What does a real estate agent do all day?

Being a real estate agent is a tough job. We work constantly, even on weekends, holidays and evenings, and have to balance about one million different tasks for a given sale. On top of that, we’re monitoring leads, following up with clients, and having to market ourselves regularly. But most of that is below the surface, so it leaves some wondering what the heck we actually do all day!

Luckily, Cara Ameer, a realtor in Florida, explained it in detail for Inman.com. I’ve given you the main takeaways from that article below, to shed a little light on what exactly I’m doing for you and my other clients all day:

The realtor is an incubator, initiator, action-taker, coordinator, scheduler, personal concierge, resource, problem-solver, mediator, miracle worker, red-tape cutter, transaction manager, and chief make-it-happen officer for any client that wants to make a real estate move. Some of these roles get delegated elsewhere, but the realtor oversees everything and gives valuable input on the process every step of the way.  I could work every day, and often feel guilty if I am going to be out of town or take a day off (even on my scheduled days off). I usually will check email a couple of times and answer my phone which is also the beauty of it all – I can be on a beach in Hawaii and still answer questions and get things done.

A typical day in the life:

  • Responding: there are always inquiries, emails, texts, etc. to respond to. We are always “open,” if you will, and waiting until the next day can result in a missed sale or lost client. And it’s not just clients asking about properties – it’s other agents, stagers, brokers, and more.
  • Reviewing MLS activity: we review MLS activity for relevant listings and updates on properties of interest and notify our clients right away if anything needs to be shared.
  • Keeping a Database: we must always be updating our contact databases with new customer info, updates, birthdays, home-buying anniversaries, etc.
  • Scheduling Showings: agents put together property itineraries for clients who are planning to house-hunt and see multiple showings. The schedule is constantly changing, and getting it right is a priority for everyone.
  • Making Contact: we are your liaison for establishing a dialogue with sellers or buyers, and conduct all the research for market comparables.
  • Setting/Attending Appointments: meetings never end in real estate. We meet buyers and sellers for initial discussions and tours, we meet inspectors, appraisers and other specialists, and oftentimes you’ll get other calls about other meetings while you’re already in the first one!
  • Negotiating Offers/Managing Sales: this process can take a very long time. Once an offer is accepted, though, and a property goes under contract, the agent has to be on everyone involved to finish their part of the job. That means lenders, title companies, attorneys, other agents, and all clients, to name a few.
  • Problem-Solving: educating clients about the market, the offers, etc., gathering info about a community or property, troubleshooting unseen issues. There are a million little issues that go into a real estate transaction, and the agent will be expected to be the one solving them.
  • Marketing: don’t forget how much we have to market ourselves at all times to gain new clients and keep existing ones. Everything from a website, to a blog, to a newsletter, to a postcard, to a flyer will have to be created, approved, proofread and spread digitally and physically.
Courtesy: Inman.com

Long story short, real estate is a 24/7 profession that involves severe multi-tasking, prioritizing, evaluating, advising, hand-holding and problem-solving. The lifestyle isn’t as glamorous as it seems on TV, but it’s a rewarding job that I love to do! Now you know exactly what kind of work I’m putting in for you!

Weimaraners & Real Estate

As I’ve expressed here before, my best moments as a realtor come when a client buys their dream home with my help. That happened recently, and the backstory is almost as cool as the moment they shared getting the keys!

I met Wilbur and Aimee through NorCal Weim Rescue, where I got my dog Bodie and occasionally foster dogs for them. At the time, Wilbur was renting and had two Weimaraner puppies (Roxie & Daisy), but the landlord just landscaped the backyard and did not want two big dogs in addition to their small one.

So he surrendered them to NorCal Weim Rescue, who did not want to split the dogs up and I fostered them – see pics below. Roxie was very dominant over her sister and even when they were at a trial run at another home she would growl at the husband, so that didn’t work.  Then Wilbur’s landlord said he could have one dog back, he got Roxie the light Weimaraner pictured here and Daisy found her fur-ever home in Bishop. And they later got Jax, the Blue Weim

They knew I was an agent and I said if you ever decide to buy, let me know.  A few years later, their landlord wanted to sell his house and called me up! They realized they couldn’t buy the house they were renting, so off we went looking in Livermore.  After being in contract and finding the HOA only allowed two dogs, we were back in the hunt. Three offers later, lots of conversations with the lender, and perseverance by all is when Aimee and Wilbur landed a wonderful home and a great place for their fur babies!

Now, Wilbur, Aimee and Roxie (dog) (as well as Jax (dog #2) and Duke (dog #3 smallest with the biggest name) can happily call their Aspenwood house in Livermore home for many years to come!

Why buyers don’t always take the highest offer

You might be surprised to hear that sellers don’t always take the highest offer on their properties. It would be logical to get the most bang for your back, but as this article outlines, there are more factors at play in today’s market.

