest paid earn less than $23,130 per year. The BLS expects employment for real estate brokers and agents to grow at an average pace of 6 percent by 2026.

Helpful Resources

There are many resources available on the web if you're interested in becoming a realtor. We identified these as particularly helpful, providing advice and guidance whether you're just starting out or already on your way to working as a realtor:

National Association of Realtors - the NAR is the largest professional organization for realtors and real estate brokers, providing educational opportunities, events to connect with other realtors, and industry news

How to Make It Big as a Real Estate Agent: The Right Systems and Approaches to Cut Years Off Your Learning Curve and Become Successful in Real Estate - Mark Ferguson explores strategies and provides advice for identifying opportunities and effectively closing sales

"How to Get a Real Estate License" - this portal allows you to search state-by-state information on obtaining a real estate license, a necessary step to starting a career as a realtor

102 Clever Ways to Get More Listings: For Realtors and Brokers - read this book, which includes marketing techniques and lead generation strategies, to learn how to drive listings and increase your sales

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