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Behind the Scenes of a Realtor's Journey: Unveiling the Realities and Contributions

In the realm of real estate, there's a lot of chatter in the news about real estate agent commissions. We, as real estate professionals, have an unshakable love for what we do. Our motivation stems from the profound joy of assisting people in fulfilling their homeownership dreams. However, there exists a prevalent misconception regarding our roles and how we earn our keep. Today, I aim to lift the veil on these matters.

Setting the Record Straight on Commissions

Let's address the elephant in the room. The average FULL-TIME REALTOR earned just $31,900 last year, while dedicating over 40 hours a week to their profession. It's crucial to emphasize the "full time" aspect here, as this isn't a job with part-time hours. This income falls well below what most consider a living wage. Unlike traditional employment, we do not receive an hourly wage or salary. Our livelihood is tied to successfully closing real estate transactions.

The Reality of Real Estate: Constant Uncertainty

In our profession, every day begins with a degree of uncertainty. We essentially wake up "unemployed," ready to embark on a series of job interviews. Rejection is a constant companion. We sacrifice precious time with family, expend personal resources on gas and childcare, miss out on family dinners, and forgo weekends and vacations. The real estate industry demands a 24/7 commitment; opportunities can emerge at any moment. If we let our guard down, we risk missing out on valuable prospects.

The Upfront Costs We Bear

Before a commission check ever lands in our hands, we bear numerous upfront expenses. These include broker splits and fees, office rent and utilities, MLS fees, NAR fees, local association fees, insurance costs, and more. Additionally, there are personal expenses like gas, self-employment taxes, state licensing fees, advertising expenses, and website fees. The list goes on to encompass assistant salaries, transaction coordinators, signage, photographers, videographers, office supplies, and even legal fees.

Income taxes are not withheld, so we must set aside a significant portion (around 25-30%) for tax purposes. Health insurance is another consideration, especially for those without a spouse who provides it.

The Tasks Beyond Buying and Selling Homes

Being a Realtor entails much more than merely facilitating property transactions. Let's delve into some of the myriad tasks involved:

Tasks of a Listing Agent:

1. Prepare Listing Presentation for Sellers

2. Research Seller's Property Tax Information

3. Research Comparable Sold Properties for Sellers

4. Determine Average Days on Market

5. Gather Information From Sellers About Their Home

6. Meet With Sellers at Their Home

7. Get to Know Their Home

8. Present Listing Presentation

9. Advise on Repairs and Upgrades

10. Provide a Home Seller To-Do Checklist

11. Explain Current Market Conditions

12. Discuss Seller's Goals

13. Share Your Value Proposition

14. Explain Benefits of Your Brokerage

15. Present Your Marketing Options

16. Explain Video Marketing Strategies

17. Demonstrate 3D Tour Marketing

18. Explain Buyer & Seller Agency Relationships

19. Describe the Buyer Pre-Screening Process

20. Create Internal File for Transaction

21. Get Listing Agreement & Disclosures Signed

22. Provide Sellers Disclosure Form to Sellers

23. Verify Interior Room Sizes

24. Obtain Current Mortgage Loan Information

25. Confirm Lot Size from County Tax Records

26. Investigate Any Unrecorded Property Easements

27. Establish Showing Instructions for Buyers

28. Agree on Showing Times with Sellers

29. Discuss Different Types of Buyer Financing

30. Explain Appraisal Process and Pitfalls

31. Verify Homeowners Association Fees

32. Obtain a Copy of HOA Bylaws

33. Gather Transferable Warranties

34. Determine Need for Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

35. Verify Security System Ownership

36. Discuss Video Recording Devices & Showings

37. Determine Property Inclusions & Exclusions

38. Agree on Repairs to Be Made Before Listing

39. Schedule Staging Consultation

40. Schedule House Cleaners

41. Install Electronic Lockbox & Yard Sign

42. Set-Up Photo/Video Shoot

43. Meet Photographer at Property

44. Prepare Home For Photographer

45. Schedule Drone & 3D Tour Shoot

46. Get Seller’s Approval of All Marketing Materials

47. Input Property Listing Into The MLS

48. Create Virtual Tour Page

49. Verify Listing Data on 3rd Party Websites

50. Have Listing Proofread

51. Create Property Flyer

52. Have Extra Keys Made for Lockbox

53. Set-Up Showing Services

54. Help Owners Coordinate Showings

55. Gather Feedback After Each Showing

56. Keep track of Showing Activity

57. Update MLS Listing as Needed

58. Schedule Weekly Update Calls with Seller

59. Prepare “Net Sheet” For All Offers

60. Present All Offers to Seller

61. Obtain Pre-Approval Letter from Buyer’s Agent

62. Examine & Verify Buyer’s Qualifications

63. Examine & Verify Buyer’s Lender

64. Negotiate All Offers

65. Once Under Contract, Send to Title Company

66. Check Buyer’s Agent Has Received Copies

67. Change Property Status in MLS

68. Deliver Copies of Contract/Addendum to Seller

69. Keep Track of Copies for Office File

70. Coordinate Inspections with Sellers

71. Explain Buyer’s Inspection Objections to Sellers

72. Determine Seller’s Inspection Resolution

73. Get All Repair Agreements in Writing

74. Refer Trustworthy Contractors to Sellers

75. Meet Appraiser at the Property

76. Negotiate Any Unsatisfactory Appraisals

77. Confirm Clear-to-Close

78. Coordinate Closing Times & Location

79. Verify Title Company Has All Docs

80. Remind Sellers to Transfer Utilities

81. Make Sure All Parties Are Notified of Closing Time

82. Resolve Any Title Issues Before Closing

83. Receive and Carefully Review Closing Docs

84. Review Closing Figures With Seller

85. Confirm Repairs Have Been Made

86. Resolve Any Last Minute Issues

87. Attend Seller’s Closing

88. Pick Up Sign & Lock Box

89. Change Status in MLS to “Sold.”

90. Close Out Seller’s File With Brokerage

Tasks of a Buyer's Agent:

