Real Estate Agents: A Day in the Life

Every couple of months while we’re driving from one property showing to the next a client says begrudgingly “you have such an easy job driving around looking at houses all day”. Yeah,right. The recent flurry of articles proclaiming that today’s real estate commissions are too high in relation to the amount of work agents do to receive them, haven’t provided the new Internet brokerage models large market shares. And haven’t convinced buyers and sellers to say “I wish I knew how to quit you” to realty agents.

It’s easy to stand on the outside looking in on the residential real estate industry and say, you’re overpaid. After working as a real estate broker full-time for nine years, I have to admit I’ve never worked harder. My typical day starts at 7 a.m. picking up email and voice mail, formatting electronic property brochures, editing virtual tours and booking print advertising for the coming weekends public open houses. During business hours the outwardly visible part of my day includes meetings, showing appointments, staging a new listing, returning phone calls, faxing documents, writing copy for a new listing, organizing a multi-day property tour with incoming relocation buyers, and all the other duties a sole proprietor is responsible for. It ends around 9 p.m. confirming an appointment to show a listing, receiving a counter-offer on a purchase contract and consoling a buyer who needs to back out of a contract because her boyfriend (who’s income is required for the mortgage) broke up with her. This goes on 24/7, 365 days a year.

In the purpose of full disclosure here is a list of what listing and buyer agents do. This list is excerpted from my second book “Starting and Succeeding in Real Estate” Thomson 2003.

Duties performed in the sale of a property.

Agent time and marketing expense to receive listing appointment.

Marketing material expense and time to prepare CMA (Comparative marketing analysis).

Actual time spent on listing appointment to review CMA.

Market knowledge to prepare CMA.

Actual time to meet with seller’s to sign listing agreement and related documents.

Prepare listing for market. Time and cost to prepare property brochures, order yard sign, take property photos, virtual tour, inputting into Multiple Listing Service, and marketing to other agents and public.

Time to prepare and hold brokers open house(s).

Time to prepare and hold public open house(s).

Telephone calls to set appointments.

Time spent traveling to and from property, showing property for each appointment.

Call property sellers with showing feedback.

Receive; return phone calls concerning property from public and agents.

Write ads, place ads in local/regional newspapers.

Receive contract and related documents on property, review and present to sellers.

Present acceptance/counteroffer to sellers

Counsel property sellers through negotiation.

Courier contract for changes, final signatures.

Courier earnest money deposit.

If condo procure and deliver condo declarations, by-laws, rules and application information.

Prepare brokerage worksheet for transaction.

Change property status in Multiple listing services.

Attend property inspection(s).

Negotiate inspection issues.

Contact and forward contract to attorneys, escrow agent and mortgage lender.

Communicate contract status to property seller and buyers agent.

Place under contract sign rider on for sale yard sign.

Set up and attend showing appointments for buyers to measure or have contractors, friends, and family to view property.

Set up and attend mortgage lenders appraiser’s visit to property.

Ongoing assorted phone calls/e-mail to transaction participants.

Prepare brokerage documents (closing statement, etc.) for closing.

Set up and attend final walk through before closing.

Time spent during and to, from closing location.

Attend closing.

Preparing and submitting final closed paperwork to brokerage on property.

Expense and time for client gift and thank-you.

For some seller’s: arrange for movers, inspection repairs, snow/yard maintenance, move out cleaning, utility shut off, winterizing of pipes, etc.

Duties performed in the purchase of a property.

Agent time and marketing expense to receive buyers call or email to meet with them.

Floor duty in office, weekly, monthly.

Attend office sales meetings, weekly, monthly.

Attend company sales/ award meetings.

Attend continuing education and professional development courses.

Time to prepare buyers packet for meeting.

Actual time spent meeting in office for first time with prospective buyers.

Meeting with prospective buyers to meet with mortgage lender.

Making appointments to preview properties.

Previewing potential properties for buyers.

Making appointments to view potential properties with buyers.

Accompanying buyers looking at potential properties.

Attending brokers open houses to view new inventories of homes for sale.

Write contract, disclosures etc. on buyer’s prospective property to purchase.

Deliver and present contract to seller’s agent and sellers.

Negotiate terms of contract to agreement.

Counsel buyers through negotiation.

Courier contract to buyers for sign off on changes as agreed upon in negotiation.

If condo procure and deliver condo declarations, by-laws, rules and application information.

Prepare brokerage worksheet for transaction.

Contact and forward contract to attorneys, escrow agent and mortgage lender.

Attend property inspections.

Negotiate issues.

Communicate contract status to buyers, attorneys and escrow agents.

Accompany buyers on property showings to measure, meet contractors or show property to friends and family.

Ongoing assorted phone calls/e-mail to transaction participants.

Prepare required brokerage documents for closing.

Set up and attend final walk through before closing.

Attend closing.

Purchase client thank-you gift and deliver.

Assist buyers with movers, repairs etc.

Post closing follow up with buyers.