What do real estate agents do?

Chances are that you have stumbled across this article because you might be considering buying and/or selling real estate in Toronto and/or the Greater Toronto Area (GTA).

In this article, we will provide an overview, as well as an explanation of what real estate agents do and analysis of what they do. We will also describe what a real estate agent representing a seller and a real estate agent representing a buyer in a transaction usually do.

First, it is important to note that real estate agents are usually licensed wherever they are working to help people and buy real estate. They are frequently licensed wherever they are working to operate, negotiate, and arrange real estate transactions under the supervision of real estate brokers.

Negotiating transactions and arranging sales means real estate agents might be showing properties, listing properties on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), drafting contracts, listing agreements, purchase agreements, negotiating the specifics of deals, and more.

However, the laws and regulations that govern what real estate agents are responsible for doing, so the information in this article will vary from place to place.

For example, in Ontario, to become a licensed real estate salesperson, you must be at least 18 years of age, be a Canadian resident, complete pre-registration educational requirements, pass your exams and courses, meet all of the requirements to become a registered salesperson.

Then you would apply to become a registered salesperson or broker with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), and purchase insurance coverage. While some real estate agents specialize in residential real estate listings and sales, some real estate agents focus on doing more commercial real estate listings and sales.


What do real estate agents do?

Staying up to date with market trends, and researching market trends and changes in rules and regulations governing their industry

You might not know this but even if a real estate agent is not doing research for a client or actively working on a deal, they are usually trying to research market trends in the neighbourhoods and areas where they are working. They might be making sure to keep up to date with rules and regulations in their field or monitoring reports from their local real estate board and the MLS to see what the market is doing wherever they are.

Agents need to stay abreast of market trends so they can provide the highest level of service to clients whether they are buying or selling a property. If you are looking to buy a home, it pays to have an agent who is knowledgeable of the neighbourhood(s) where you are looking to buy.

Networking with their peers, other agents and brokers in the area(s) where they work

In general, no matter if real estate agents usually represent buyers or sellers they should be networking with other agents and brokers in the area(s) where they work. You might be wondering why this is an important part of being a successful real estate agent.

But networking with other agents and brokers helps them to stay abreast of current market trends, learn about new listings coming onto the market, changes in a certain neighbourhood, and homes that might be private sales. Private sales are homes that are not publicly listed as being on the market on the MLS.

For example, if you are looking to buy and do not have the support of a real estate agent during this process, you might not learn about private sales or homes coming onto the market. Working with a great real estate agent means you might learn about private sales and other homes coming onto the market before they are actually listed as being for sale. If an agent has a great network, you too will benefit from their connections and strength of their network. Since if you are only looking at what is advertised as being for sale online or on the MLS, you could miss out on your dream home.

Developing their skills by taking continuing education courses and staying up to date with changes in their industry

Real estate agents are also expected to always be improving and developing their skills, whether they are taking continuing education courses, attending conferences, seminars, or other events. These educational experiences are meant to help them stay up to date with what is going in the area, what is going on in their industry, and best practices for real estate agents.

Learning about inventory wherever they are working, visiting properties

Agents when they are researching market trends, working with clients to make deals happen, and other things will often visit other homes that are for sale. This is important because ideally, your real estate agent if you are buying a home should have visited the home you are interested in before showing it to you.

Real estate agents when they are representing you as the buyer (buyer’s agents)

Helping you to find a mortgage broker or lender who can pre-approve you for a mortgage

A great real estate agent besides doing everything else that they do when they are representing you as the buyer can also help you to find a lender who can pre-approve you for a mortgage. It is recommended that you get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start to seriously begin at looking at homes to buy so you can determine how much to budget for this and figure out how much a lender would be willing to give you

Finding homes for you that are within your budget, in the areas that you are looking to buy, with your desired features, amenities, etc.

A great agent will be researching properties in the neighbourhoods and areas where you are looking to buy that could be a good fit for you. They will be coordinating visits for such homes and bringing you to see homes that would be a great fit for you.

