How Working With A Real Estate Agent Benefits You

Benefits of Working with a Real Estate Agent

They help sell your home and find your new home: Top Real estate agents can help your sell your current home as well as help you find your new home simultaneously. That way you don’t have to worry about where you are going to live once you sell.

Agents take care of all the paperwork: Ensuring all the documents involved in a real estate transaction are correct and properly signed and executed is extremely important. Real estate agents are trained to carefully analyze real estate contracts, inspection reports, etc. so you don’t have to.

Realtors save you time: Can you imagine all the time it takes to constantly search for a house that meets your criteria as soon as it hits the market. If you’re selling, the agent is also in charge of scheduling showings, hosting open houses, marketing, etc.

Agents help you navigate legal requirements when selling or buying a house. Although real estate agents aren’t attorneys, they do know the ins and outs of any legal requirements you’re obligated to follow when doing a real estate transaction.

Access to the MLS: Realtors have access to homes that are listed on the MLS. [Multiple Listing Service] This is a platform that only licensed realtors can access.

Buyers rely heavily on agents: In 2019, 87% of home buyers purchased their homes using a real estate agent. 88% of those buyers said they would use an agent again to buy another home and would also recommend a friend to use a buyer’s agent.

Sellers get a higher price when they use an agent: 48% of homeowners who don’t use an agent, end up selling for a lower price.

Easily schedule showings: Agents have tools they use to schedule showings for only qualified buyers. Just tell your real estate agent when you’re willing to show the home and they handle the rest…

Homes Listed by real estate agents sell for more money: Realtor listed homes sell for a whopping 18% more than homes sold “for sale by owner”

Agents provide you with professional advice: Top real estate agents have a lot of experience so you can rely on their judgment when you need to discuss something or make a decision about something.

Agents are great negotiators: Whether you’re buying or selling, there’s always some negotiating that happens. Experienced Realtors are expert negotiators and they can make sure you are getting a fair deal.

Real estate agents will guide you through the whole process from a to z. A real estate transaction is like a journey where a lot of things can go wrong if you’re not prepared to handle it. Your Realtor will be there for you throughout the whole process until closing.

Agents put their emotions aside to get the deal done. If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, you know how emotional it can be. Your real estate agent isn’t emotionally attached to your home so they can think clearly without clouded judgment to get the deal done.

Top Realtors are familiar with the neighborhood: If you hire a local real estate agent, they will have a tremendous amount of knowledge about the neighborhood you are buying or selling in.

Most homeowners in the US rely heavily on real estate agents: In 2019 89% of homes sold in the US were sold by real estate agents and only 11% sold as a “for sale by owner”.

Real Estate Agents are bound by law to act as your fiduciary agent. This means they are required to look out for your best interests whether you are the buyer or seller.

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What Do Real Estate Agents Charge?

If you need to hire a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a house, keep in mind these real estate professionals get paid through a real estate commission. So how much does it cost and why? Can this be negotiated?

As a real estate agent in Orlando, FL since 2004, please let me explain everything you’ll need to know about real estate commissions.

How much are real estate commissions?

Instead of getting paid by the hour or weekly salary, real estate agents only get paid if the real estate transaction goes through.

Some brokerages will charge a flat rate for their services, most agents work off a percentage of the sale once the sale has gone through. The exact percentage can vary however, most real estate commissions are usually between 5 and 6% of the sale price. So on a $100,000 home, a 5% commission would be $5,000.

This might seem like a lot of money, but keep in mind that the real estate commission gets split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent. Also, real estate agents don’t receive a penny until the deal has gone through… a process that can take weeks and even months of work depending on the deal.

Who pays the real estate commission?

Usually, the seller of the home pays the entire amount of the commission for the service of both the listing agent as well as the buyer’s agent… unless the agent is representing both buyer and seller.

The two agents typically split the real estate commission 50/50. If a home sells for $100,000 at a 5% commission, each real estate agent will walk away with $2,500. However, this can also vary in certain situations such as if the listing agent was only offering 1% to the buyer’s agent. Everything in real estate is usually negotiable.

Dual Agency Explained

If the same real estate agent is representing both the buyer and the seller, the agent then becomes a “dual agent” and receives the entire amount of the real estate commission. That’s why listing agents love it when they also find the buyer in addition to representing the seller. [Talk about a huge payday!]

As an Orlando real estate agent, this has happened to me countless times. However, many real estate agents don’t like representing both parties because it puts them in the awkward situation of having to work for both the buyer which could at times become a conflict of interest.

What Exactly does real estate agent commission cover?

