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Real Estate Salespeople Perform Services with State License

Real estate brokers and real estate salespeople perform services based on license requirements that vary from state to state. Although you'll find some of the same activities taking place in real estate markets throughout the United States, the business of buying and selling properties ? and representing the occupant or the would-be owner ? isn't standardized by law across all locations.

Here are some typical activities that require a real estate license

  • Listing a property for sale
  • Finding buyers for property that is for sale
  • Negotiating the sale or purchase of a property
  • Negotiating a lease on behalf of a tenant or a landlord
  • Representing someone in the exchange of properties
  • Buying or selling options (the right to buy a piece of property at some time in the future) on real estate
  • Collecting rents for more than one building owner

This list of activities is at best only a partial one. Your state law probably requires a license to perform most, if not all, of these activities; however, license requirements can include more or fewer activities, depending on the state, and in some cases, the listed activities may be described and enforced in greater detail. The point is that states require you to be licensed to perform activities related to selling, leasing, exchanging, and managing real estate for a fee on behalf of another person.

A typical misconception about the real estate agent's role is that the agent always represents the seller of a property. Although still true in the vast majority of cases, in recent years, agents have begun representing buyers of property in an arrangement called buyer agency. In the case of a buyer agency, the buyer is the principal or client and the seller is the customer. The existence and legality of buyer agency is regulated on a state-by-state basis.

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