Whatever it is you do for a living, there are probably things that an outsider would never be able to understand or appreciate.
Deep down, we all want to be appreciated—and real estate agents are no exception. Underneath our name tags and professional attire, agents are regular people just like you. So, while you may not have any idea what it’s like to be an agent, you can totally appreciate what it’s like to feel unappreciated…
So, on behalf of agents everywhere, let’s get into some common misconceptions that cause agents to feel unappreciated, and help you get the most out of your relationship with one.
1. The Internet makes what we do seem easy
For many years, it was practically impossible for a non-agent to access the kind of information readily available on the Internet nowadays. If they were nothing else, they were gatekeepers of information.
The listing sites that have sprung up in the last decade can make it seem like real estate is a simple matter of sellers putting a listing online and then buyers scrolling until they find one they love. Throw in a little paperwork and some negotiation and, voila, a house has been bought and sold.
Price transparency, quick notifications, and effective algorithms might have changed the game when it comes to seeing what’s on the market, but the fundamentals of a transaction have generally remained the same.
This means that while there is more information than ever available to consumers, real estate agents are still responsible for the lion’s share of getting a deal done. So, even though things might seem pretty simple on the surface, the agent’s job hasn’t changed all that much.
In fact, in order to even succeed and last in this business at this point, an agent has to bring more to the table than just being able to provide you with access to listings and the buyer pool.
2. Today’s market can skew perceptions
In many parts of the country, the real estate market is hot, and is being spurred on by low mortgage rates.
That being said, each market is unique, and every client’s situation is different, so there can be a disconnect between what’s happening nationally or on a broad scale, and what’s actually happening locally.
An agent’s perspective will sometimes differ from a client’s, since that agent will have a better understanding of their specific market, and what it takes to sell or buy a home. Sometimes, this perspective might not jive with what people have read in the media, or with their friends’ or coworkers’ situations, which can lead to frustration, or even mistrust.
If this happens, simply ask your agent for clarity, and remember that the real estate market is disparate and varies from one area to the next.
3. A lot of what we do happens behind the scenes
When you’re buying or selling a home, it can feel like the agent’s job is done after they make or receive an offer that gets accepted. It seems like the easiest job in the world, right? In reality, there’s a lot more that goes into it, both before and after an accepted offer.
In fact, the best agents are the ones who make you feel like everything was easy, because they’re doing all of the unpleasant behind-the-scenes stuff and keeping it out of your hair. Negotiations, working out the fine details, dealing with frustrated and difficult people from the other side, legal work, and the inevitable problems that come up during every transaction are just some of the things agents are doing when you’re not looking.
4. People (wrongly) assume we’re all filthy rich
If it was easy to get rich working in real estate, everybody would be doing it. For decades, the myth of the overnight real estate millionaire has convinced people that their agent is living in the lap of luxury while doing little more than making a few calls a day. This misconception can create tension between hardworking clients and their seemingly happy-go-lucky agents.
The truth is much more mundane. It takes years to build a book of business in real estate, and after expenses, broker’s fees, and taxes, most real estate agents are decidedly middle-class income earners. And that’s putting aside the fact that we don’t get a base salary, and only get paid when a deal actually closes.
The myth of the jet-setting real estate agent is just that: a myth.
5. We’re going through the same stress you’re going through
If you’ve ever bought or sold a home, or have been around someone who has, then you know just how stressful and nerve-racking it can be. A real estate transaction is typically the biggest transaction of people’s lives. There are lots of moving parts, lots of money on the line, not to mention the stress that comes with uprooting from one home to another.
And despite what some people think, your real estate agent truly understands how stressful it is, and realizes that the stakes are high. Agents are typically dealing with multiple transactions at the same time, each one of them involving multiple stressed-out people, and we do it over and over again, month in and month out. The stress, of course, comes with the territory, but it’s safe to say that agents are in no way immune from the toll it can take.
So, when you find yourself interacting with a real estate agent, surprise them with some empathy and understanding. Bring up some of the tidbits you read here. Your understanding and appreciation for what they deal with and do will be appreciated more than you can imagine!