What most people may not realise is that for every hour that a real estate agent spends with a seller, they will spend approximately nine hours working behind the scenes on the homeowner’s behalf to get the property sold. This is according to Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, who says that the reason for this is simple, if an agent doesn’t sell the home – they don’t get paid.
“The majority of real estate professionals working in the industry do so on a commission basis, which means that they only get paid after the home has been sold. While a risk, working on commission pushes agents to do what is necessary to see the deal through to fruition,” says Goslett. “In other industries, professionals will charge their clients an hourly rate for the time they spend working for them. However, agents don’t, which means they run the risk of coming away empty-handed or worse – out of pocket. Agents will often spend their own money and resources to market a property, money they will not get back unless the home is successfully sold.”
Goslett notes that there is often discussion regarding why certain agents charge more, while others charge less. “As with most services, it is based on experience and the value offered to the client. If the agent can deliver on the key performance indicators set out from the start, they should be paid accordingly.”
So what are the things that real estate agents do behind the scenes?
Market the property
It is vital that the property is exposed to the right target market of potential buyers. To get exposure, agents will advertise their listings on property search portals, as well as in magazines, newspapers, flyers, and brochures. Part of the process of setting up the adverts is having photos taken of the home and having the layout designed professionally. Other marketing tactics include using the services of a public relations officer to engage with targeted media, posting listings on social media and holding show days.
Dealing with buyers and offers
Agents are professional negotiators. A lot of their time is spent talking to their network and ensuring that buyers are matched with the right homes. The agent needs to have an in-depth knowledge of the homes that they are currently marketing, along with what each of the buyers in their network wants.
“When a buyer has found a home that meets their criteria, the agent will guide the buyer through the process of making an offer. They will also facilitate any counter offers from the seller – a vital aspect of the property sale, as the agent can net the seller thousands during this stage of negotiations,” says Goslett.
Knowledge of the property market and specific area information is a vital arrow in an agent’s quiver. A substantial amount of an agent’s time is dedicated to researching property sales prices and data to ensure that they know their area well and have a good handle on the market.
“Correctly pricing a home is a valuable skill. To do so, an agent needs an understanding of the economic environment and their target market, which takes time and research. To accurately pinpoint the right price to list a home, an agent will need to complete a comparative market analysis (CMA). Factors taken into consideration during a CMA would include the average price per square metre in the area, recent sale prices of similar homes and comparative prices of other properties that are still on the market. This information will help establish a reasonable price bracket for the property,” Goslett explains.
Attend home inspections
While the seller might not be present during a home inspection, a good agent will be. Being there during the inspection will give the agent valuable information regarding the home and will assist with accurately setting an asking price.
Ensure a smooth ride
The fact is that not every property transaction will go according to plan. However, agents will try to shield clients from any unnecessary drama - unless there is a need to inform them. An agent will work tirelessly to ensure that the property sales process is as hassle-free as possible for all parties involved.
Selling a home can be stressful, and emotions often run high. A good agent will need to be a problem-solver, keep a positive approach and come up with a constructive solution to any issue.
Networking with other agents
Networking is an intricate part of being an agent. Most agents will have a network of other real estate professionals that they will use to find a suitable buyer for a home. Agents often spend time helping each other to match the right buyer with the right home. Often agents will refer buyers to other agents if they know that agent has the house that checks every box on their wish list.
“A good agent will add value to the property transaction and earn their keep,” Goslett concludes.