Advising you on how to craft your offer, market trends and supporting you through the process of finding your dream home

A great agent will be there to advise you on everything related to the whole transaction and process of buying your home. They will be able to provide you with comps for similar homes in the neighbourhood where you are looking to buy. Using their experience and knowledge they can help you to craft the best possible offer, tell you if a home you are interested in is priced appropriately, and can advise you on how the market is doing where you are looking to buy.

Drafting, preparing, and presenting offers to buy homes on your behalf

If you are buying a home, the agent you are working with who is representing you as the buyer will be working with you to draft an offer, prepare the offer, and presenting the offer to the seller or the seller’s agent.

Preparing other paperwork and managing the home buying process

Real estate agents will also be preparing other paperwork related to this transaction and handling these other bureaucratic processes related to this transaction. They will be helping push this transaction forward and making it sure that it stays on track and on schedule.

This means that your agent could be helping to coordinate home inspections or appraisals and review these reports with you and negotiating with the seller when you have these reports in hand. They will also be with you for the closing, answering any questions you might have, helping you to get the keys for your new home and getting you any important documents, deeds, insurance, etc.

Negotiate on behalf of clients with other real estate agents and brokers representing the seller and the seller

Your agent will be responsible for doing their best to help you to get the best deal possible for your next home. This means they will be negotiating on your behalf and acting as a liaison between you and the seller.

Real estate agents when they are representing you as the seller (listing agents) 

Listing your home on the MLS, developing plans to market your home and advertise your home

If you have hired a real estate agent to represent you as the seller to help you to sell your home, they will be developing a plan to market your home, this might involve putting it on the market (on the MLS) and advertising it online or in print.

Advising you on how to stage and get your home ready to sell

A great agent will be able to advise you on how to stage your home to sell and what improvements and repairs you should make that you will get you the best return on your investment.

Screening potential buyers, negotiating with other real estate agents and brokers representing potential buyers and potential buyers

Your agent will be the one negotiating the terms of the deal to sell your home for you and dealing with all of the logistics on your end to make it happen when it comes to managing the contract, cooperating with the agent or broker representing the buyer, etc.

Ideally, real estate agents whether they are representing you as the buyer or they are representing you as the seller is always going to be providing outstanding customer service for their clients

No matter if a real estate agent is representing you as the buyer or the seller and acting as the listing agent, they should be providing you with excellent customer service. A great agent will be there to support you throughout the process whether it is being available by phone, email, or text or advising you. Or they are remembering special occasions, birthdays, moving days, etc. and making sure to take care of you on these important dates.

A great agent should also be able to recommend professionals to help you with your move, as well as cleaners, packers, home stagers, handy people, painters, attorneys, home inspectors, and more to help you if you are buying and/or selling a home.

A great agent will be there with you for the transaction and hopefully for the future. So, if you are looking to potentially do renovations or improvements to the home that you bought with them they can provide you advice on what repairs, improvements, etc. will give you the best return for your investment.



Hopefully, after reading this article you will have gained some greater insight into what real estate agents do, why their profession is important, and what they do for buyers and sellers. Now, if you were looking to hire a real estate agent to help you buy or sell a property you would feel more confident knowing what the person you are hiring to help you through this process and this transaction is supposed to be doing to help you through this.

Buying and selling property, as well as managing real estate transactions can be complicated and time-consuming even if you are working with a real estate agent or broker. But buying or selling a property without them means you will be responsible for everything that has to happen with this transaction, finding other professionals (such as attorneys) to help you, negotiating with the buyer or seller, etc. And if you are trying to buy or sell a property, and you yourself are not an agent or broker where you are looking to buy you run the risk that you might not be complying with local laws and regulations.

The services that real estate agents provide has been likened to the services that travel agents provide in the internet age. While you might be able to learn about properties that are publicly listed on the MLS and the internet, agents support sellers and buyers throughout the process and can provide invaluable knowledge, advice, insight, and support. They also can help you to get the best value whether you are buying or selling a property and get the most favourable deal possible.

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