5 Types of Real Estate Agents

There are several types of real estate agents—each with unique responsibilities and specializations. These include listing agents who sell homes, buyer’s agents who help people purchase real estate, and dual agents who act as the listing agent and buyer’s agent. Additionally, a listing agent may become a transaction agent when writing an offer for an unrepresented buyer. Agents may also join the National Association of Realtors to earn the Realtor designation.

The five major types of real estate agents are:

Listing Agent

A listing agent is an agent who represents a homeowner in the sale of their home. Listing agents, therefore, have a duty to represent their seller’s best interests and get them the best possible contract terms. In cases where the buyer does not have their own agent, a listing agent can become a dual agent or, in some states, a transactional agent. See below for more information on these roles.

Buyer’s Agent

In contrast to a listing agent, a buyer’s agent represents homebuyers in their search for and purchase of a home. For that reason, buyer’s agents are invested in their client’s interest throughout the entire buying process; they must put the buyer’s priorities ahead of the seller’s. As part of this responsibility, a buyer’s agent helps purchasers negotiate the best possible price for real estate and assists them through due diligence and closing.

Dual Agent

A dual agent is one who represents both the buyer and the seller in a real estate transaction. Dual agency can also arise when the listing agent and the buyer’s agent work for the same real estate broker; this is because it is the broker who defines the agent relationship to the client. However, dual agency is not legal in all states and can cause conflicts of interest. For that reason, many home buyers and sellers use an exclusive agent who will represent only their interests.

Transaction Agent

When a buyer is not represented by their own exclusive agent, the listing agent may have to write an offer for them. In states where dual agency is not legal, a listing agent can elect to become a transaction agent. Under these circumstances, the agent doesn’t represent the buyer or the seller and, instead, acts as an impartial facilitator throughout the transaction.


Real estate agents and brokers can earn the Realtor designation by joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR). Generally, this requires agreeing to and abiding by the NAR’s Code of Ethics and paying annual dues. As part of their NAR membership, Realtors gain access to discounts, educational materials, and other career development resources. However, they do not have any legal privileges or rights beyond those of a licensed agent.

Four Types of Real Estate

There are four types of real estate:

  1. Residential real estate includes both new construction and resale homes. The most common category is single-family homes. There are also condominiums, co-ops, townhouses, duplexes, triple-deckers, quadplexes, high-value homes, multi-generational and vacation homes.
  2. Commercial real estate includes shopping centers and strip malls, medical and educational buildings, hotels and offices. Apartment buildings are often considered commercial, even though they are used for residences. That’s because they are owned to produce income.
  3. Industrial real estate includes manufacturing buildings and property, as well as warehouses. The buildings can be used for research, production, storage, and distribution of goods. Some buildings that distribute goods are considered commercial real estate. The classification is important because the zoning, construction, and sales are handled differently.
  4. Land includes vacant land, working farms, and ranches. The subcategories within vacant land include undeveloped, early development or reuse, subdivision and site assembly.2 Here’s more at Land Broker Transactions.

Real Estate Investing

Everyone who buys or sells a home engages in real estate investing. That means you must consider several factors. Will the house rise in value while you live in it? If you get a mortgage, how will future interest rates and taxes affect you?   

Many people do so well with investing in their homes they want to buy and sell homes as a business. There are many ways to do that. First, you can flip a house. That’s where you buy a house to improve then sell it. Many people own several homes and rent them out. Others use Airbnb as a convenient way to rent out all or part of their homes. You can rent vacation homes using VRBO or Home Away. This is my goal in the next couple years. To start my own business in flipping homes and apartments.

Is it OK to move during Covid-19?

Thousands of Angelenos are likely in the same boat—stuck at home in a house or apartment they were planning to move out of this spring.

Moving companies are classified as essential under LA’s “safer-at-home” order, and many are open for business.

Some people may have no choice but to find a new place of residence, whether because of the end of a lease agreement, a dispute with a partner or roommate, or an unsafe home environment..

The Los Angeles Department of Public Health says that moving is technically “safe,” as long as residents follow best practices for social distancing, cleaning, and disinfecting.

If you are planning a move to or within the Los Angeles area in the near future, here’s what to expect—whether you’re still looking for a new place or trying to move in your things.

How do I view a new house or apartment?

This is frankly going to be a lot trickier if you don’t already have a new residence lined up. Under the city’s revised safer-at-home orderin-person showings for both apartments and homes for sale are prohibited.

