What agents do behind the scenes

coffee and computerHave you ever wondered what on Earth your real estate agent is doing behind your back?

In the sometimes confusing, occasionally hectic and always stressful world of buying and selling, what are we agents doing behind the scenes?

For every hour an agent spends in your presence, we will spend an average of nine hours out of eyesight working on your behalf. Why? Because agents don’t get paid if they don’t close the deal! Unlike lawyers who bill by the hour, agents won’t receive a penny until (or unless) a sale comes through. It’s all a gamble, in which they could shoot snake eyes and come away empty-handed. This is the business.

So if you’re wondering what agents do to earn their paycheck, here’s a list of things we do when you’re not watching (or should be doing — if they’re not, maybe you need a different agent!).

We do research online. Listings come and go fast in the real estate world, so we check their multiple listing service (MLS) database constantly or else you — our clients — will miss out. We also look into a property’s history to check what it last sold for, what the home previously looked like and what other similar homes in the neighborhood (known as “comps”) are selling for.

We do research in person. Of course, there’s nothing like seeing a house in all its brick-and-mortar glory, which is why most REALTORS worth their salt spend tons of time driving around checking out new listings. A home may look great online, but you’ll never know if the oven door open into the cabinets or the fridge door smashes into the wall unless you’re there in the home.

We attend pitch sessions. Agents don’t spend all their time sizing up homes, as they also spend tons of face time with other pros at pitch sessions. Whether it’s at our office’s weekly business meeting, sending out notifications on our company’s Intranet or hosting Broker’s Opens (when agents hold an open house for other agents to come to in advance of the public open house), we’re all about promoting your home the most amount of people.

We spend our own money on marketing. In addition to not getting paid until a deal is done, selling agents also spend their own money on marketing: magazine and newspaper ads, fliers, hiring a photographer, glossy prints and premium placements on listing sites.

We write up offers and counteroffers. Offers and counteroffers are an extremely important part of the transaction, as they can save or net you thousands of dollars on a sale. Yet getting to the right price requires written offers and counteroffers every step of the way.

We stick around for inspections. You might not be present when it’s inspection time, but a good agent will be. This gives the agent an immediate knowledge of what’s going on. Anything from termites to an iffy foundation can be relayed to the buyer immediately. Inspections take roughly two to four hours, depending on the size of the home.

We smooth bumps in the road. Not every sale goes smoothly, but good agents try to shield their clients from the high drama unless there’s a reason to fill them in.

We keep you calm when the pressure’s on. Good agents don’t just hand you a house. They can also act as a therapist, making your sale much less stressful. Our ability to keep ourselves (in theory) at an arm’s distance allows us to help you make a business decision, rather than one based on emotion.

If you’re looking for an agent to help you with all of these steps in purchasing a home, get in touch with me at lbudik@mcenearney.com.