What do real estate agents do for the money?
What does a real estate agent do for their money?
Real estate agents. They just stick up a sign, field some phone calls, and collect a commission, right?
Well, no. Selling a house is much more involved than people realise. It takes a lot of work and a lot of skill. So much so, in fact, that sellers who try and go it alone are often surprised at just how hard it really is.
“A lot of it’s invisible. It’s knowing the tools of the trade and understanding the market inside out. Most real estate agents work seven days a week, and they’re long days. Their market knowledge and their understanding of how the process works is second to none,” explains Narelle Casey, Head of Brand Operations for Independent. Compare that to a layperson, who might only buy and sell every four or five years, and it’s easy to see why you need a professional.
In fact, says Narelle, there are 135 things an agent has to do to sell your property from the time they list it to the day it settles. On top of this, they need to include ongoing professional development, changes to legislation, marketing techniques, and market fluctuations.
Choosing the right sales method
As a layperson, ‘sales method’ might just mean the choice between auctions and private treaty sales. To an agent, though, the question is much more sophisticated.
“A good agent will help you choose the right selling method for every property,” says Narelle. “They’ll work through the best methods of selling based on data, past experiences, trends. We’re also constantly improving our insights about how effective digital advertising can be and testing various products against each other to see which ones deliver the best value for your marketing dollars.”
Creating powerful networks
The most powerful technology in the world won’t help if you have nobody looking to buy, though. And that’s another area where agents shine.
Buyer databases have come a long way since the old-fashioned Rolodex. Today, agents use a digital database to manage customer relationships, but the principle is still the same. Agents use open inspections to chat to prospective buyers about what they’re looking for. If the home they’re viewing isn’t quite right, the agent will take their details for the future.
“It’s not unusual to have 40 groups through an open home, so the database is pretty massive,” explains Narelle. “The technology allows us to record exactly what they’re looking for, so we can serve up the properties that meet those criteria when they come on the market. That’s a huge advantage over a private seller, who is only going to be able to market their property to friends and family or rely on someone seeing their ad on the internet.”
Showing the property in the best light
When it comes to the opens, agents again have the advantage. They know what buyers are looking for, and what the expectations are at different price ranges. They can advise you what is worth repairing or upgrading, and what isn’t.
“It’s so hard to see your own home with objective eyes,” Narelle says. “We can spot things you might not, like cracks in the pathway or a rust stain under a dripping tap, and those can be fixed really easily.”
Your agent’s market expertise also means they can save you from expensive upgrades that won’t raise the price. If the most likely buyer is a developer who wants to knock the property down and rebuild, for example, a new kitchen is a waste of money.
Once the property is styled, decluttered, and ready to be inspected, your agent is on hand to woo the buyers.
Narelle explains. “One of the things an agent is really skilled at is overcoming objections. So if a buyer comes in and says, well, the kitchen is looking a bit tired or the bedroom windows don’t get a lot of light, we can respond to that with solutions. Where a private seller might get defensive, an agent can take the emotion out. That helps them to explain the upside in a manner that the buyer can appreciate.”
Getting the right price
“It’s absolutely, 100% in the best interests of the agent to get you the best price possible. Providing the best possible outcomes for sellers is helpful in providing future referrals and business,” says Narelle.
To that end, agents spend a lot of time honing their negotiation skills. They do a lot of training and are constantly practicing and reinforcing those skills with colleagues. “They make it seem completely natural when you’re talking to them, but their negotiation skills are just phenomenal,” Narelle says. “And that’s what delivers a great result.”
Keeping the sale on track
Once the contract is signed, the hard work is over, right? Not so much. Agents have to stay in constant contact with clients to make sure they’re prepared for settlement.
“We’ve had clients who didn’t realise they needed to arrange finance with the bank: they thought we did that for them. We’ve had clients who sold their first property without checking if their new one would be built in time for them to move in. We know that even very well-educated people make mistakes. We send out a lot of written information, but nothing beats an agent who knows you, knows your sale, and knows your circumstances.”
Helping you build wealth through property
After settlement, all you want to do is unpack and relax. But that’s not the end of the story. Whether it’s your first home, an upgrade, or an investment property, your agent is here to help you make the most of it.
“We keep in touch with all our buyers, just to make information available if they want it. We might send quarterly market updates letting them know how the rental and property markets are behaving in their area, that sort of thing. You can see how your property is performing, and it opens the door for further conversations about increasing wealth through property.”
If you want to find out what a real estate agent can do for you, get in touch. If you’re just starting to think about selling, head to our online appraisal page for a free, instant, online appraisal of your property.