It seems an easy enough job. As an agent, your friend tells you about someone who is thinking about selling their house. You give them a call, stop in, fill out a few forms. Or you spend the day touring beautiful homes with your friends until they find something they like. A short while later, your friend/customer buys a house and you make a commission that seems like a lot of money. The end. - Not quite!
Most people go to work and spend 40 hours more or less earning their keep. Unless they are on the night shift, they report in the morning and leave late afternoon. They then go home and have dinner with their family or friends, or maybe run errands or shop. They work hard but within the confines of a schedule that allows for some sort of break in their work week.
There is no such thing as a 40-hour work week for a busy Realtor. Real estate agents are on call 24/7. Why do they do this? Because they are trained professionals who know the intricate details of every aspect of buying or selling your home. They appreciate the emotionally satisfying rewards of their chosen profession . . . and, most importantly, they love what they do! Helping someone through the complicated process can, nonetheless, be a lot of time-consuming hard work.
Realtors must successfully complete many hours of classes and continuing education on a number of subjects from marketing to mortgage options. To represent you, they must earn a license and keep it current through required continuing education. Your Realtor must also keep abreast of the subtle changes in the market such as interest rates, new mortgage products and the ever-changing economy.
Because Realtors are self-employed, their out-of-pocket costs include cell phones, long distance calls, computers, web sites, advertising and other marketing tools. In order to travel to and from their listed properties or if they are going to transport potential buyers, they need a dependable vehicle. And then there is the need to pay for or contribute to the cost of an office or desk space. All of this before ever making a sale or earning a commission.
A typical day will include tons of phone calls, some to prospects and some just answering questions, showing property, helping clients through the confusing process of obtaining a loan, explaining the many forms that have to be dealt with, helping a seller with ideas on how to "stage" and market their home, and assisting buyers by finding just the right home at an affordable price. Many agents are also required to do "desk duty" for their broker as part of their shared office responsibilities. This also adds to your Realtor's busy work week.
One of the most valuable services provided is helping with the closing. There are a lot of important documents and you may feel as if you are signing your life away. Your real estate agent will be a valuable part of your team and can help with the process by asking the right questions and making sure that this process goes smoothly. If you have chosen to have your lawyer present, your real estate agent will coordinate the him/her.
Realtors may not know all the answers, but they are experts at knowing who to call. Over the years, they have built a network of helpful people who are placed at your disposal. They usually have a working knowledge of such diverse subjects as building codes, maintenance tips, decorating ideas, current mortgage rates and options plus neighborhood amenities. This is especially valuable whether you are moving cross-country or just changing neighborhoods.
By the time the move is over, a good agent will feel like a part of your family - and hopefully, will remain a friend for life!