Many people wonder what does a real estate agent actually does all day. People might think we sit around all day waiting for our phones to ring, non-stop with new clients or if we really do anything special for our buyers and sellers? Or is what you see on HGTV really what a real estate agent does?
In the age of modern technology or being a DIYer, a lot of people often make the mistake of thinking that a real estate agent is an unnecessary expense when buying or selling a home. But assuming that can be a costly mistake, especially if you’re trying to sell your home for sale by owner, which is not as easy as one thinks!
With so many online resources available to people nowadays it does make it possible to handle some of the work involved in a real estate transaction without the help of a realtor, but those online resources are not a replacement for a true real estate professional.
To get the best possible outcome in any real estate transaction when there could be hundreds of thousands of dollars or more on the line, you need to work with a real estate agent who is experienced. The first thing you should know is that there is a difference between a Real Estate agent, a Realtor, and a broker. However, these terms get used interchangeably all the time but have distinct differences.
Choosing the right real estate agent to work can really be dependent upon whether you’re a buyer or seller. The reason being is that both processes are different. Some agents are much better at facilitating one side of the real estate transaction than the other. For instance, a Buyer’s agent might have a different skill set than the seller’s agent and vice versa.
So, let’s dive in and take a look at what real estate agents and Realtors do for their buyers and sellers to better understand why it is worth hiring the right real estate agent the first time.
What do Real Estate Agents Do for You?
We’ll Start Off With What A Buyer’s Agent Does For Their Buyer.
There is a serious distinction that needs to be made about a true buyer’s agents and an agent who is just looking to make a sale. The best buyer’s agents truly care about only one thing and one thing only, which is their buyer’s best interests! There are many reasons it’s good to have a buyer’s agent representing you when purchasing a house.
1. Get you pre-approved for a loan.
A top-notch real estate agent will have a network of lenders, that they can refer you to so that you can start the most important step of the home buying process, which is getting a pre-approval letter from a lender There’s no doubt, you’ll want to be pre-approved, especially when you’re in a competitive real estate market like we have in Southwest Florida. There is a couple of reason you want to have your pre-approval letter ready before you start shopping for a home, one reason is that you’ll know exactly what your price range is for your new home, along with an estimated monthly mortgage payment amount, another great reason to have your pre-approval letter is, so that when you do find that perfect home in Southwest Florida, you are ready to make an offer right away, because typically here in Florida, listing agents are going to want a pre-approval letter submitted with your offer.
2. Will Show You Homes That Fit Your Needs.
Looking for a new home can exhausting & stressful even when everything goes smoothly. A top REALTOR® can narrow down your home search that will save you time and energy by asking you detailed questions to help you find exactly what you want in your new home. They will be able to help you focus on the right property type, location, neighborhood, school district, and more.
It will still take time and energy to shop for the right home, however, a lot of that time and energy will now be your Realtors. Showing a potential buyer a home they like is one of the least important tasks for a real estate agent.
3. Negotiating Your Offer.
When you do find that perfect home that you want, which will be the one that really excites you after seeing it in person, it will be time to make an offer. However, should you be offering? Trying to make a low ball offer isn’t a smart idea, and the reason is, is that it will probably be ignored or upset the seller, who may reject any further offers you might submit to them.
On the other hand, you don’t want to offer too much either, as no one wants to spend more money than they have to when purchasing a home or anything for that matter. So, a good real estate agent will run comparable sales in the area of the home you want to submit an offer on and give you guidance as to what your offer should be.
4. Find The Right Home Inspector.
With anything, there are some things that are better than others and that is still true with home inspectors. A top real estate agent will know who are the best home inspectors in your area and can connect you with them. It’s very important that you have the home inspected before you continue with purchasing so that you avoid purchasing a money pit.
A top real estate agent will encourage you to get the home inspected using a reputable inspector that you can depend on. After the home inspection, your agent will help you decide if you need additional inspections, like mold or Chinese drywall or septic inspection .
5. Attend Your home inspection.
Even Home inspectors can sometimes miss a problem, so that’s why you want to have a set of second eyes there. The best REALTORS® who are truly focused on representing their buyer’s best interests to the fullest will be there during the home inspection to make sure everything goes as it should. They will also be there for you to explain the results of the home inspection.
There are times when buyers can really struggle with knowing what problems are worth stressing over and which ones are not. A top real estate agent will go over your inspection report with you to help you decide which issues are the ones you need to most concerned with.
6. Help You Negotiate Repair Requests.
Sometimes, there will be issues that you’ll find through the home inspection that you might have to discuss with the seller. Your real estate agent will be able to tell exactly what problems you need should bring up for negotiations and will be able to handle the renegotiation process for you.
