Today, real estate agents continue to play a vital role in the buying and selling of homes.
While the way they conduct business may change over time, their importance will only continue to grow.
So what exactly does a Realtor do? Let’s take a look.
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What’s It Like To Be A Realtor?
To be a Realtor in today’s real estate industry, you need to be extremely motivated, organized, and skilled in communication.
A Realtor must be able to handle all sorts of requests from home buyers and sellers.
They need to be very organized in order to juggle multiple appointments, listings, properties for sale, and more.
As a Realtor, you also need strong communication skills because this career requires working with people often.
You will spend a lot of time listening to people’s needs, giving them information about the market, and answering questions.
What This Means For The Home Buyer & Seller
Since real estate agents remain an important part of the real estate transaction, this means home buyers and sellers can expect to work with a Realtor throughout their entire journey.
Sellers will work with a Realtor from start to finish as they prepare the home for sale.
Buyers will work with a Realtor when searching for homes, viewing properties, and making an offer.
And when it’s time to contract on a home, both buyers and sellers will work with their Realtor to go over all the paperwork, negotiate repairs, and set up a smooth closing. As you can see, there are many different roles Realtors play.
As a seller, when it comes to hiring a real estate agent, you’ll very likely pay a commission. That means that when you engage the services of a real estate professional, the commission is the price you will pay for their time.
Typically, the Realtor commission rate is going to range between 5-6% of the sales price. For a home that sells for $300,000, this would mean Realtor fees between $15,000 and $18,000.
This is then split 4-ways between the buyer’s agent, buyers’ broker, selling agent, and the selling broker.
To most home sellers, this fee may seem high, however, when we analyze below all the things a Realtor does, it certainly appears to be a small price to pay for real estate services.
Buyers & Sellers Want Results Instantly
On one hand, you have buyers who want to get in and out of the real estate market as quickly as possible with little hassle and without spending too much money; on the other hand, you have home sellers who often can’t wait to cash in on the equity they’ve built up in their homes over time.
This creates a lot of pressure on real estate agents who need to be prepared for whatever steps buyers and sellers want to take next.
In today’s market, both buyers and sellers are impatient and want results quickly. Because this is demanding from everyone involved, Realtors need to have strong communication skills to ensure that everyone on their team is on the same page.
A Realtor’s Job Is Complicated & Misunderstood
Being a Realtor involves many moving pieces and there is no one set way to do something. This can be a blessing and a curse depending on the agent’s personality type.
If you ask a real estate agent how they do something, you’re going to get a ton of different answers from giving their personal opinion on what they think is best to telling you that no one way is correct.
Because there is not one specific way to be successful, a good agent may try many different things. On one hand, it means agents need to find ways they excel in order to stand out; on the other hand, it means they might try too many things and not become successful at anything.
Additionally, dealing with one of the most important financial decisions your client may ever make entails a lot of risks. These high stakes can often seem complicated for an inexperienced agent who’s not been through a real estate transaction a few times.
Being resourceful is an essential skill that all successful Realtors need to possess. They need to handle these risks as best as possible by being able to find solutions to sometimes complicated problems.
A Day In The Life of a Real Estate Agent
On a typical day, a Realtor might do a variety of tasks.
For example, they might be meeting with buyers to show them homes, going over contracts and forms for a buyer’s offer on a new home, showing homes themselves for sellers or other agents, attending inspections to ensure that the property is still in good condition after repairs are made, working on commission reports at the end of the day, and more.
A Realtor needs to be able to juggle many tasks at once and be able to stay organized through it all as to not drop the ball on anything.
You’re going to face some high-pressure moments and feel like the world is on top of your shoulders at times; however – if you love helping people make their dreams come true with one of the largest financial decisions they’ll ever make – this job can be rewarding beyond words.
One day you’ll love the profession, the next you’d rather be working at Taco Bell.
Well, not really, but it can be a mix of lows and highs. There are times when you might feel like giving up for whatever reason; however, if you love working in residential real estate and helping others, the ups will outweigh the downs.
