The work of a real estate agent is not well understood. What is it that we work at everyday?
I was visiting a new brokerage the other day. It was a hive of activity with agents in the boardroom, in training I suppose. Others were at computer terminals likely on some kind of real estate business (discussed below). Some were chatting with each other. It was almost like an office meeting had broken up moments before (maybe five minutes before) I arrived.
It’s funny to say after so many years in real estate that I felt a little out of place. I’ve belonged to brokerages big and small and the level of activity I witnessed there was unusual to say the very least.
More than just host open houses
I was out with a friend for lunch recently. As we broke up, he said, “Well I have to be getting back to work”.
“Me too”, I said.
“You? Really? There aren’t any Open Houses today? What do you have to do”?
It’s funny that for most people only context for seeing real estate agents working is at weekend open houses. They may also see us out showing houses or meet us when we are out prospecting for future clients but there is so much we do every day, every week, every season that most people never see.
So, here are some of the things Realtors do.
Interestingly, I can put our tasks into four main categories. They are:
- Work for buyers
- Work for sellers
- Paperwork/office work
Work for buyers
Many homebuyer get started with the search for a new home without an agent. However, most quickly realize the benefits of working with a Buyer’s Agent. Not only will a great agent help understand great neighbourhoods and homes, your agent will help quickly locate the best homes that match what you are looking for. We work with buyers to help find a suitable mortgage, suggest home inspectors and real estate lawyers and of course negotiate and draft winning offers. There is nothing worse than finding the perfect house and then losing it to another (better prepared) buyer.
Work for sellers
Many realtors will tell you that their main job is listing homes for sale. But listing is only one of the steps of selling homes. We must accurately price the home at the correct market rate. We must help home owners get the homes in their most marketable condition. (This might involve minor repairs and staging). We arrange professional photography and prepare the MLS listing. Once listed, we work with all other agents in our brokerage, real estate board and even out of town agents, communicating information, arranging showings as well as keeping the home owner in the loop with feedback and other updates.
It often seems that the agent is always the next step, the conduit and the communicator. Everything comes to us and gets sent back from us. The communication and coordination ‘paperwork’ not only includes offers and agreements but also emails and texts to clients, agents, lawyers, lenders…every other professional in the buyer-seller agreement chain. We are dealing with very important documents which must be filed in the appropriate places and kept for seven years.
We also have ongoing training and breakage and board meetings to attend on a regular basis.
It sounds very Dilbertesque to say without clients we would have no business, but that is the fact. Realtors spend a few hours every day marketing for clients. This can take many forms. Some agents still ‘farm’ neighbourhoods or around listings with postcards or door knocking. Others spend time on social media. I like to blog and more and more, I like to vlog. Open houses are traditionally a way to market to potential home buyers and neighbourhood home owners who may become home sellers. There are always new and improved ways to market and savvy agents are always trying to get an advantage over the rest.
Conclusion: Very varied
As you can see from the above, there are many things that Realtors do, some everyday, some only on a semi-regular basis. But we certainly do more than list homes and host open houses. (That would be boring).
A day in the life of a real estate agent
Why is real estate marketing all the same?