The Hidden World of Real Estate Agents: What Lies Beneath the Surface

Reblogger Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty
Real Estate Agent with Front Gate Real Estate Broker 11085

The title of this post was intriguing, so I had to see what Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets had to say. The public is mostly unaware of what goes on behind the scenes, and I for one appreciate what he has to say. Thanks also to the input from the gang in the ActiveRain Q&A Section.

Original content by Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets CA BRE# 01261476

What Very Few Know About What Real Estate Agents Do for You

Recently, William Piotrowski posed an insightful question in our Q&A forum:
"What's the one thing you wish the public—clients and new agents
—knew about being a real estate agent?"
The responses from seasoned professionals shed light
on some of the lesser-known aspects of the real estate profession.
(The unedited answers can be found in the Q&A link above).

Here are some key insights they shared:

It's Not Just a Job, It's a Business:

  • Getting a real estate license means you are not just employed; you've opened a business. This requires managing marketing, client relations, accounting, and continuous education.

Referrals Matter:

  • A referred agent is typically a better choice than a random selection. These agents have proven their worth and are trusted by those who refer them. Somebody is putting their name to this agent they are referring you for a reason.

Specialization and Expertise:

  • Real estate agents are not commodities. Each agent brings a unique set of skills and expertise. Discount agents often compromise on quality for speed, leading to self-serving advice, poor results and frustrating experiences. This often translates to lost profits and bad service for clients.

No Salary Until Closing:

  • Agents only get paid when a deal closes. Despite this, many people think agents draw a salary. Most agents only get 65% or less of the commission they earn. They also incur significant out-of-pocket expenses before being reimbursed, if at all. They lose money when a deal does not close, which is one reason the failure rate in real estate is approaching 85%.

Behind-the-Scenes Work:

  • There is a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work involved in settling or closing a property. This includes coordinating inspections, negotiating repairs, managing paperwork, and ensuring compliance with legal requirements. This invisible labor makes many think agents are interchangeable, but it is what often determines a successful transaction.

Local Expertise:

  • An experienced agent connected to a neighborhood is incredibly valuable. Real estate is intensely local, and hiring an out-of-area agent can hinder the potential of your transaction. Local agents know the market trends, neighborhood specifics, and have local connections that can be crucial.

Legal Protection:

  • Real estate agents protect clients from numerous legal hazards. They ensure that all contracts are properly executed and that all disclosures are made, safeguarding clients from potential legal issues.

Education, Ethics, and Experience:

  • These three pillars are critical in real estate. The right agent provides good advice, fair treatment, and honesty. They are continuously educating themselves to better serve their clients. The top 5% of agents, like me, are even professionally coached for accountability and growth, ensuring they are always improving and never resting on their laurels.

It's Not as Easy or Glamorous as It Seems:

  • Many clients believe real estate is an easy job that pays well. It involves long hours, constant education, and an elevated level of expertise. The perception of ease and glamour is far from the day-to-day reality of hard work and dedication. I have had (many) interns quit because they said it was either “too boring” or “too hard.” Real estate is not all HGTV glamour; it is more like trying to assemble IKEA furniture with missing instructions. Sure, it looks easy on TV, but behind the scenes, it is a lot of sweat, improvisation, and praying you do not end up with extra parts!

The Real Cost of Being an Agent

The public often overlooks the real cost of being an agent. From marketing expenses and professional dues to ongoing education and technology costs, the financial burden can be significant. Agents invest heavily in their business to provide top-notch service. Not to mention the toll it takes on your personal time & family without setting proper boundaries, (which are under constant attack by impatient agents and demanding clients).

Why Choose the Right Agent

Choosing the right agent can make all the difference. An experienced, ethical, and well-connected agent can maximize your profits, minimize your risks, and ensure a smooth transaction. On the other hand, opting for the cheapest option can lead to a host of problems and cost you more. If you think hiring a professional is expensive, wait till you experience the cost of hiring an amateur!

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, real estate agents do far more than what meets the eye. They are business owners, local experts, legal protectors, and unwavering professionals who work tirelessly to serve their clients. The next time you think about buying or selling a home, remember the value of having a qualified, experienced REALTOR® by your side.

By understanding these often-overlooked aspects, you can make more informed decisions and appreciate the immense value that a resolute real estate agent brings to the table. In San Diego, CA I’m never too busy to serve you or your referrals! For your out of area needs I am connected to quality agents I personally know in every major city of the US and Canada. How is this possible, you ask? 25 years+ of coaching and training with them!




Cover Photo: by Zhanargul Kulmagambetova - Pixabay
Photo 2 by Mohamad Hassan Pixabay
Photo 3 by Sammy Sander pixabay

Thomas J. Nelson
REALTOR®, CRS, RCS-D, CDPE, e-Pro, Certified Military Home Specialist, Luxury Home Specialist, Author, Keynote Speaker and  Podcast Host 

Serving Coastal San Diego from Carlsbad to Coronado, Downtown, Balboa Park Area,
La Jolla/UCSD & Mission Bay Park Areas
I Offer Rebates to Veterans
& Active Duty

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RCS-Divorce     Southern California Chapter of Certified Residential Specialists (CRS)

Disclaimer:  Nothing in this blog article is to be construed as legal advice, tax advice, medical advice or financial advice.  For legal advice see an attorney.   For tax advice, health or financial advice see a tax attorney, certified public accountant, or other qualified professional.


Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

Hello Pat and great re blog by you and Dennis Neal re blogging it also.  I was going to re blog this one also.  Good Job

Jun 15, 2024 09:46 AM
Dennis Neal
RE/MAX, Big Bear - Big Bear Lake, CA
Your Home Sold in 21 Days or We Sell It For Free

Hi, Pat. This post was certainly worthy of a re-blog. Thank you for sharing. Have a fantastic weekend.

Jun 15, 2024 09:51 AM
Ed Silva, 203-206-0754
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

This well worthy of a re-blog and defines the reality of being a real estate professional. As such, the pro does their job and makes it look effortless and that comes from experience.

Jun 15, 2024 10:25 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
CEO of Vision Drive Realty - Coastal San Diego

Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty wow thank yo so much for the re-post! I'm flattered and appreciate it.

Jun 15, 2024 02:19 PM
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Pat Starnes-Front Gate Realty anyone looking to make quick easy money needs to consider a profession other than Real Estate.  It can be very rewarding, but it takes hard work and many hours, without the guarantee of a paycheck.

Jun 15, 2024 03:44 PM
Roy Kelley
Retired - Gaithersburg, MD

Thank you very much, Pat, for sharing this excellent reblog selection.

Jun 16, 2024 11:47 AM