It Can Be Expensive Being A Realtor
Another factor that goes into what a Realtor does is managing finances. Being a Realtor means running your own business, managing expenses, and calculating returns on your different investments.
Some of the typical expenses a Realtor needs to manage include:
- Marketing (Listing Photos, Physical Prints, Online)
- Advertising (Google, Facebook, Zillow)
- Office Supplies (Paper, Pens, Computer)
- Broker Fees (Commission Split, Monthly Fees, Desk Fees, Royalty Fees)
- Auto Expenses (Lease, Gas, Maintenance)
- Payroll (Virtual Assistant, Transaction Coordinator, Showing Assistant)
- Home Office Expenses (Internet Access, Electricity Bill For Home Office)
- Licensing Fees (National Association Of Realtors, Real Estate Commission)
- Continuing Education
Most agents take home anywhere from 30% to 90% (after their split with their broker) of their actual commission earned, depending on whether they have a large team or are solo agents.
When looking at what a Realtor does, this is an area that you don’t want to ignore even though there are hundreds of other things that go into being a Realtor.
What Does A Realtor Do for Buyers?
Ok, so let’s break down all the different things a Realtor does for buyers. And these are just the most common and there are plenty of other smaller tasks that are not on this list.
Generate The Lead
Before a Realtor even gets the opportunity to work with a potential buyer, they need to generate the lead. This is the most important step and typically involves marketing, following up, and setting appointments (many of which don’t turn into anything).
Helps Buyers Get Pre-Approved
Another important step a Realtor does is to help the prospective buyer get pre-approved with a loan officer for their loan amount. This is so they know how much they can afford and it takes out the guesswork on price ranges during the home buying process.
Sets Up And Attends Showings With Buyers
Once a lead has turned into an appointment, the Realtor will set up and attend the showings. This is obviously where they earn their commission because this is when they have to physically drive somewhere with their clients.
Writes and Negotiates Offers
Another task that falls under what a Realtor does for buyers is presenting and negotiating offers on houses. The Realtor will work with their client to put together a strong offer and review it with them before submitting it to a sellers agent.
Handle Escrow Paperwork
If the buyer is successful in purchasing a house, this is where they need a Realtor most. Being a Real Estate Agent is about so much more than just showing up to your closing table with your commission check.
Coordinate And Often Attend The Home Inspection
During the home inspection period, a Realtor needs to coordinate with both the buyer and seller on getting all of the inspections set up. And more often than not, they have to attend these inspections with their clients so there are no surprises at closing or any other time throughout this process.
Negotiate Inspection Repairs
Negotiating repairs found during the home inspection are extremely important because no buyer wants to purchase a house that has issues they have to fix.
Communicate With Title, Mortgage, Real Estate Attorney, & Other Agent
A real estate agent needs to communicate with their listing agent, the buyers agent, the title company, and more. Many times a real estate agent will be working with multiple parties and they need to make sure all parties are on the same page.
Setup & Attend Final Walkthrough
After everything is repaired, the Realtor will schedule a final walk-through with their clients before closing so they can go over everything to ensure it’s in the condition that it needs to be.
Coordinate & Attend Closing
You can’t have a purchase or real estate sale without a closing. This is the time when all final paperwork gets handled and both sides (buyer and seller) come together to exchange money and keys.
What Does A Realtor Do for Sellers?
When it comes to real estate agents and their responsibilities, listing agents serve a very different role than a buyer’s agent.
So let’s talk about what a real estate agent does for sellers.
Analyze The Subject Property & Comparables
The real estate agent will need to analyze the subject property and any other properties that are similar to it. After that, they can then compare the prices of properties in the immediate area to make sure their client prices the property correctly and receives the highest amount for their property.
Implement A Marketing Plan For The Property
The real estate agent will then come up with a plan on how to best market the property. This typically involves getting it listed online on real estate sites, hosting an open house on social media platforms, and in real estate magazines. They will also create flyers that they can hand out at open houses or real estate events to get potential buyers inside.
