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What is a Real Estate Agent?

Real estate agents buy, sell or rent properties on behalf of their clients. They must have a deep knowledge of the market and of the communities in their area, so they can advise their clients on matters ranging from how to accurately price their homes, to when it's the right moment to make the plunge and buy a new one. Agents also guide buyers toward the homes that best fit their needs by generating a list of properties for sale, accompanying the client to see the properties and negotiating an offer with the seller.

For most people, a house is the biggest purchase they'll ever make. And although the prospect of a new home can be incredibly exciting, it can also be incredibly disconcerting, especially as new homeowners anticipate parting with a huge chunk of change. Good real estate agents ease that transition into homeownership.

"It's so much more than sales," says Jason Townsend, CEO and senior sales agent of Capital Community Properties, a small team doing business under the brokerage of Keller Williams in the District of Columbia. "As opposed to selling stocks or insurance, there's an emotional side to real estate that can be very rewarding." Successful real estate agents should enjoy both the relational (or clients services) aspect of the job, as well as the business and financial aspects.

The terms real estate agent and real estate broker are often used interchangeably. The main difference between the two is that brokers are licensed to manage their own businesses, while agents are not. Agents may work under brokers, but their jobs are similar – both help clients sell and buy homes. And though it's possible to buy or sell a home without using a professional, an agent can make the process a lot easier. The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects 2.3 percent employment growth for real estate agents between 2019 and 2029. In that period, an estimated 8,700 jobs should open up.

Real Estate Agents rank #5 in Best Sales and Marketing Jobs. Jobs are ranked according to their ability to offer an elusive mix of factors


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