Estate agents deal with the buying and selling of real estate and real estate is defined as being land, regardless of as to whether or not that land has any buildings on it. Therefore a real estate agent may be responsible for selling empty parcels of land.
In the real estate business, properties are divided into three different types, residential real estate, commercial real estate and industrial real estate. Although residential real estate will usually mean a piece of land that has either a detached house on it, a semi-detached house, a town house or a block of flats, it can also refer to an empty piece of land that has been designated for residential purposes, meaning that a house can be built on it.
Commercial real estate refers to a piece of land that has shops, hotels, offices or other businesses on it or, once again, an empty piece of land that has been designated as being available for commercial buildings to be built on it. Industrial real estate refers to farms, factories or even mines and may include land that has been designated as suitable for industrial purposes but could also include land suitable for grazing animals.
Although an estate agent may have to know all about all these different types of real estate, it is perhaps more common that a real estate agent will specialize in just one of these categories and in doing so, be able to provide clients with a better understanding of that particular aspect. As there are no academic courses for real estate agents, other than the distance learning courses provided by both the National Federation of Property Professionals (NFoPP) and the National Association of Estate Agents, estate agents are usually trained ‘on the job’ by the agency they work for, it is that agency which will decide which category an agent will specialize in and train them accordingly.
Once trained though, it will be up to the agent themselves to ensure that they are aware of any legal changes to the buying and selling of that particular category of real estate.
It is essential that a real estate agent is fully aware of all the laws regarding the buying and selling of properties as it will be them that provides any relevant paperwork required to make a sale legal and it is also them that will ensure that the completed paperwork, reaches the right places.
An agent that specializes in residential properties may find that they are required to work weekends and holidays whilst specialists in the other two categories do not.
The reason for this is that often the only time potential buyers of residential properties can view houses is on a weekend o holiday whilst commercial and industrial properties are usually viewed during the normal working hours. Obviously the different types of properties may have differing prices but that will not affect an estate agent, unless of course their agency affords them a commission on any sales they make.