Real estate agents are professionals who help connect buyers with sellers. Many real estate agents also do leasing where they connect the tenant with the landlord and even maintain the property on the landlord’s behalf.
Real estate agents work by connecting the two interested parties and charge a commission for their services. For sales they charge a commission only to the seller but for rentals (i.e. agency managed rentals) the commission is charged to both parties involved in the transaction. Real estate agents generally calculate their fees as a percentage of the selling price (in the case of a sale) and as part of the rent (for a lease).
People who want to sell/let their properties leave their property details with real estate agents (and even leave house keys so real estate agents can arrange to have a look without them getting any hassle). Other interested parties (i.e. buyers/tenants), gain access to this information by contacting real estate agents. That’s how real estate agents become information centers.
Many home seekers (including real estate investors) use the services of real estate agents not only to get good deals but also to get them fast. Since real estate agents are probably most familiar with the market situation in their area of operation, it makes sense to approach them to get an idea of the prevailing property rates in that area. Real estate agents will generally know the prices of various properties of various types and in various locations in the area.
A property seller may be able to get a few thousand more for his property by using the advice received from a good real estate agent. A good real estate agent will also analyze the needs of the home buyer/tenant and provide advice on what types of homes are available to them within their budget.
So a good real estate agent will not only provide buyers/tenants with a list of available properties, but will actually discuss their needs and provide advice. This, in fact, benefits real estate agents in two ways. First, if the real estate agent is able to sell the house, they get a commission and second, if they make the buyer happy too, they get a good reputation (and therefore more business).
However, it should be noted that real estate agents work on behalf of the seller. So, be careful if they try too hard to sell the property.