Homeowners certainly have the option of selling or buying their home “For Sale By Owner”, but when they find out the tremendous amount of time and work that it requires, they usually end up hiring a real estate agent. Real estate agents provide a whole wide range of services like; pricing the home correctly, marketing the home [on the Multiple Listing Service, social media, etc.] negotiations, and even guiding homeowners through the closing.

An experienced real estate agent can help you get top dollar for your home while handling all the stress that comes with selling a home. I can tell you from experience… good real estate agents earn their money!

Need proof? Check out these numbers… A recent National survey done in 2019 found that a typical FSBO home sold for $195,000 compared to $245,000 with the assistance of a real estate agent, according to the National Association of Realtors®.

That means that homes listed for sale with a realtor sold for $50,000 more than without an agent. Maybe that’s why a whopping 92% of homeowners used a real estate agent to sell their home.

Are real estate agent commissions negotiable?

As my first ever real estate teacher used to say all of the time “everything in real estate is negotiable”. Although a 5% to 6% commission is the norm here in Florida, there aren’t any state or even federal laws that set commission rates.

This means that if you want to sell your home, you can certainly ask your real estate agent to reduce their commission however, they aren’t obligated to do so.

One thing to consider is this: Your listing agent must pay for marketing your home from the commission they receive after the closing, less commission could mean a lower marketing budget for your home which could mean more time on the market.

With that being said, it won’t hurt to ask your agent to lower their commission. Most real estate agents won’t be offended [who cares if they are?] and the worst they can tell you is no. If you are tight on the numbers, you may ask them to charge you a flat fee for helping you list the home, communicate with buyers, and write the contract, but you won’t get a full service from the agent or brokerage with a flat fee. Most agents don’t offer a flat fee listing agreement, so you’ll have to shop around a bit, and be prepared to do some of the heavy lifting yourself.

Buying or selling a home will probably be one of the largest financial transactions of your lifetime, so make sure to find an experienced real estate agent that you can trust to do a great job. This isn’t the time to hire your nephew who just got his license 3 weeks ago…

Other Things You Should Know About Real Estate Commissions

Every detail about an agent’s real estate commission must be outlined in the listing agreement [contract] that you signed when you hired the agent. A typical listing agreement should also state how long the agent will represent you. Usually, a listing agreement in Florida lasts between 90 to 120 days.

As the home seller, you want a real estate agent who will fetch you the highest and best sales price and the terms you want, but the best real estate agents aren’t cheap. Like the old saying goes with most things in life… you get what you pay for.

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What’s the Difference Between a Real Estate Agent and a Broker?

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, you’re going to need some help. So the question becomes… Who should you hire? Unless you’re in the industry, It can be quite confusing to figure out the different types of real estate professionals and what the difference is. Real estate professionals go by a few different names such as real estate agent, real estate broker, and of course, Realtor. So what exactly is the difference between the three?

Many times these different titles are used interchangeably because most people don’t know the difference between them. However, there are some important differences between them as well as special requirements for using certain titles.

Following is a list of the most common real estate professional titles you will come across and what exactly they mean.

The Real Estate Agent

The real estate agent is a licensed professional who helps people to buy, sell and rent different types of real estate such as residential and commercial.

For them to get the license, the state requires the individual to complete pre-licensing training. Depending on the jurisdiction, the number of training hours required can vary quite a bit. In the state of Florida, for example, real estate agents have to take 63 hours of pre-licensing training and in California, applicants must complete 135 hours of pre-licensing training before they can test for their license.

Once the training has been completed, applicants must then take a state-issued written exam. In Florida for example, the real estate sale associate exam is a 100-question multiple-choice test. 45 of the questions are on real estate principles and practices, and another 45 questions cover Florida and Federal laws, the additional 10 questions require math calculations.

Once they’ve passed this exam, they can now call themselves a “real estate agent” and will most likely join a real estate brokerage where they can begin working with home buyers and sellers. New agents will also benefit tremendously from being around experienced agents.

The Real Estate Broker

A real estate broker is someone who has been a real estate agent for at least 2 years and has taken additional educational courses beyond the agent level as required by the state.

Pretty similar to a real estate agent’s exam, each state has its broker exam requirements and continued education. The additional requirements cover topics such as contracts, insurance, ethics, and taxes in a more in-depth level of understanding than what was taught to them as a new agent.

Brokers are also required to be knowledgeable about legal issues and how the law pertains to operating a brokerage, investing in real estate, new construction, and even property management. It’s because of this that brokers should have a more in-depth knowledge of the real estate business in their state.

To take the state broker’s exam and get a license, real estate agents must have at least 2 years of experience as a licensed agent under a licensed broker in the state of Florida.

Typically, there are 3 different types of real estate brokers and each one has a different role to play.

