What are Licensed Real Estate Salespersons
© 2012 by Aurelio Locsin.
Buying and selling homes, office buildings and properties involves dealing with industry standards, government regulations and financial contracts. The process is fraught with peril for individuals who do not perform it everyday. Licensed real estate salespeople handle this complex transaction so that it is accurate and legally binding for both buyer and seller.
What They Do
Licensed real estate salespersons handle the process of buying, selling and renting buildings, rooms and land for both owners, and those needing the property. They determine a competitive sales price by examining comparable sales, list property on multiple listing services and answer inquiries on it. They then hold open houses so other agents and potential buyers can view the property, and take a client to tour a property he may want to buy. They negotiate offers and fill out all the necessary paperwork so that the transfer of property meets all legal and industry requirements.
All states mandate licensing for real estate sales agents and brokers. Although requirements vary by location, those in California are typical. Applicants must be at least 18 years old and be legal residents of the United States but necessarily of the state. They must also disclose any criminal convictions throughout their entire history. The following college level courses must be successfully completed: real estate principles, real estate practice, and one from a list that includes appraisals, property management, real estate finance, general accounting and escrows. Lawyers who are members of the state bar need not complete the courses. Applicants must then pay a fee and take an exam. They must answer at least 70 percent of the questions correctly to pass.
Real estate brokers run their own businesses and can hire sales agents. Their licensing requirements differ slightly those of sales agents. Using the California example once again, brokers must be at least 18, legal residents of the U.S. and disclose any criminal convictions. They must complete seven college level courses including real estate practice, real estate finance and appraisal, general accounting, business law, office administration, and mortgage loan brokering. They need a minimum of two years of full-time licensed sales agent experience, or may substitute that experience with a four-year degree. They must then pay a few and complete an exam with at least 75 percent of the questions correct. They may also re-take it for free within two years.
Outlook and Salaries
From 2010 to 2020, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, licensed real estate sales agents are expected to see job growth of 12 percent while for brokers, it’s 8 percent. Compare this to the projected increases of 14 percent for the average worker. Population growth will be behind the need for more real estate but the economy will affect opportunities. As of May 2011, agents earned a mean $51,170 per year, or $24.60 per hour. Brokers averaged $83,830 yearly, or $40.31 per hour.
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