I love my job. Working in real estate has been a dream of mine since I started in the industry at 18 years old. I’ve always felt honored to be apart of such an important milestone in a client’s life. This is true of all clients, all areas, and all price points. No really, I probably get more out of hunting a great deal for a first time seller than I do pulling down a million dollar property for a more established client. Thanks to HGTV, Redfin, and Zillow everyone thinks they can be a real estate agent, and aren’t shy about confronting you with some pretty rude assumptions. ****Being a realtor is EASY, anyone can do it, we make too much money, it’s a dying industry, a joke, just to name a few. So for any non believers out there we thought we would round up the Myth’s and Fact’s in the real estate industry. Just keeping it real…..
Myth: Being a Realtor is easy
Fact: They tell me I have the perfect personality for real estate, personable, extroverted, feisty, determined, and high energy. Even with all of that in my corner Real Estate can be a struggle. You have to learn to juggle a lot of moving parts, personalities, and problems. You’re kind of a concierge problem solver- think Olivia Pope. Since we work in such a low inventory fast paced market, finding or selling the house is usually the harder hurdle to jump, but only the beginning. There are a lot of complications that can arise during a contract and it is our job to protect our client, and find solutions to keep the deal moving towards closing. This can be as simple as finding a handyman to do inspection repairs, or as complex as a title issue that will require legal advice. There is no “it’s not my job” in this industry, we basically make the impossible possible for our clients. Ally and I are both blessed with a lot of good contacts in both the construction (both of our families are in the business) and legal world.
Myth: You basically work part time right?
Fact: Real estate requires more than any 9-5 job because it never ends….literally never. It’s true we control our schedule in terms of office hours (I usually work 9-5 in the office BTW), but most times showings, open houses, inspections, negotiations, and client conversations take place early morning, nights, and weekends. Our work schedule is set by the client so it can really vary. I spend my 9-5 time researching property, working on contracts, blogging, and previewing homes for clients. Because I love it, most of this doesn’t feel like work, but the commitment is unlike most other traditional jobs. I literally bought an I-watch just so I could make sure I didn’t miss any important calls or texts while at the gym. I’ve spent numerous holidays on the phone working through negotiations or putting out fires on a listing. You have to be an open person and welcome a job that will permeate every area of your life.
Myth: You make too much money
Fact: For the love of God-my favorite comment! The truth is in real estate you are only as successful as your next sale. We put all of the hours and expense in the front end, hoping to be compensated on the back end. It’s true some transactions sail beautifully, find a house, offer, contract, closing, commission, but there are others you never get paid for because a buyer or seller decides not to proceed for one reason or another. Personally I’m in it for the client, so it can take as long or as short as they need. Also some little known facts about realtor’s and our commission is that it gets cut up like a birthday cake. So whatever you calculate us making, take 33% out for taxes, take another 30% out for our brokerage cut, take fee’s out for our license, and then expenses. The way I relate this to a lot of non 1099-ers is imagine if you got paid all of your month’s salary on the first day of the next month, now budget for all of the deductions, and then your life.
Myth: Aren’t all real estate agents the same?
Fact: Hell to the no! If you get nothing else out of this blog please know this, our industry has ethics and standards for your privacy and protection but that’s where the similarities end. There are what we call discount real estate agents, who just process the deal with no due diligence, no promise of excellence, no knowledge or skill set, and no education. They don’t care if your house is over priced, underpriced, or if you overpay for a home-all they are looking to do is a collect a check. Then there are the middle of the pack, transactional agents, who will put some effort into a listing but are very procedural about it. No problem solving skills, won’t be honest if a client is making a miss-step, and generally doesn’t care if a client gets what they want. Then you have your full service agents (AKA us) who have an abundance of resources to help move transactions along with the highest level of customer service. Our goal is to be a one stop shop for our clients, from contractors, to legal advice, preferred vendors, and staging- we bring it all. There’s also full transparency and honesty with our clients. If there is a reason a house isn’t selling we are going to tell you why, and bring a solution to fix the problem. We understand the client is investing in us, and we attempt to exceed the industry standard.
Myth: All you do is take pictures and hang a sign
Fact: We do it all. I have cleaned clients houses, I have watched pet’s, held babies, hung art, and the list goes on. I will do whatever my client needs me to do. I try to be the real estate fairy godmother- where when I show up I am there to turn their house (if needed) into the damn Cinderella at the ball. The presentation of your home to the market is the biggest determining factor in getting it sold, and this is where we shine! Both, Ally and I, know what the home needs to look like and to be honest sometimes our clients don’t, so we step in and make sure the magic happens. It’s probably one of the most exciting and fun parts of our job. Along with staging and home prep, we also hold open houses, counsel our clients, sometimes console our clients, negotiate, administrate the contract, market the home, and manage any vendor relationships.
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) reported 87% of all new agents fail after five years in the industry and only 13% make it. Agents don’t leave the industry because they made too much money, no, they leave the industry because they didn’t make any. When I finally decided it was time to live out my dream job and leave the security of a 9-5, I was terrified, excited, and felt so lucky to do something I loved every day. But as someone who worked in more traditional industries and job roles, I didn’t anticipate or realize the level of backlash I would get as a realtor. This has come from friends, family, strangers, you name it, everyone seems to have an opinion on real estate and my job (mostly negative and insulting). I’m almost used to it at this point, but I decided to write this blog as an attempt to dispel the common misconceptions. Maybe it wouldn’t be as offensive if it wasn’t my dream job, maybe if I wasn’t attempting excellence in an industry with low standards, but then again I chose this- and am so happy I did.
On the flip side I have also been overwhelmed by support from other family, friends, and clients. We have to rely on you to trust us, refer us, and that is something I will never take for granted. It is truly humbling when you build a business from scratch and see others support it. There is no better validation to the work we are putting in then when you send us business. Real estate is a lot like sports and works off of momentum- when there is forward movement with positivity there is nothing that can’t be overcome. This is true for working through a transaction or expanding our client base.
If you’ve ever thought about going into Real Estate or are one of those people going around pretending you’re a real estate agent because you binge watched HGTV- you better love what you do- because it is a demanding job that takes over every aspect of your life- again- I count myself lucky to do what I love- but as Tom Hanks said about baseball in a League of Their Own – “It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, then everyone would do it.”