In that specific example, the seller and their agent took a middle offer because it was all-cash, and that was the only way to ensure the deal would go through without having to worry if the appraisal would come in. They sacrificed a bit on the price (possibly) to make sure the house got sold.

From a seller’s perspective, taking a lower offer could be for any number of reasons. It could be because they want to counter up a lower offer because they have better financing or somebody waives the appraisal contingency. It could be because the letter they received from the prospective buyer was so engaging that they wanted those people to own the home, regardless of the price difference. It could even be because they’ve met the buyer and their family and just felt a connection to them.

From a buyer’s perspective, this means there’s an opening in the modern real estate market. If you don’t have the highest offer, you’re not always on the outside looking in. If you put more of a sincere, human touch on your pitch to buy the house, sellers might be more likely to sell to you!

It goes both ways. Real estate transactions involve a lot of paperwork, money and bartering. But when it comes down to it, having the human touch that a buyer seeks might be all you really need to leapfrog other offers and land the house of your dreams!

A great listing agent will go over all the pros and cons of each offer and provide reasons why one offer may be better, and give recommendations on counter strategies. At the end of the day, it is always the seller’s choice on who they choose to buy their home if they have more than one offer.

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Emerald Elite Award

Our annual BHG convention recently occurred in Las Vegas. It is at this time of year they announce award winners based on production. I am happy to share that I was the recipient of the Emerald Elite Award, for which any agent nationwise, within the Better Homes and Gardens Company, meets the following criteria:

  • $325,000 GCI (Gross Commission Income, before taxes and expenses) OR 59+ total transactions

Thank you to all my great clients, referrals from friends and agents, team, lenders, inspectors, stagers and title reps! Additionally, I was awarded the 2017 Best of Walnut Creek Award in the Real Estate Agents category by the Walnut Creek Award Program. You can see a press release about that here, if you’re so inclined:

http://walnutcreek.walnutcreek.onlineawarded.org/PressReleaseub.aspx?cc=DJGB-TBHJ-QZRR

How to Ensure a Smooth Home Purchase

5 steps 3If you’re planning on purchasing a home this year, you’ll will want a transaction as smooth as possible. That’s what us agents are for! We want to help you find the perfect home and then ensure the process becomes as pain-free as possible.  You don’t realize how important this is until you have the transaction from Hell!

Taken from a Better Homes and Garden’s article and repurposed with some of my insights, here are five tips for a smooth home purchase:

Tip 1: Communicate with Your Agent

You spend a lot of time with your agent in a finite window, so, you should work with a real estate agent you are comfortable with. They should be straight up and express everything you want and need in your new home. By communicating your desires from the beginning, your agent won’t waste time showing you homes that don’t fit your criteria. If you know you want an updated kitchen or two baths, make that clear. It is also a process; sometimes what you want and what your budget can afford creates a discovery process, but when it comes to finding that perfect home, clear communication is key. And if you run into any problems along the way, be sure to speak with your agent to iron out any issues.

Tip 2: Be Reasonable with Expectations

If you’re searching for a three-bedroom home located in a certain neighborhood that has the right schools, and your agent shows you a property with a color you don’t like that only has 1.5 baths, don’t simply write off the home. When searching for the home of your dreams, you may have to give something up or make some changes once you move in. No home will be perfect and, again, it is a process to find that out.

Tip 3: Don’t be Discouraged

Don’t expect to find your dream home overnight. Buyers often get frustrated because nothing pops up in their price range for two weeks or they have written five offers and none of them were accepted, but remember, it is a process. And, this is the Bay Area! 5 steps 2Buyers usually course correct, change their expectations, get a quick education on the market and – voila! – the universe unfolds, the right house pops up and your offer is accepted! Woo-hoo! Now the rubber hits the road and you are in contract!

Tip 4: Play the Money Game

If you offer $375,000 on a home that’s listed at $400,000 and the seller refuses to budge, be prepared to negotiate. Wait!!! This is the Bay Area! When you offer $650,000 on a home listed for $620,000 and you are one of nine offers, you need to have some wiggle room for a counter offer. Before making an offer, discuss your strategy with your agent as he or she will be able to tell you whether your offer is fair or not. It’s also important to check out comps in the neighborhood so that you can make a reasonable offer from the get-go. Don’t forget how important a good lender is and the reputation they have with other agents. This may make the difference in your offer getting accepted over the other eight.

Tip 5: Get Your Mortgage Pre-Approved

This could be the smartest thing you do all year. By having a mortgage approved before you even begin looking at houses, you’ll be ready to make an offer as soon as you find the home of your dreams. Not all lenders are equal, and a good lender may give you the upper hand over other buyers who may be interested in the same house. Can they closer faster than 30 days? Do they get all the paperwork upfront and desktop underwrite you so there are no surprises? Are they responsive to your calls?

If you have any interest in purchasing a home this summer, and are looking for an agent who can guide you through the process smoothly, I am at your service and I have a great lender or two to refer!