Rules for the rest of Los Angeles County are only slightly less restrictive. Countywide, in-person showings are by appointment only and limited to homes that are currently vacant. Only two people—who must already live together—are allowed to tour a unit at once and must stay six feet apart from the person showing the unit.

What We Can Learn From the 2008 Housing Market Crash

People who were caught in the 2008 crash may be spooked that the pandemic will lead to another crash. But the 2008 crash was caused by forces that are no longer present. 

First, insurance companies created credit default swaps that protected investors from losses in derivatives such as mortgage-backed securities.

To meet this demand for mortgages, banks and mortgage brokers offered home loans to just about anyone. They didn’t care about the credit-worthiness of subprime mortgage borrowers. Banks simply resold the mortgages on the secondary market. This created greater risk in the financial markets.

The entrance of so many unqualified buyers into the market sent prices soaring. Many people bought homes only as investments. They exhibited irrational exuberance, a hallmark of any asset bubble.

In 2005, homebuilders finally caught up with demand.18 When supply outpaced demand, housing prices started to fall. New home prices fell 22% from their peak of $262,600 in March 2007 to $204,200 in October 2010. That burst the bubble. 

But the Fed ignored these warnings. The Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission found that the Fed should have set prudent mortgage-lending standards. Instead, it only lowered interest rates. That generally gives the economy enough liquidity to fuel growth.

The Fed underestimated the size and impact of the subprime mortgage crisis in 2006. Many of the subprime purchasers were individual investors, pension funds, and retirement funds. They invested more heavily in hedge funds, spreading the risk throughout the economy.

Events that help you become a better agent!

1. Inman Connect, Las Vegas

Real Estate Conferences

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: July 28 – July 31, 2020
Price: $899

Why You Should Consider This Event:

Inman Connect is a week of engaging speakers on all different topics within the real estate industry. Brad Inman goes all-out to get the heavy hitters of residential real estate; the Inman Connect that took place in New York City this past January featured CEOs of major brokerages, TED Talk alumni, and tech experts from across the field. The Vegas iteration is shaping up to be even bigger and more bombastic, and with so many in the industry flocking to this event, it is a can’t-miss networking opportunity too.

2. Tom Ferry’s Sales Edge

Real Estate Conferences

Location: Miami, Florida | Denver, Colorado | Washington, DC | Minneapolis, Minnesota | St. Louis, Missouri | Seattle, Washington | Raleigh, North Carolina
Date: March – December 2020, depending on location
Price: $199 – $349

Why You Should Consider This Event:

Tom Ferry has been selling and coaching those who sell for almost 30 years, and his conferences are synonymous with great content. The Tom Ferry approach is great for professionals at all spots in their journey, from brand-new agents to seasoned professionals. According to Ferry, “What you say matters,” and at Sales Edge you spend three days listening, learning, and practicing to make your conversations with clients, leads, and people on the street more profitable.

3. NAR Conference and Expo

Real Estate Conferences

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Date: Nov. 13 – Nov. 16, 2020
Price: $450 for the full pass

Why You Should Consider This Event:

This is the premier event sponsored by the National Association of Realtors. There are always a TON of different educational sessions to choose from, so you won’t be lacking for programming options. Also, the expo here features close to 400 vendors, so if you are looking for a solution to a real estate problem that involves paying someone else, this is a good spot to start!

4. Luxury Connect 2020

Real Estate Conferences

Location: Las Vegas, Nevada
Date: July 26 – July 28, 2020
Price: $1,599

Why You Should Consider This Event:

If you are looking for some exclusive luxury learning and networking, this is definitely the event of the year. The high quality that you expect from an Inman event (oh yeah, did we mention, this is another event from Inman Connect founder, Brad Inman?,) but with a focus on the highest end agents. Great for networking with this select crowd, and we’ve heard rumors that there are some spectacular off-site events planned to knock your socks off.

5. NAR Broker Summit

Real Estate Conferences

Location: Los Angeles, California
Date: March 31 – April 1, 2020
Price: $249

Why You Should Consider This Event:

This is a broker-only event, but if you’re a broker, this is the best one out there just for you. Yes, lots of conferences have special sections just for brokers, but this is the only event dedicated to the needs and special interests of those running a real estate shop.

6. Xplode Conference

Real Estate Conferences

Location: Atlanta, Georgia | Raleigh, North Carolina | Joliet, Illinois | Jacksonville, Florida | Davie, Florida | Chicago, Illinois
Date: March – August 2020
Price: $32

Why You Should Consider This Event:

This is a great one-day event with a fantastic price tag. The amount of content and inspiration you get for $32 makes this day well worth your time. Xplode puts on multiple conferences a year, so use the website to find out the date of the event closest to you.