Some common ways to negotiate repairs is for the seller to reduce the sale price of the, make the necessary repairs requested, issue a credit at closing for the repairs, which then you’ll be able to select your own trusted contractor or some other seller concession that is justified due to the problems with the home. Renegotiating after the inspection due to issues found on the inspection report is pretty common, and you’ll want to have someone who is skilled at doing it.
7. Communicating with the seller’s agent & title company throughout the process.
Things are always changing during a real estate transaction. Each time something changes it’s extremely important that everyone involved in the transaction is made aware of the change so that everyone is on the same page and can take the necessary steps to correct an issue if it comes up. A great real estate agent will keep up open lines of communication between all the parties to keep the transaction moving along.
This is where impeccable communication skills is one of the telltale signs of an excellent agent, whether they are representing a buyer or seller in the real estate transaction.
8. Monitor your loan commitment with your lender.
A highly skilled real estate agent knows that just as easy as it was to get a mortgage loan pre-approval, it’s just as easy to get that mortgage loan pre-approval taken away. Mortgage pre-approvals are based off of your financial situation when you submitted your initial application to your lender, and any major financial changes you make after that can cause the loan to fall through. No one wants this to happen to you, so a great agent will keep track of your mortgage for you and advise you on how to protect your approval. Some common mistakes that buyer’s make, during the loan process is opening new lines of credit, employment changes, refinancing an auto loan, which will adversely affect your credit score and could potentially now get your mortgage loan denied
Another important step is your mortgage commitment date it’s a very important date that’s in your contract and you want to make sure a mortgage commitment is given by your lender by this date. If a mortgage commitment isn’t received by your lender, your buyer’s agent better be on the phone, getting you an extension from the seller. Because you could lose the house and your escrow deposit. Again, something no one wants to happen.
9. Clear Up Any Final Details Prior To Closing.
Prior to closing, there are still some details that need to be addressed before finalizing a closing. You’ll enough stuff going on prior to closing on your new home, so it’s important that your real estate agent is there for you to make sure that all of the remaining details are taken care of, so you can close on your new home without any issues.
One of the most important steps prior to closing is doing a final walkthrough of the home, the reason you do a final walkthrough is to make sure the home is in the same condition as it was when you made your initial offer. However, there is something that does cause a problem, your real estate agent will be there to advise you on how you should move forward with the transaction.
What Exactly Do Real Estate Agents Do For Sellers?
Like the buyer’s agent, the seller’s agents have their own goals, one of which is doing whatever is best for the sellers and the obvious goal of getting the sellers home sold. So, what exactly does a seller’s agent do?
1. Prices your home correctly based on the current market conditions.
I cannot stress this enough, the most important job that a seller’s agent can do is pricing the home correctly. Again, I cannot stress it enough how important it is to price your home correctly at the beginning of your listing agreement with an agent. Many sellers think that if they price the home high, that they can just come back and reduce the listing price. While you can do that, the harsh reality is that by lowering the price of your home while it's listed can change the way buyers & Realtors® perceive the property.
Buyers will get the misconception that if you couldn’t sell your home at the original list price you set, that it means there is something is wrong with the home. More often than not, if you set the price too high initially you’ll have to reduce continually to sell it, and you’ll end up having to go lower and lower in price to get a buyer, which could end up with you having a lower price than if you would have had priced correctly in the beginning.
A local & knowledgeable real estate agent will carefully suggest a list price to be competitive in the current market based on similar home sales in your area. By having the expertise & knowledge of a great agent to price your home correctly is often worth more than the commission you will pay on the property.
2. Marketing your property like no other.
Marketing a home is the next most important skill a real estate agent offers sellers. Marketing a real estate listing requires a lot more than just listing the house in the MLS and putting a sign in the yard. You need to get the property prepared, take excellent photos, write a captivating marketing description of the home, let people know about the home through the MLS, which is where Realtors® input your home and start marketing the home to other Realtors®, adding your home to other real estate sites, where buyers are looking for homes, run social media advertisements, and good old fashion word of mouth, along with showing the home as well to potential buyers.
The best real estate agent will have an extensive marketing plan to get your home sold, which cannot be duplicated by anyone but another real estate professional.
3. Be Wary Of Agents With Gimmicks
Sadly, real estate agents are a dime a dozen and if you pick the wrong agent, they could lure you into one of these common practices where the real benefits of listing your home are solely with them and not you.
