If you watch a lot of HGTV, you may have wondered—are these shows an accurate portrayal of a real estate agent’s job? And if not, what does a real estate agent really do?
Whether you are interested in working with a real estate agent or becoming one yourself, it helps to know what a real estate professional does day-to-day.
What is a Real Estate Agent?
A real estate agent (also called a Realtor or a real estate broker) is someone who assists in the buying and selling of property and has the real estate license required to do so.
A good Realtor wears many hats. She needs to be an excellent marketer, negotiator, photographer, and manager to succeed. Of course, she also has to have a strong understanding of the local real estate market and legal aspects of the buying and selling process.
In the digital age, you can list your home for sale online with relative ease—but so can anyone else, meaning it is a lot harder to get noticed. Trying to sell or buy a home by yourself is still a lot harder than you think.
The expertise of a seller’s agent (a Realtor who helps people sell property) or a buyer’s agent (a Realtor who helps people buy property) is more valuable than ever in today’s complex market. Let’s take a closer look at what each type of Realtor does.
What a Seller’s Agent Does
- Determines What a Property is Worth
When determining how much a home is worth, a seller’s agent (also called a listing agent) has their client’s best interest at heart. If a home is overpriced and sits on the market for too long, buyers might start to assume that something is wrong with the property. Luxury homes, in particular, tend to have this problem, sitting on the market for twice as long as mid-priced homes.
A seller’s agent knows how to price a home strategically to encourage more competitive offers and sell your home as quickly as possible. What’s more, a real estate agent who specializes in selling luxury homes and understands the intricacies of pricing them will be able to help you get the most value out of your property.
- Prepares Homes to Sell
A lot goes into making a home buyer-ready. A seller’s agent identifies what work needs to be done—does the guest bathroom need to be upgraded? Is the deck in need of repairs?
Once the home is in good shape, the Realtor begins the staging process. Staging is the process of decluttering, rearranging furniture, and adding decor to a home to make it more appealing to buyers. The home’s exterior is also taken into account, and landscaping may be done to improve the property’s curb appeal.
Finally, the seller’s agent will take professional-quality photos of the staged home to add to the listing. Some Realtors double as photographers, and some may hire a professional photography company—either way, the result should be photos that show off the home’s best features.
- Handles Marketing
You cannot just stick a bright red “for sale” sign in your front yard and expect your home to sell. Real estate agents are expert marketers who know how to get a home noticed, online and off. Some of the most common advertising strategies Realtors use include:
- Optimizing online listings on sites like Zillow and Trulia
- Networking with other area agents
- Open houses
- Social media advertising
A good marketing strategy is only half the battle—a real estate agent must also be available to take calls from interested buyers. Something as simple as a missed call can result in a missed opportunity to sell.
- Helps Close the Deal
A seller’s agent is responsible for managing offers and negotiating with buyers. Once an offer has been accepted and agreed upon by the agent and the seller, the agent will then guide both parties through the closing paperwork.
What a Buyer’s Agent Does
- Helps Determine Buying Power
Before you can even start looking at homes, you need to know how much home you can afford.
A buyer’s agent helps their clients gather the necessary documentation needed to apply for loan pre-approval, which is a statement of how much a lender is willing to let the buyer borrow. With this information, a buyer’s agent can better determine what homes you would be a serious contender for.
- Finds the Best Homes
Even with online property databases, house hunting is still an incredibly time-consuming process. Professional Realtors understand these real estate databases better than anyone and know how to find homes that best fit the buyer’s budget and needs.
An agent provides an objective, third-party that helps buyers make smarter decisions. For example, a buyer might fall in love with the color of a house or a large backyard, but an agent can help them step back and see the bigger picture.
Buyer’s agents are also pros at picking up subtle hints in listing descriptions—for instance, “charming” can be a red flag that really means “needs a lot of work”!
- Fights for the Fairest Price
It is your real estate agent’s job to be your biggest advocate. They know the market and can tell when you are being ripped off and can handle difficult negotiations on your behalf. When a good deal does come along, they will help you make a competitive offer.
- Helps Prepare the Final Offer
Like seller’s agents, buyer’s agents also help to handle the paperwork necessary to complete property transactions.
An agent also helps to schedule all necessary inspections prior to closing the deal to make sure you are buying a house that is in good condition.
Do You Need a Real Estate Agent?
Real estate agents do so much more than you typically see on TV—it’s a job that requires a diverse skill set and many years of experience to truly master.
After learning about everything a real estate agent does, do you still want to try and buy or sell property on your own? While it is not impossible, having an expert in your corner helps to ensure a much faster and smoother process.
If you are looking to buy or sell property in the Tampa Bay area, I would love to talk with you and show you how I can help reach your real estate goals. Contact me and let’s chat!