Things Your Real Estate Agent Wishes You Knew
There’s a lot of misconceptions about the life of a real estate agent. From the outside it can appear as if it’s all fun and games; flexible hours, fancy cars, large incomes, and an easy job. The reality is a lot more complicated. Here’s just a few things that your real estate agent likely wishes you knew about them.
First and foremost, all realtors are not rich! According to the National Association of Realtors 2015 Member Profile, the average gross member income in 2014 fell to $45,800. Another thing that most folks don’t know is that the real estate agent does NOT actually get paid any money at closing. Technically, it’s only the broker who gets paid who then pays the agent. The amount the broker pays the agent is the gross commission minus brokerage splits, team splits, desk fees, transaction fees, marketing fees, assistants, etc. Additionally, real estate agents are independent contractors. Independent contractors are essentially small business owners and solely responsible for self-employment taxes, health insurance benefits, 401ks, and all marketing/business related expenses. It can all add up pretty quick and that’s why many agents need to sell a large quantity to provide for their family.
It’s not a walk in the park either. There are certainly parts that are fun about the job. The part of the job that’s likely the most enjoyable and the most visible is the showing of homes. However, your real estate agent wishes you knew that a big majority of their job starts after a ratified contract. Not only can that be the more time consuming part of the job, it can also be the hardest part of the job if anything goes awry. Much of this part of the job goes unnoticed and likely unappreciated.
Your phone calls and emails to your agent do not bother them! Most buyers are overly concerned that they will bother their agent by calling them and asking about a specific property. Instead, they’ll pick up the phone and call the number on the sign. Whether it’s a home, piece of land, for sale by owner, or just a home that you really like…if you are working with an agent who is committed to you, it is not a bother. There are no office hours in the life of a real estate agent and if they’re able to take your call, they will. If they are not available, they certainly appreciate the dedication to them as a professional and will return your call at their next available opportunity. Contacting other agents first may leave your agent behind unknowingly.
Although you will never be a bother to your real estate agent, they do (likely) have a family and/or a social life beyond real estate. The nature of the business is filled with evening and weekend appointments. However, it’s important to utilize those appointment times carefully. Driving by the potential properties prior to scheduling will ensure that they make the cut and honor the time given. It’s also best to schedule your showing time several days in advance. The specific homes can typically be scheduled 24 hours in advance but it’s helpful to have a general timeframe blocked out and ready for you.
One of the last things your real estate agent wishes you knew is that the internet does not know everything. There’s more art than science when it comes to estimating the value of a home and often times the predicting algorithm of Internet sites can not account for top selling features. They also can not deduct for unique characteristics like being on a busy road, devastating topography, neighboring interstates, lacking of backyard spaces, and others. Real estate agents are professionals chocked full of experience, continuous education, and real life knowledge of why and how local properties were sold. Even still, realtors may also not know everything. However, they have been through this process many times before and their advice is worthy of your attention.
Good real estate agents rely on having happy clients who will refer them to others down the road. They can not afford a messy transaction to sour their reputation. With that being said, the preceding tips will allow for a nice and smooth transaction for all parties. Realtors are not all rich, the work is not always easy, you will not bother them with phone calls, they appreciate you respecting their time, although they may not know everything they may know more than the Internet. Give them the benefit of the doubt and you’ll be surprised what an enjoyable experience it can be!