Two of the Biggest Gimmicks Right Now:
- The “Guaranteed Home Sale” – Some agents will say, “I will sell your house in X amount of days” which is a gimmick used by some agents to get you to list your home with them. Once they don’t sell your house, they offer you pennies on the dollar for your home
- The “Zero Commission” - Some agents will offer, “Zero Commission” if they can’t sell your home in 60 days. Sounds Great, doesn’t it! However, the agents who use this gimmick, will have you sign a separate contract, that basically gives them full control over what happens during those 60 days, and if the agent suggests you paint your home, make repairs or updates and you don’t, the “Zero Commission” no longer applies to the sale of your home, because you are in breach of the “ Zero Commission” contract they had you sign.
4. Keep In Communication With You.
Just like most sellers, you have obligations in life that probably occupy most of your time. However, just because you’re busy and on the go that doesn’t mean you don’t know what’s happening with the sales of your home.
A great real estate agent will always keep you up to date about what is going on with the sale of your home. A great agent will share all the feedback from showings, which will be a regular part of the process.
One of the best things about having a top real estate agent is that you can trust that they will keep you up to date as needed so that you are always in the loop and will be able to make informed decisions and not get overwhelmed
5. Make sure that buyers are qualified.
Anybody can say they want to buy a house. However, not everyone is qualified to buy your property. So, to find the buyer’s who are truly interested in your property, your agent needs to look for those that have been pre-approved for a mortgage.
The Pre-approval process is a little challenging at first, because you basically go through the entire process of getting a mortgage. However, once a buyer has received their pre-approval, it generally means that there shouldn’t be any problem with the buyer being able to purchase your home if nothing changes with their finances.
Again, your real estate agent should be there to make sure that pre-approved buyers are the only ones that are viewing your home & submitting offers, so you don’t waste your time with people that cannot buy the home.
6. Negotiating the best terms.
Top real estate agents want to get you the best terms for your home sale. After all, it’s what they are paid to do. Top real estate agents are skilled in negotiations because it’s something they do every day for multiple clients. When it’s time to go to the negotiating table, you’ll want a skilled negotiator there on your side. Your real estate agent is there to make sure that you’re getting the best possible terms for your home sale.
Like every seller, you want as much money as possible for the sale of your home. However, there might be other terms that are equally important, like a quick closing if you have to relocate for work. Your real estate agent will be familiar with your needs and will be there to ensure that those needs are met through the transaction.
7. Be Present For The Buyer’s Home Inspection
The home inspection will provide the hard facts about the state of your home, which are going to be the basis for negotiations moving forward. You’ll want to have your real estate agent there at the inspection who is representing your interests.
The reason you want your real estate agent there is, so they can follow along throughout the home inspection so that they know exactly what the state of your home is, and will be ready for the potential issues that the buyer may bring up when trying to negotiate repairs. Also, your agent will be able to push back on the buyer’s agent, if the buyer’s agent exaggerates the importance of the problems in the negotiations.
There are plenty of real estate agents who like to make excuses on why they will not attend the home inspection. If you someone who is working for you isn’t in there, it will be impossible to able to determine what is a real issue and what isn’t. More often then not, a home inspector’s report will overstate simple problems causing a home buyer to ask for everything under the sun.
8. Be There For The Home Appraisal.
During the sales process, there is another major event that can severely impact your home sale, and that’s the appraisal. You want to have your agent there when the appraiser comes out to view your home, as they may have questions about your home that need to be answered for them to give your home a proper valuation.
A good example is if the appraiser needs to know about any significant updates that you have made to your home, like having a septic tank replaced or a new roof, and so on, so if your real estate agent is there they can provide that information to them. Information like that can have a big impact on the final appraised value of your home.
9. Tie up and solve any remaining issues for the closing.
There are a lot of little details that must be taken care of to close on the sale of a home. Your REALTOR® should take care of all those last-minute loose ends so that you don’t have to worry about them or have to worry about a surprise in a way that could disrupt the closing.
10. Getting the best sales price for your home.
A real estate agent that knows the local real estate market where your home is located will know the value of your home and is the best asset you have on your side negotiating on your behalf. In real estate, there are no guarantees about how things will turn out in the end, but with the right real estate agent, you can stack the odds in your favor to get the best possible price.
Final thoughts on what real estate agents do for their Buyers & Sellers.
One of the best descriptions of a true real estate professional is a problem solver. The most highly skilled agents will work tirelessly for their buyers & sellers. What you see on HGTV, compared to the real version of what a real estate agent goes far beyond just showing a couple of beautiful homes and then collecting a commission check. The best real estate agents wear multiple hats during the transaction of a home sale and could also be described as the below terms.
- Social media marketer
- Jack of all trades
- Miracle worker
Hopefully, after reading this article you have a better understanding of what a real estate agent does all day. Hopefully, you can better appreciate the work that is put in by those who are at the top of their game when it comes to real estate agents.