Here are a few facts to help you decide. We'll start off with some consumers who see a Realtor as the big bad wolf just waiting to take all the change out of their pockets.
No matter how you view it, the facts are: Realtors do not get paid until the transaction goes to settlement. The commission stays the same no matter how many hours, negotiations, paperwork, calls, e-mail, setbacks, advertising, hand holding and sweating the Realtor does.
Hours: For one client alone, the hours begin with the first meeting and signing the appropriate forms.
This can sometimes take two hours after explaining the paperwork, and if a buyer is the client -- there is the building of rapport and also some idea of what the buyers needs are. Arriving at whether or not they are pre-approved and if not, do they need help with a lender. Then comes the task of assigning the right lender and if they have funds for a conventional loan or do they need FHA assistance. Hours are assigned to searches for homes that will interest the buyer.
If the client is a Seller, the Realtor may be going through an interview. This is the same as positioning for employment. Because of the internet, many consumers are aware they have the right to examine more than one agent's credentials. The agent has to show that he can meet the needs of the client with the products that he presents. The marketing plans are an essential part of that presentation. Here again there is a time for building rapport and if the agent is engaged, more forms will be completed.
Calls: These are made when certain issues arise and whether or not they can be resolved.
E-Mails: To keep the client abreast of progress on the sale of a home or finding a home suitable for the client's needs.
Negotiations: This is the one where the Realtor is worth his or her salt. A lot goes into that word; it is not limited to the strategy used by an attorney in winning a case. So many issues can arise when initiating a contract that they would be too mumerous to mention here. When the client walks away happy, the Realtor has successfully completed the terms.
Advertising: Your Realtor has to spend the time to make sure a home has the exposure neccessary to get sold. For the buyer, the Realtor scans every option out there and this means the Ads that come through e-mail and other sources that will give his client the best choice possible.
As far as handholding goes, this is the great relationship that develops between the Realtor and the client. In the end, the client truly realizes what he paid for and does not have any further doubts.