When most people think of real estate, they think of the typical scenario of an agent handing a young family the keys to their new home. While this is a scenario that plays out every day in the United States, it only shows just one of the many facets of the real estate business. There are many different types of real estate companies, especially when you add related fields like appraisers, lenders and inspectors to the mix. However, real estate companies are usually defined as those companies that facilitate the selection, buying and selling of real estate.
This is the type that is best associated with real estate. Brokers, agents and realtors work together with home buyers and sellers in the sale and purchase of new and resold private homes. This is where the bulk of real estate transactions occurs. There are sub-specialists who work with only buyers, sellers, seniors, first-time home buyers, relocations and the like.
This type of real estate company works with businesses to identify, purchase or sell property and land that is used for commercial purposes. This can include offices, retail, restaurant and light industrial properties. Commercial real estate deals are a lot more involved and take much longer than residential deals. Many brokers and agents are not only involved in identifying a property, but also in assisting with zoning, development, permitting, financing and feasibility studies.
This is a distinct subset of commercial property that requires a set of knowledge, skills and relationships that is more specialized than with regular commercial properties. The typical client has to not only find the right geographical location, but also needs to find a locale that offers the right labor pool, tax structure, regulatory environment and governmental relationship. The brokers and agents who work with this kind of client have to be able to smooth the way for the client and gain the approval of the buyer, seller, local government, state government and community leaders.
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This type of real estate brokerage specializes in working with single investors and investment groups. They help their clients find income-producing properties like rental homes, apartment buildings and retail centers like strip malls. They must know the area around the property, the past and future return on investment, and how the property compares to others in the area. They also sell these properties and utilize networking and personal and business relationships to generate quick sales for clients.
Some brokers focus on managing rental properties for their client/owners. These clients range from individual owners of a single rental home who do not want to be involved in the day-to-day issues of being a landlord to groups that own several homes or an apartment building and who cannot manage on their own without help. These brokers must be experts in landlord/tenant law and are responsible for vetting renters, maintaining the property or properties, securing tenants, and handling all payments and paperwork for the rental or rentals.
These brokers specialize in locating raw land for development by either home builders or commercial clients. They must be experts in the zoning process, and should have a strong network of relationships with other brokers whose clients are in need of raw land. They are also knowledgeable about local governmental regulations and should have good relationships with municipal authorities.