Real estate agents help their clients buy, sell, and rent commercial and residential properties. There are also real estate agents that sell industrial and agricultural real estate, but the majority sell residential properties. To become a real estate agent, you must be at least 18 years old, successfully complete real estate courses, and pass a real estate exam. Be sure to check for any required licensing, too. Often real estate agents will earn 5 percent to 6 percent of the total home sale price for their work in representing their client. Typically this commission is split equally between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent. Here is an overview of what a real estate agent does, according to the United States Department of Labor:
- Represent clients who are looking to buy, sell and rent properties.
- Stay knowledgeable about regional real estate prices, mortgages, market conditions and related information, and advise clients accordingly.
- Determine competitive market prices by comparing properties.
- Create and publicize lists of properties for sale, including details such as location and features.
- Market properties through advertisements, open houses and listing services.
- Show prospective buyers or renters properties.
- Present purchase offers to sellers for consideration.
- Mediate negotiations between buyer and seller.
- Ensure that all terms of purchase contracts are met.
- Prepare documents, such as loyalty contracts, purchase agreements and deeds.
When starting a home remodel or new construction project, you will probably hire a general contractor. A general contractor is a professional who is qualified to take a set of building plans and construct them as outlined. The general contractor may help perform the day-to-day building, or they may just hire workers and oversee all the work activities. In either case, the job of the general contractor is to see that your project gets built.
When you have a building project, ask for bids from various contractors. The bids tell you how much each will charge and what their scope of work will be. Once you have selected a bid, you sign a contract with that general contractor outlining the specifics of the project and the milestones during the project when they will receive payment installments. Once the contract is official, the general contractor will bring in their crew to begin construction. The contractor will manage the workers and subcontractors (anyone who doesn’t work directly for their company but that they need to outsource, like a marble installation pro), order all the materials, obtain work permits, and confirm that all the workers and subcontractors are completing their projects as planned. They typically handle all the payments to the workers and subcontractors, and send you invoice. For all these reasons, it’s also especially important to follow a few smart hiring practices when it comes to finding a general contractor. If you are organized and competent to oversee construction projects, and are able to make sure everything is being built properly and meeting code, it’s possible you can be your own general contractor.
Hiring a professional house cleaning service is a helpful way to have a healthy home even when your work and personal schedule is packed. House cleaning prices vary based on how many square feet your home is, how dirty your house gets, and how often the cleaning service comes. Some companies charge a set amount — such as 5 cents — per square foot, with a minimum amount, such as $100. The national average cost for house cleaning ranges between $110 and $150. Prices can be lower in areas with a lower cost of living, higher in big cities or affluent regions. You may save money by increasing the frequency of your house cleaning visits. Often a company will charge you less per cleaning when you schedule more cleanings per month. The cost advantage rewards your loyalty, and also reflects the fact that more frequent cleanings make it easier to maintain a high level of cleanliness in your home. A housecleaning service may charge more for the first visit or for one-time services than for recurring cleanings.
Property management companies manage the rental of residential homes, apartments, condos, commercial spaces and retail spaces. Property managers can oversee just a single unit or many properties, whether those sites are inhabited full-time or are vacation rentals. A property management company helps a property owner or landlord find tenants; collects rent; takes care of accounting, property maintenance and repairs; handles on-site management; and manages vacation rental check-in and checkout tasks. Although many property owners or landlords successfully manage their own rental real estate, a property management company can help you handle tenant issues and maintenance problems, especially if you are not located in the same city or state. Most property management companies deal with tenants directly, and their tasks include:
- Marketing the rental property
- Collecting rent
- Handling repair problems
- Responding to tenant complaints
- Evicting tenants
A property management company may be a good choice for property owners who have several investment properties, live far away from the rental property, or don’t have time for hands-on management.
The licensing requirements for property managers vary from state to state, but many states require property managers to have a real estate broker’s license and in some cases be a legal resident of a state. Property management may not be specified in a state real estate statute, but according to the Institute of Real Estate Management their activities may include advertising the availability of a rental property, discussing a property management agreement with an owner, negotiating leases, showing a rental property and collecting rents.