A real estate salesperson helps home buyers, sellers, or both complete home sale transactions. Real estate salespersons are generally self-employed, but must work with a real estate broker and be licensed in the state in which they work. The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicated a median annual pay of $42,680 in 2010 for real estate brokers and sales agents, though income for salespeople varies greatly by location and the number of houses sold.
A seller's agent works with homeowners to get their home listed for sale. This usually begins with a consultation visit at the home. The agent advises the prospective client on things that need done before the listing and showings begin. The salesperson then has the homeowner complete necessary paperwork, including agency agreements, listing disclosures and other legal documents. As part of the formal listing, the agent submits the property details to the local multiple listing service for other agents to see.
A full-service seller's agent also assumes responsibilities for marketing the home in the local community. This includes taking pictures and putting them on her website and in local classifieds. Open houses are periodically held to invite other agents and people from the community into the home. As part of the marketing and selling process, the agent also takes calls from prospective buyers and other agents to schedule showings of the property to home shoppers.
A buyer's agent works with home shoppers to identify properties in their price range and schedule showings. Some real estate salespeople work specifically with either buyers or sellers, though many work with either type of client. A buyer's agent calls the listing agent to make arrangements for a home showing. He pulls pictures and listing details from the multiple listing service and shares them with the buyer during the home visit. As he shows the home, he shares information, points out features of the property and answers any questions.
Both buyer and seller agents play an active role in the completion of a purchase transaction. The buyer's agent works with his clients to submit a contract with an offer price when they find a property of interest. During this process, some agents actively consult on writing an offer while others prefer to let clients make decisions alone. Once an offer is received by the listing agent, he shares it with the homeowners. They can accept or reject the offer, or make a counteroffer. This process goes on until both parties agree to price and other terms, or one party balks and walks away.
2016 Salary Information for Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents
Real estate brokers and sales agents earned a median annual salary of $46,810 in 2016, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. On the low end, real estate brokers and sales agents earned a 25th percentile salary of $30,850, meaning 75 percent earned more than this amount. The 75th percentile salary is $76,200, meaning 25 percent earn more. In 2016, 444,100 people were employed in the U.S. as real estate brokers and sales agents.
About the Author
Neil Kokemuller has been an active business, finance and education writer and content media website developer since 2007. He has been a college marketing professor since 2004. Kokemuller has additional professional experience in marketing, retail and small business. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Iowa State University.
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