Excerpts from a real estate article published by Craig Donofrio.
Have you ever wondered what on Earth your real estate agent is doing behind your back?
No, we don’t mean anything underhanded, naughty, or downright felonious—far from it, in fact. So relax. What we’re talking about is a mystery: In the sometimes confusing, occasionally hectic, and always stressful world of buying and selling, what are your agents really doing behind the scenes?
We’re here to shed some light! For every hour an agent spends in your presence, he or she will spend an average of nine hours out of eyesight working on your behalf. Why? Because agents don’t get paid if they don’t close the deal! Unlike lawyers who bill by the hour, agents won’t receive a penny until (or unless) a sale comes through. It’s all a gamble, in which they could shoot snake eyes and come away empty-handed. This is the business.
So if you’re wondering what agents do to earn their paycheck, we’ve compiled a list of things they do when you’re not watching (or should be doing—if they’re not, maybe you need a different agent!).
They shop property online
Don’t we all? And yet, their real estate research goes beyond oohing and ahhing over a few photos on a Saturday night. Your Realtor spends about two hours each day researching potential properties.
Listings come and go fast in the real estate world, so agents need to check their multiple listing service database constantly, or else they’ll miss out. Sometimes the process of matching up properties with clients can take a very long time.
They go prospecting
Of course, there’s nothing like seeing a house in all its brick-and-mortar glory, which is why most Realtors worth their salt spend tons of time driving around checking out new listings
They attend pitch sessions
Agents don’t spend all their time sizing up homes. they also spend tons of face time with other pros at pitch sessions—gatherings of local agents at cafes where they swap listing info in order to spread the word about your property if you’re selling, or to find the house that checks every box on your wish list if you’re buying.
They spend their own money on marketing
In addition to not getting paid until a deal is done, selling agents also spend their own money on marketing: magazine and newspaper ads, fliers, hiring a photographer, glossy prints, and premium placements on listing sites.
They write up offers and counteroffers
Offers and counteroffers are an extremely important part of the transaction, as they can save or net you thousands of dollars on a sale. Yet getting to the right price requires written offers and counteroffers every step of the way.
They stick around for inspections
You might not be present when it’s inspection time, but a good agent will be. This gives the agent an immediate knowledge of what’s going on. Anything from termites to an iffy foundation can be relayed to the buyer immediately. Inspections take roughly two hours
They smooth bumps in the road
Not every sale goes smoothly—buyers and sellers get difficult all the time—but good agents try to shield their clients from the high drama unless there’s a reason to fill them in. It’s just fixing issues that a lot of times buyers and sellers never needed to be made aware of.
They keep you calm when the pressure’s on
Good agents don’t just hand you a house. They can also act as a therapist, making your sale much less stressful.
This article has been first published in the Realtor magazine.