Negotiate Offers On The Property
After the real estate agent has implemented marketing strategies, they will start to receive offers from potential buyers. The Realtor will then negotiate these offers with the seller on behalf of their client.
Handle Escrow Paperwork
Since real estate agents work with both potential buyers and real estate agents, real estate agents handle escrow paperwork for their clients during this period. This means they need to manage the process of getting all of the real estate documents finalized and signed.
Assist With The Appraisal Process
During this process, real estate agents will work with the lender to ensure the appraisal is completed successfully. This is something that impacts both parties involved in the real estate purchase. Oftentimes, a property listing agent may provide comparable sales data with the appraiser to help them determine the value of the sales price.
Communicate With Title, Buyer’s Lender, & Other Agent
Communication between all parties is essential to ensure a smooth closing. A seller agent needs to continually be checking in between the title company, the buyer’s lender, and the other agent to make sure everything is going smoothly and there are no issues.
Coordinate & Attend Closing
The final step before handing over keys to the buyer and the seller receiving their sales proceeds is closing. The listing agent needs to ensure the seller has received a copy of their HUD-1 statement and everything is correct.
Also, they will coordinate the time and location of closing. Sometimes a closing needs to be coordinated remotely. Typically, the agent will be present for the closing if it’s taking place in person.
What Does A Real Estate Broker Do?
A real estate broker can do everything that an agent can but can also manage agents. In the US, agents are required to get their real estate license and work under the supervision of a managing broker.
In many cases, the Realtor that you’re working with may also have been referred to you by their broker. This is because some brokers mostly focus on managing agents rather than assisting buyers and sellers.
The major distinction between a real estate broker and a real estate agent is that the broker can handle agents and get a cut of their commissions.
An associate broker in most states is a licensed broker who chooses to work under a larger firm or company.
Getting Paid As A Realtor
When closing day arrives and all your hard work as a Realtor finally pays off, that commission check is what you’re waiting for. But don’t cash that entire check before you account for your broker commission split, taxes, and what you wish to reinvest into your business (as I discussed above).
However, it’s important for Realtors to understand that just because they’re receiving their commission check doesn’t mean their work is done. In fact, it means it has just begun.
A commission check is only the beginning of what a Realtor needs to do with their hard-earned money, which, to most, can be confusing.
Most agents end up spending all of their commission (because they’ve earned it) versus reinvesting it back into their real estate business to help speed up their growth.
Being a Realtor means being responsible, financially and having money on hand to whether down months or take advantage of opportunities that present themselves.
Frequently Asked Questions About What A Realtor Does
What’s the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor?
The difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor is that a Realtor is a licensed real estate agent that is part of the National Association of Realtors. Realtors pay additional dues and must adhere to the Realtor Code Of Ethics.
What happens if you buy and sell with the same agent?
Buying and selling a home with the same agent can be a good idea. Often times a Realtor will offer a discount when a seller also agrees to purchase a home with the same agent. Additionally, you can expect a similar process and level of customer service on both transactions.
This is different than dual agency where the agent handles both the buy and sell side of the same transaction. In this case, it’s a good idea to have a separate agent appointed to each party as it’s very difficult and can present potential liability to represent two parties’ interests at the same time.
Is it Better to Use a Real Estate Broker or Real Estate Agent?
Using a real estate broker over an agent or vice versa doesn’t present any opportunities. All real estate agents must work under a broker and are held to the same requirements as a broker themselves.
Therefore, you should choose an agent or broker that you feel will give you the best possible experience and has the best chance to help you find your dream home or sell your home for the most amount possible.
Final Thoughts On What A Realtor Does
Being a Realtor is not as easy as it seems. An accurate job description is high-pressure and stressful, and it can be complicated and misunderstood.
However, with the right tools in your arsenal, you can make a plan for success in this field.
If you are looking to become a successful Realtor, download my free business plan today. It will give you everything you need to get started on the right foot.
Thanks for reading!
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