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Loan Officer Vs. Real Estate Agent

What is a loan officer and how does their work compare to being a real estate agent? Continue reading to explore these careers, the typical duties loan officers and real estate agents perform and how much these professionals earn.

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Comparing Loan Officers to Real Estate Agents

Loan officers work in the financial industry while real estate agents, also known as real estate sales agents, work in sales. Loan officers require more formal postsecondary training, earn a notably higher salary than real estate agents and currently have better job prospects due to a faster job growth rate.

Job Title Educational Requirements Median Salary (2016)* Job Outlook (2016-2026)*
Loan Officers Bachelor's degree $63,650 11%
Real Estate Agents Postsecondary training and license $44,090 6%

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

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Responsibilities of Loan Officers vs. Real Estate Agents

Loan officers and real estate agents may both be involved with seeking clients and promoting their services. However, loan officers focus their time talking to clients about their financial needs, their income and other relevant data. While real estate agents must get a sense of their clients' property needs so that they can effectively sell their property or help them buy another property. Moreover, loan officers evaluate financial data to determine how great a risk it would be to lend a client money. On the other hand, real estate agents concentrate on finding ways to interest people in purchasing properties and answer questions about listings. But paperwork is a part of both professions since loan officers process applications and real estate agents deal with contracts.

Loan Officers

Loan officers decide who their institution will lend money to. They may work for banks or be employed by specific types of businesses, such as car dealerships. Some loan officers may travel outside their office to meet clients. Attention to detail is very important since they must carefully consider all relevant information so that they can make sound business decisions. They may specialize in a specific area, such as commercial or consumer loans or collections.

Job responsibilities of a loan officer include:

  • Soliciting clients
  • Providing information about loan options
  • Helping clients complete applications
  • Verifying information
  • Determining whether or not to offer a loan

Real Estate Agents

Real estate agents primarily assist clients through the process of buying or selling a property. While they perform some of their duties in an office, they spend a great deal of time traveling to different listings. Long hours are common and it's normal for real estate agents to work evenings and weekends. Real estate agents must have strong business skills and need interpersonal skills to develop a good rapport with clients. After gaining practical experience with further training they can pursue their broker's license, which can result in a significant salary increase.

Job responsibilities of a real estate agent include:

  • Compiling information about properties they're listing
  • Handling rental contracts for properties
  • Showing homes or businesses to potential buyers
  • Negotiating the terms of sale
  • Producing contracts

Related Careers

Aspiring loan officers may also be interested in becoming personal bankers since they also work with people's finances. Another option for those considering a career in real estate is to become a commercial property manager since they perform many of the same tasks that real estate agents perform.

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