There are three types of real estate brokers, each with subtle differences in the role they perform:

The Principal Broker: is the person in an office that oversees all the other agents in that particular office. This person is also in charge of making sure that agents are complying and operating within state and national real estate law. The Principal broker mainly gets paid a cut of every commission of every agent in that office. Some brokers also receive an annual salary in addition to their commission.

The Broker Associate: This real estate professional aka affiliate broker possesses a broker’s license but is working under a managing broker. This agent is usually not responsible for overseeing other agents.

The Realtor: For a real estate agent to become a Realtor they need to become a member of the National Association of Realtors®. When you become a member, you are agreeing to uphold the standards of the Realtor Association as well as its code of ethics.

The NAR holds agents to a higher standard beyond what the state requires. Realtors also have access to valuable real estate market data as well as transaction management services and several other tools which can be extremely helpful in the real estate business.

The Listing Agent

The listing agent in a real estate transaction represents the seller and they are the ones that list the property. If you’re looking to sell your house, then you’d be wise to hire a listing agent, as they specialize in selling homes. They help in countless ways including pricing the home, home improvement advice, marketing, open houses, negotiating, scheduling showings, and closing.

Just like any other type of agent, listing agents don’t receive any money unless the home gets sold. When and if it sells, the typical real estate sales commission in Florida is between 5 and 6% [to be split between the listing agent and buyer’s agent]. Although, as I learned in my very first real estate class… “everything in real estate is negotiable”.

The Buyer’s Agent

Like it says in the title, buyer’s agents represent people who are buying a home. Like the listing agent, a buyer’s agent has a whole list of tasks to complete to ensure a successful home buying experience for their clients. Buyer’s agents can help with things like finding the right house, negotiations, recommending mortgage brokers or financial institutions.

Just like the listing agent, the buyer’s agent is dependent on the deal going through to get paid from the sale of the property. This is good news for the home buyer because it doesn’t cost them anything to hire a buyer’s agent.

Finding The Right Real Estate Professional For You

Most people start their search on Google, which is a good starting place. However, it’s also good practice to find an agent which specializes in the area where you are buying… or selling. Once you have a few potential candidates selected, meet with them in person, ask questions and check their online reviews. By doing this you’ll know if they’re a good fit for you moving forward.

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What Does A Real Estate Agent Do?

A Typical Day in the Life of a Real Estate Agent

Technically, as defined in the Cambridge Dictionary, a real estate agent is someone whose business is to arrange the selling or buying of homes, vacant land, offices, or buildings for the sellers or buyers. Technically, it’s an accurate definition, however, it doesn’t tell you everything a real estate agent does on a day-to-day basis.

In my world as a Real Estate Broker, each day is different and unique; while this can seem to be an appealing aspect of being a real estate professional, it can be quite challenging, depending on the Realtor’s skill and experience level. So, exactly what does a Realtor do on a typical day?

Managing a Real Estate Brokerage

The majority of real estate agents [especially newbies] typically work inside an office provided by the broker that employs them. This is good in the sense that they can discuss opportunities and exchange ideas with their co-workers, get updates on new listings, as well as discuss buyers’ and sellers’ needs.

There are quite a few administrative tasks that occur every day at the core of a successful real estate brokerage. Depending on the size of the brokerage they may have someone who works as an administrator to make sure an office is a well-oiled machine.

A good Realtor

  • Stays current on local and regional market activity and industry news.
  • Consistently researches active, pending, and sold listings in their farm area.
  • Maintains, completes, submits, and files any paperwork, such as real estate contracts, records, etc. with the proper agencies.
  • Coordinates and schedules appointments, showings, open houses, and any meetings with clients and other agents.
  • Develops and implements marketing plans for listings and creates marketing materials like fliers and other promotional materials.
  • Responds to incoming emails and phone calls
  • Keeps their website updated with fresh content and is active on social media and real estate blogs.

Most successful real estate agents hire an assistant to assist with the day-to-day activities, allowing the agent or broker to focus on more important activities.

Real Estate Agents Sell Themselves In Addition To Selling Homes

Being able to consistently attract new clients is crucial to the success of a real estate agent. Below are a few ways a real estate agent can attract new clients:

Marketing Themselves. Competition is fierce in the world of real estate. A successful agent should have a niche in their local real estate market and become an expert in that niche. This helps differentiate agents out there and what they specialize in. A successful real estate agent has a monthly budget set for marketing themselves through their website, fliers, video, and pay-per-click advertising.

Generating Leads. Generating leads via networking with other real estate agents as well as anyone else they come in contact with such as friends, family, business associates, and so on is an extremely valuable asset to a successful Realtor.

Treating Everyone as a Prospect. Everyone lives in a home, condo, townhouse, or apartment. Therefore, to a real estate agent, anyone they meet will eventually need to buy, sell or rent a home. A real estate agent spends a substantial amount of time cultivating leads and meeting with potential buyers and sellers.

