When buying a new home, it's important to hire a real estate agent. If you choose to hire a realtor, they will be the person you are in contact with the most. There are several different types of real estate agents that all do different things, What they do will sometime overlap with each other but it's important to know that you're hiring the right type of real estate agent for your purpose and that means knowing the difference between them. Here's a look at the different types of real estate agents and their areas of expertise:
Agents - Agents have gone through the necessary education and training needed to help somebody buy or sell a home and has been licensed through the state. Educational requirements will cover the state's laws, practices, policies, and regulations regarding real estate. Real estate agents will be associated with a broker and act under their authority. Real estate agents can be called by several other titles depending on the state that they are located. These names include real estate sales people, sales agents, subagents, and oddly enough brokers.
Brokers - Brokers are similar to agents, they do most things that the other can do. What sets a broker apart from an agent is the fact that brokers typically have more experience and they have met the requirements set by the state in order to own, operate, and manage their own real estate company. These requirements usually involve a certain amount of experience as an agent in addition to some advanced coursework and a written exam. Like agents, real estate brokers can also be called other things depending on location. These alternate titles include principal brokers and qualifying brokers.
In the process of buying a home, you will consistently be in contact with your real estate agent. In this process, the word agent takes on a different meaning. The word "Agency" is used in lieu of "Representation" and "Agent" in lieu of "Representative". In this sense, during the home buying/selling process there are three types of agents:
Seller's Agent - This is an agent that works with just the seller on any home buying process. They are also commonly referred to as the listing agent. If you do not hire a real estate agent when purchasing a home, all of the real estate agents you speak to will be listing agents. These agents typically do not work exclusively as seller's agents but actually switch based on the needs of their clients.
Buyer's Agent - These are the agents that help homebuyers through the process. They will work exclusively with the homebuyer in order to help them get what they want and will help negotiate a fair price. Typically, hiring a buyer's agent consists of signing a formal agreement stating that they represent you and your interests in buying a home.
Dual Agent - As the name implies, Dual agents work with both the buyer and seller in a particular home buying deal. This can cause a conflict of interest for the agent but it is legal so long as both of the parties involved in the process agree.
If you're looking to buy or sell a home, it's important to know exactly what you're getting into. This information should assist you in your search for a real estate agent. Find out whether your prospective agent specializes in one of these areas and use that information to find the real estate agent that best suits your interests.