A real estate agent, real estate broker or real estate sales agent is a professional who represents buyers or sellers of real estate. An agent can work alone, but most often an agent works under a licensed brokerage to represent several clients. While some agents work solely through their own firm, many also have brokerage links through other firms or real estate agencies. It is usually the responsibility of the buyer or seller to select an agent to serve with them, and there are numerous ways in which an agent can be found and selected. The Internet provides many options for finding a real estate agent as well.
Licensing is mandatory before becoming a real estate agents. In order to get their license, real estate agents must complete a number of courses in areas such as finance, real estate law, real estate appraisals, and public speaking, among others. As real estate agents, they are responsible to provide educational information on real estate practices and market trends. They are also responsible for performing background investigations on potential clients as well as perform ethics training and continuing education classes, as required by state laws.
A good realtor training system will help aspiring agents develop both technical and interpersonal skills that are essential for their careers. The programs must be tailor-made to address the needs of the budding realtor profession. It should include real estate marketing strategies, business planning, sales approaches, real estate law and regulations, and financial and accounting advice. Programs must also cover the application process for a real estate license. These must include educational requirements, licensing procedures, application requirements, and the filing deadlines.
There are various real estate organizations that provide training and development programs. Some of these are the National Association of Realtors, the National Association of real estate appraisers, the National Association of real estate brokers, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers, the National Association of real estate agents, and the National Association of realtors. Most of these organizations conduct online real estate school courses. Most online real estate schools offer associate degree programs, bachelor degree program, master degree programs, and PhD programs. Many online schools offer accelerated programs that enable students to complete their degrees while still working full-time jobs. A number of online real estate schools have scholarships and fellowships for low-income students.
In most states, real estate licensing is required to practice real estate. However, there are some states that allow real estate agents without licenses to work under the supervision of licensed brokers. In these states, first year associates who successfully pass the national real estate licensing exam can take the licensing exam again in subsequent years, provided they pass with a high grade.
There are several pre-licensing hours that real estate agents must complete in their state before obtaining their real estate license. In many states, real estate agents must successfully complete the pre-licensing hours as pre-licensing hours for initial certification are generally shorter. In some states, agents need to attend a real estate school in order to complete their pre-licensing hours. For example, in Alabama, real estate agents must attend and pass the four-day “Clerk of Property Valuation and Reporting” course, which is required by all Alabama counties.