7. Real Estate Success Rocks

Real Estate Conferences

Location: Miami, Florida
Date: Sept. 20 – Sept. 22, 2020
Price: $775

Why You Should Consider This Event:

Though not quite as big as a NAR event or with the flashy production value of Inman Connect, the Real Estate Success Rocks events are packed full of good content from top producers, and their Masterminds sessions that include real participation opportunities for all attendees are top notch.

8. NAR Tech Edge

Real Estate Conferences

Location: Jackson, Mississippi | Tampa, Florida | Baltimore, Maryland | Louisville, Kentucky | Centennial, Colorado | Dallas, Texas | Omaha, Nebraska
Date: March – September 2020
Price: $49

Why You Should Consider This Event:

We love the Tech Edge Events because they are short and sweet, but packed with great content for Realtors who are looking for a boost in the technological end of their business. The sessions are targeted to specific topics designed to improve your day-to-day operations, so you can leave with strategies to use the next day.

9. NAR Legislative Meetings and Expo

Real Estate Conferences

Location: Washington, DC
Date: May 11 – May 16, 2020
Price: Free for NAR Members

Why You Should Consider This Event:

For Realtors who want to take an active role in the direction our organization is headed nationally and politically, this is a must-do. Come be a part of special issue forums, legislative meetings, and a visit to Capitol Hill. To be a voting member of committees, you need to be a designated representative of your association, but anybody can attend and network.

10. Keller Williams Mega Camp

Real Estate Conferences

Brokerage: Keller Williams
Date: Aug. 18 – Aug. 20, 2020
Location: Austin, Texas
Cost: Not Yet Announced

Keller Williams is known throughout the industry as a leader in the training and agent development, and their annual Mega Camp doesn’t disappoint in this regard. This week is broken up into sections on leadership, company culture, interactive mastermind sessions, and of course major speakers like company leader, Gary Keller.

Personality traits of a successful Agent?

10. Problem solver mindset

Many successful real estate agents know how to properly showcase a house to make it more marketable and develop creative MLS listings to attract the right buyers.

9. Self-motivated entrepreneur

Having a desire to control your own professional destiny and be your own boss is a trait shared by top real estate professionals. To be successful in real estate requires a high degree of self-motivation, drive, and smart decision making.

8. Honesty and integrity

Your professional reputation is crucial to a long and successful career in real estate. Becoming a member of the National Association of REALTORS is one way to show you practice high ethical standards. To become a member, you must pledge to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice.

7. Hustle and tenacity

Being a top producing real estate agent requires a great work ethic. You must have the tenacity to pursue every lead and the hustle to aggressively market your clients’ properties in order to have success. It’s not just about putting in a lot of time—it’s about working smart, putting in the right amount of time, and doing whatever is necessary to close the deal.

6. Interest in houses and architecture

Having a true interest in houses and architecture can give you an advantage over other brokers and salespersons. If your knowledge and interest level is apparent in conversations, your clients will see that you care about the industry you’re in.

5. Engaging personality

A good real estate agent doesn’t just sell properties—they sell themselves. It’s important to show your real personality. People will respond to you if you have a great attitude, are personable and honest, have confidence in your abilities, and are interested in helping them and others. 

4. Attention to detail

Paying close attention to the details is imperative for your real estate career. A complete real estate agent is attentive to the unique needs of their individual clients. If you are organized, follow up with leads, communicate well, and pay attention to the needs of your clients, you will close more deals.

3. Understand the local housing market 

A top producing real estate agent appreciates and utilizes the nuances that make a specific community’s housing market and pricing strategy unique. Success comes from identifying and developing a focus or niche in the local real estate market that allows you to distinguish yourself from the competition.

2. Build a network of connections

Successful real estate agents have a vast network of contacts within the market they serve. This list of connections should include other real estate agents and brokers, potential buyers and sellers, and all the other players in the real estate industry, such as appraisers, home inspectors, and mortgage loan officers.

1. Knowledge is power

Staying up-to-date on the latest topics in real estate and in the local market will allow you to service clients more effectively. Continuing education and professional development are doors to opportunity that you can utilize to expand your business options and stay at the forefront of the real estate field.

At the end of the day, you get out of it what you put into it. There is a certain level investment needed (time, energy, and money) to make any business venture successful. Real estate is no different. If you are passionate about real estate and have similar traits to those outlined here, you have a great shot at having a long and successful real estate career.