Listing Agents

Listing agents specialize in working with homeowners who need to sell their homes. They have a responsibility to understand the needs of a seller with every new listing.

They must demonstrate to the homeowner their knowledge, marketing abilities, and negotiation skills. A successful listing agent must be an expert at researching the current market activity and comparable properties to determine an accurate listing price for your property. Here are some of the responsibilities of a listing agent.

  • Staging The Home: It’s the agent’s responsibility to advise the seller on tips to make sure the home shows off it’s best features during showings. A bit of de-cluttering and some touch up paint can go a long way in making a home look its best. Depending on the situation, you may want to have the home fully staged prior to listing it.
  • Take Quality Photographs: The listing agent is required to take [or hire somebody to take] quality photos inside and out in order to prepare a proper listing presentation and advertising materials. In addition.
  • Pre-screening and Negotiating With Potential Buyers: Your listing agent is in charge of making sure potential buyers are pre-qualified before showing the house. Once you have secured a qualified buyer the agent will be in charge of helping negotiate the best price.

Buyers Agents

Buyers agents are real estate agents that specialize in working with buyers. Their responsibilities include meeting with potential buyers to determine what their real estate needs are as well as to help them get pre-qualified for a mortgage if needed.

Once the agent knows exactly what the potential buyer is looking for, they will alert the buyer as soon as a property meeting their needs hits the market and schedule a showing.

Another option that agents utilize to narrow down a search for a buyer or to perform research on the competition for sellers is the MLS tour. This allows agents and brokers to quickly gather first-hand knowledge on several available properties in the local market.

Developing Your Skills
Although continuing education is a requirement to maintain a real estate license, it is also an opportunity to develop the skills that will keep an agent at the top of their game or open a door to new real estate opportunities within the regional or local market. Continual development is crucial to the long-term success of real estate agents and brokers. Continuing education not only widens their scope of expertise, but also improves their proficiency, knowledge, and marketability as real estate professionals.

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The Importance Of Orlando Realtors

When buying or selling a house many people tend to overlook the importance of enlisting the help of Orlando Realtors. These people believe that using a real estate agent is a waste of money. They’re convinced that they are better off taking on the task themselves. Saving money isn’t the only motivating factor for people not wanting to hire a realtor. Unfortunately for some, it’s because of a bad experience they’ve had in the past or something bad happened to a loved one.

Although these may seem like legitimate reasons to dismiss the idea of hiring an Orlando real estate agent, assuming that all realtors are bad news can actually hurt you more than help you. It’s just like any profession in the world, amongst all the good ones, there are bound to be some bad ones. The truth is that hiring a good realtor is crucial to be successful when buying or selling a home.

Just imagine a young family that wants to buy their very first home, yet they are completely clueless about the real estate process. However, they still want to take on the task by themselves because they know how to use a computer and they heard how easy it is from their friend [who probably never bought a house either].

After reading a few articles on the Orlando real estate market, they feel like they’re practically realtors themselves. This is not good! You may be able to gain some basic knowledge about the market on your own but this is a far cry from knowing how to handle a real estate transaction, especially when problems arise…like they always do!

Thinking that you know about how the real estate process works when you really don’t, can end up costing thousands of dollars and even land you in hot water if you’re not careful. Realtors go through countless hours of training on real estate law as well as how to complete a transaction from A to Z.

Experienced Orlando Realtors are equipped to handle unexpected issues that are common in most transactions. This is why it’s so important to have a licensed real estate agent in your corner to look out for your best interests.

Orlando Listing Agents Are Crucial When Selling

Homeowners that are serious about selling a home would also be wise to enlist the help of a realtor. Selling a home without the proper guidance of a professional can easily lead to disaster, especially for those that need to sell their house fast for top dollar.

Have you ever seen a home with a “For Sale By Owner” sign in the front yard? Then six months or even a year later you see that same home with the same crappy sign? This is usually a sign [no pun intended] of the owner not pricing the home correctly and or lack of exposure. By using the help of a real estate agent, not only will know what price to list it for but your home will be seen as being “for sale” by thousands of other realtors and their potential buyers. This will give you the best chance at selling your Orlando home fast for top dollar.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying all realtors are perfect. As a matter of fact, I’ve had the displeasure of working with some really awful agents in the past. And many times people just aren’t satisfied with their agent because of one reason or another [This is common when people just hire the first agent they speak with instead of taking the time to interview several of them]. 

However, you should never neglect the importance of these professionals and the role they play in the real estate process. Whether you buying or selling a home, the need for help from a licensed real estate agent is inevitable.


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