What does a Real Estate Agent Really Do?
I've been a Real Estate agent for 12+ years and you might be surprised at how often I hear this question or better yet, when I hear someone’s vivid opinion of what they think a Real Estate agent does (or does not do).
The value of a Real Estate agent is slowly diminishing in the eyes of the consumer and you know what? We have no one to blame but ourselves.
We have allowed the buyers and sellers of the world to believe that all we do is put a for sale sign in the yard, hold open houses, take them to view homes they found online or send them a link to our website so they can create their own home search or check the value of their home, etc.
When every Real Estate agent is speaking the same language, using the same marketing tactics and succeeding at removing themselves as much as they can from the transaction, consumers have every right to question, “Why do I need an agent?
Let's be real for a second! If you’re a buyer, you’ll most likely start your home search on Zillow. Why? Because most home buyers do. Zillow has created a simple user experience and they made window shopping in your pajamas convenient. If you’re interested in selling your home. Yup! Zestimates are the go-to for potential sellers. Again, because Zillow makes it simple, convenient and potential buyers and sellers don’t have to talk to a Real Estate agent.
Why am I not afraid to admit this? Well, because I know my value as a Real Estate agent and I know that my true value lies in none of those things mentioned above. Yes, I can help provide a more detailed estimate of your home value by showing you how most agents in the area will explain the value of your home to their clients. An algorithm can’t take small intricacies and specific local market knowledge into consideration when comparing apples to apples, at least not yet.
As a buyer, I would consult with you and ask many detailed questions about the home you desire. More than just the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, etc, but more in alignment with why are you moving, where would you like to live, do you like to entertain, do you want an open floor plan, is there a specific school district you want, do you work from home, what are your goals for this home, how long do you plan on living here, and so on.
A Real Estate transaction has many moving parts and as the agent at the center of it all, it’s our job to quarterback the deal and make sure everything is moving forward. Most transactions have agents on both sides, lenders, appraisers, inspectors, transaction coordinators, title and escrow officers, assistants and a shit ton of paperwork. Then there are always fires that need to be extinguished, poor communication that can derail a deal, one person dropping the ball and endangering the hopes and dreams of a buyer or seller. It can be messy.
The next two are my biggest and favorite value propositions as a Real Estate agent:
Negotiations and Contracts
As a Real Estate agent, I must be prepared to go to war for my clients. Now, I don’t literally mean war but I do mean that they are counting on me to fight in their corner and provide the best and timely deal; buying or selling.
The art of negotiation isn’t always about being the meanest, baddest person in the room and manipulating someone to see it my way. It can be a very subtle process and a win-win for everyone involved. It takes a very special skill that many do not possess. Listening!
Over the years I’ve learned that it’s not always about price or the fastest sale. Price, terms, convenience, confidence and circumstances all play a part in a Real Estate transaction and understanding how to navigate through them all to arrive at a win-win deal is truly an art form.
Next up, contracts!
A Real Estate transaction is very paperwork heavy, especially in California. There are pages and pages of contracts and disclosures that all need to be explained, signed and sent to the other party. My job is to ensure that you understand what you’re signing and why. As I mentioned above in negotiations, price isn’t always the solution and understanding how to structure a contract, not only using price as leverage, but the terms and conditions can do the heavy lifting as well.
See a Real Estate agent doesn’t simply stake signs in people’s yards or drive them around to preview homes. That is part of the job but not the value of using a Real Estate agent, in my opinion.
As Real Estate agents, why don’t we advertise more of our true value and what we bring to the table? Why can’t buyers and sellers understand that our job is to negotiate the best deal and protect them? Because we’re too busy pushing our websites, social media and look at me I’m a top agent down their throats.
We need to start adding more value and showing them why and how we can help them achieve their Real Estate goals or tech companies will succeed at replacing us and we’ll have no one to blame but ourselves.