1. Schedule Time To Meet Buyers

2. Prepare Buyers Guide & Presentation

3. Meet Buyers and Discuss Their Goals

4. Explain Buyer & Seller Agency Relationships

5. Discuss Different Types of Financing Options

6. Help Buyers Find a Mortgage Lender

7. Obtain Pre-Approval Letter from Their Lender

8. Explain What You Do For Buyers As A Realtor

9. Provide an Overview of Current Market Conditions

10. Explain Your Company’s Value to Buyers

11. Discuss Earnest Money Deposits

12. Explain the Home Inspection Process

13. Educate Buyers About Local Neighborhoods

14. Discuss Foreclosures & Short Sales

15. Gather the Needs & Wants Of Their Next Home

16. Explain School Districts' Effect on Home Values

17. Explain Recording Devices During Showings

18. Learn All Buyer Goals & Make A Plan

19. Create an Internal File for Buyers' Records

20. Send Buyers Homes Within Their Criteria

21. Start Showing Buyers Homes That They Request

22. Schedule & Organize All Showings

23. Gather Showing Instructions for Each Listing

24. Send Showing Schedule to Buyers

25. Show Up Early and Prepare for the First Showing

26. Look For Possible Repair Issues While Showing

27. Gather Buyer Feedback After Each Showing

28. Update Buyers When New Homes Hit the Market

29. Share Knowledge & Insight About Homes

30. Guide Buyers Through Their Emotional Journey

31. Listen & Learn From Buyers At Each Showing

32. Keep Records of All Showings

33. Update Listing Agents with Buyer’s Feedback

34. Discuss Homeowner’s Associations

35. Estimate Expected Utility Usage Costs

36. Confirm Water Source and Status

37. Discuss Transferable Warranties

38. Explain the Property Appraisal Process

39. Discuss Multiple Offer Situations

40. Create a Practice Offer to Help Buyers Prepare

41. Provide Updated Housing Market Data to Buyers

42. Inform Buyers of Their Showing Activity Weekly

43. Update Buyers On Any Price Drops

44. Discuss MLS Data With Buyers At Showings

45. Find the Right Home for Buyers

46. Determine Property Inclusions & Exclusions

47. Prepare a Sales Contract When Buyers are Ready

48. Educate Buyer’s On Sales Contract Options

49. Determine the Need for Lead-Based Paint Disclosure

50. Explain Home Warranty Options

51. Update Buyer’s Pre-Approval Letter

52. Discuss Loan Objection Deadlines

53. Choose a Closing Date

54. Verify Listing Data Is Correct

55. Review Comps With Buyers To Determine Value

56. Prepare & Submit Buyer’s Offer to the Listing Agent

57. Negotiate Buyer's Offer With the Listing Agent

58. Execute A Sales Contract & Disclosures

59. Once Under Contract, Send to Title Company

60. Coordinate Earnest Money Drop-Off

61. Deliver Copies to the Mortgage Lender

62. Obtain a Copy of the Seller's Disclosure for Buyers

63. Deliver Copies of Contract/Addendum to Buyers

64. Obtain A Copy of HOA Bylaws

65. Keep Track of Copies for Office File

66. Coordinate Inspections with Buyers

67. Meet the Inspector At the Property

68. Review Home Inspection with Buyers

69. Negotiate Inspection Objections

70. Get All Agreed Upon Repair Items in Writing

71. Verify any Existing Lease Agreements

72. Check In With Lender To Verify Loan Status

73. Check on the Appraisal Date

74. Negotiate Any Unsatisfactory Appraisals

75. Coordinate Closing Times & Location

76. Make Sure All Documents Are Fully Signed

77. Verify the Title Company Has Everything Needed

78. Remind Buyers to Schedule Utilities

79. Ensure All Parties Are Notified of Closing Time

80. Resolve Any Title Problems Before Closing

81. Receive and Review Closing Documents

82. Review Closing Figures With Buyers

83. Confirm Repairs Have Been Made By Sellers

84. Perform a Final Walk-Through with Buyers

85. Resolve Any Last-Minute Issues

86. Get CDA Signed By Brokerage

87. Attend Closing with Buyers

88. Provide Home Warranty Paperwork

89. Give Keys and Accessories to Buyers

90. Close Out Buyer’s File with Brokerage

Whew! As you can see, being a Buyer's Agent involves a myriad of tasks and responsibilities to ensure a smooth home buying process for our clients.

In conclusion, being a Realtor is a demanding profession with a wide range of responsibilities. The common misconceptions about real estate agent commissions often overshadow the significant challenges that agents face. From guiding clients through complex transactions to dealing with upfront expenses and constant job interviews, Realtors work tirelessly.

Supporting Realtors doesn't require buying or selling a home. Simple gestures like sharing listings, referring friends and family, or leaving positive comments and reviews can make a big difference. Let's recognize and appreciate the hard work and dedication of these professionals who help people achieve their homeownership dreams and play a crucial role in our communities.

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