Get the listing, put up the sign, and then wait for the sale and the commission to roll in? A real estate agent’s job isn’t quite that simple. Let’s take a look at how a successful agent actually spends the workday.
Keeping Up With the Market
The agent must constantly monitor what’s happening in the real estate market, especially in the locations in which he or she specializes. This allows the agent to determine the selling prices and features of comparable properties. The agent must read market reports and personally view the neighborhoods and specific houses. It’s also important to keep up with what’s happening in the community, such as commercial or residential developments being built, the quality of schools, available transportation, and the state of the job market.
Staying Current as a Professional
Staying current in the real estate field can also be time-consuming. While specific requirements vary by state, agents must complete a certain number of hours of approved continuing education courses to keep their license active.
- Agency Law
- Contract Law
- Fair Housing
- Real Estate Legal Issues
Agents can go on to earn additional designations to increase their expertise. Some major designations include the Certified Residential Specialist, CRS; the Accredited Buyer Representative, ABR; the Accredited Seller Representative, ACR; and designations for agents who specialize in certain areas, such as the Senior Real Estate Specialist, SRES, for working with buyers and sellers over the age of 55.
Successful real estate agents spend a lot of time marketing in the following ways:
Prospecting for Clients
Both buyer’s agents and seller’s agents must spend time prospecting for new clients. This includes marketing to potential clients at events, online, or via marketing campaigns. It also may entail following up with contacts and people who live in the agent’s market areas. More experienced agents receive some business from word-of-mouth advertising or repeat sales.
Most agents are listing or seller’s agents; they have a contractual agreement with the seller to get the best possible price and terms for the seller. Other agents are buyer’s agents. They represent the buyer’s best interests, although they receive part of the commission the seller pays.
Marketing the Listings
An agent provides pricing and sales/staging guidance to the owner, and then actively markets the home through advertising and holding open houses. The best agents advertise open houses by sending flyers and even going door to door, so that attendance is not limited to those who just happen to drive by.
The keys to a real estate agent’s success are communicating clearly with all parties involved in the transaction—the buyer, seller, other involved agents, lender, inspector, closer—and to keep the entire process running smoothly from beginning to end. This requires a highly organized agent who knows every detail of the process and the market.
Your real estate agent is putting in lots of hard work behind the scenes. The job takes strong organizational, communication, and project management skills—and a large dose of intuition. The ultimate success for the agent, in addition to the commission, is the satisfaction of handing the keys to a happy new homeowner.