What A Real Estate Agent Really Does, And How To Find The Right One For You

Ask the average Joe what a real estate agent does, and you’ll hear things like hosting open houses and showings, staging and advertising properties and having a “guy” for everything. These are all correct answers and helpful responsibilities, but it’s like saying you go to a hospital because the reclining beds are comfortable. You go to the hospital to get well; you just end up with a comfy (or not-so-comfy) bed while you’re there.

Picture this: You’re sitting on the couch at home watching the game when the doorbell rings. You answer the door, a man confirms your name, hands you an envelope and walks away. You open the envelope and find a court complaint: Someone is suing you for $100,000. What do you do?

Do you research it online and take a go at it yourself? That’s certainly your right; after all, attorneys are expensive. You did just put the roof on the garage and install that new dishwasher all by yourself, and all it took was a few online videos to show you the ropes. But wait, didn’t it take three months to finish the roof? Oh, and the dishwasher sprung a leak and ended up damaging other parts of the house.

I’ve certainly tried my own DIY projects, and some have turned out great — others, not so much. Many times, I’ve had to hire a skilled professional to finish the project or redo what I did wrong. In the cases where I did it wrong, I usually didn’t realize it until it was too late — which cost me more money than if I had hired somebody to do it right in the first place.

The risk in the lawsuit example is $100,000. Sure, it’s possible that you could prevail if you do it yourself and save not only the $100,000 but the cost of attorney’s fees too. But what happens if your luck runs out or do it wrong? It’s going to cost a lot more than it did to fix the damage your dishwasher project caused.

The great news is that in most cases, there are professionals who specialize in doing things you don’t. You might even say they make their jobs look easy. What you might do once or twice in your lifetime, they might do once or twice a day. All of the challenges you run into in your DIY projects — for them? Child’s play.

An experienced real estate agent participates in more transactions in one month than most people do in their entire lifetimes. They know the sale process inside and out, which allows them to anticipate hurdles, identify opportunities and set realistic expectations before they are presented with them. This applies to all phases of a transaction: marketing, drafting offers, offer negotiations, inspection negotiations, the closing (escrow) process, closing and post-closing concerns.

Real estate agents know what homebuyers expect in the current market, which helps them prepare their home seller clients in terms of marketing, staging, financing, typical concessions, etc. With some smart strategizing upfront, a seller could often be positioned to net more money on their sale. Conversely, knowing what home sellers typically want in the current market, and the feelings that typically drive their decisions, an agent can strategize with a homebuyer to get them better terms on their purchase.

Good agents understand and have good working relationships with other real estate professionals in their markets. This allows them to give insight to, and strategize with, their clients about things that the opposing agent may find valuable and how they might perceive a specific request or proposal.

Professional real estate agents, like other professionals, are stewards to all aspects of the industry. They participate and offer guidance to governments planning future growth, as well as lobby for homeowners and property rights. This knowledge and advocacy directly benefits their clients, from knowing governmental decision makers to better understanding the laws affecting property rights.

While I could list a hundred “things” that a professional real estate agent does, the knowledge, experience and strategy are where the biggest values are derived.

As you seek out your real estate professional, consider the following:

  • Do ask a trusted friend or family member for a referral.
  • Do online research: Review the agent’s website for information about their experience and qualifications, review online testimonials, Google their name and explore the results page.
  • Do ask them questions about some of the topics in this article, brokerage support, and any tech tools that might be helpful to you.
  • Don’t search by price alone. The cheapest option isn’t always the best.
  • Don’t hire an agent out of a sense of obligation. Choose your agent based on their qualifications.

When you hire any professional, you’re trying to accomplish something in the most efficient and productive way and minimize risk, all with the least impact on your time and pocketbook. In short, you want to win. A professional real estate agent will help you do just that, if you choose wisely.

Source: forbes.com ~ By: Justin Fox ~ Image: 21online Asset Library

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