Silicon Valley is known as the tech hub of the world, attracting professionals and entrepreneurs from all over the globe. With its booming real estate market, it’s important to understand the roles of different real estate experts in Silicon Valley. From agents to brokers and associates, each professional plays a crucial role in the buying and selling process. In this article, we will explore the various titles and responsibilities of these experts and how they contribute to the real estate industry in Silicon Valley.
Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent is a licensed salesperson who has successfully passed a state-administered exam to qualify for the profession. While they are legally allowed to sell property, they must work under the authority of a real estate broker and cannot operate independently. The requirements for a real estate agent license vary depending on the location, but generally, individuals must be at least 18 years old and have completed college-level courses in real estate, covering the specific state’s laws and practices.
Real Estate Broker
A real estate broker holds a higher level of licensure than a real estate agent. They have passed a more extensive and challenging licensure exam, as they are held to higher standards of real estate knowledge. A broker can choose to work independently or employ real estate salespersons to whom they can delegate tasks and assignments. They are qualified to manage agents and often have more significant responsibilities within their firm. In Silicon Valley, there is typically one principal broker for each firm.
The title of “REALTOR®” is given to real estate agents or brokers who are members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). To be a REALTOR®, professionals must subscribe to the association’s extensive Code of Ethics and pay annual dues. NAR members also belong to state and local trade associations, providing a mechanism for addressing complaints against REALTORS® at the local level.
A listing agent, also known as a seller’s agent, exclusively represents the home seller in the selling process. They work in the best interests of the seller and handle negotiations with potential buyers. Under a listing agreement, the listing agent owes a fiduciary responsibility to the seller and guides them through every step of the process, from marketing to closing. The responsibilities of a listing agent typically include helping the seller prepare and stage their home, listing the home in the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), managing open houses and private viewings, and negotiating with potential buyers.
A buyer’s agent works exclusively in the best interests of the buyer, helping them navigate the home-buying process. Their responsibilities begin during the pre-approval phase and continue until closing. While some buyer’s agents solely work with buyers, others choose to work with both buyers and sellers, though not always in the same transaction. Key responsibilities of a buyer’s agent include assisting the buyer in finding a home that fits their needs and budget, negotiating with the seller on the buyer’s behalf, providing reliable home inspectors, and managing the necessary paperwork.
A broker associate is a licensed real estate broker who chooses to work for another real estate broker. This arrangement often occurs when a broker wants to expand their real estate network by working with a larger firm. Some broker associates pay a flat fee to their employing firm or broker, while others earn a percentage of each transaction.
A dual agent represents both the buyer and the seller in the same transaction. If you choose to work with a dual agent, they will also represent the party you are negotiating with. However, it’s important to note that dual agency is not legal in all 50 states, so you should check if this option is available in your case.
Transaction Agent / Transaction Coordinator
In states where dual agency is not allowed, listing agents may choose to act as transaction agents. As transaction agents, they do not represent either party but instead facilitate the transaction. They assist in processing the administrative items for a real estate transaction, including gathering and sorting paperwork, opening an escrow account, ensuring contingencies are met, and managing timelines.
Understanding the roles of different real estate experts is essential when navigating the Silicon Valley real estate market. From real estate agents and brokers to listing agents and buyer’s agents, each professional plays a crucial role in the buying and selling process. Whether you’re a buyer or a seller, knowing the responsibilities of these experts can help you make more informed decisions and ensure a smooth real estate transaction in Silicon Valley.