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Myths about Real Estate Agents
Unless you’ve worked closely with an agent – especially if you have done a long-term house search – you may not know how hard they work, how many hours they put in, and how much they have to know and be responsible for to do their jobs.
Yet some people consider this career choice an easy one, leading to a life of luxury. Sure, there are some successful realtors dealing only with luxury real estate that may seem to be living the dream, but in truth, most realtors work a ton of hours for their success.
Let’s look at some myths that a lot of people believe.
1. Agents make a lot of money. The truth is, a six-figure income is not the norm. In all honesty, the six-figure income is not the norm in the real estate business. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, the median gross income of REALTORS® was $42,500 in 2016, which has actually decreased from 2014’s average income of $45,800. Many agents seem to enter the business due to this common misconception, and a real estate coach, Tom Ferry, estimates that 87 percent of agents quit within the first five years.
Also, agents typically split their commissions with the realtor representing the buyer or seller, depending on the situation. They may also sacrifice part of their commissions if a buyer is on the fence, to reduce closing costs or sweeten the deal.
2. Real estate sales are easy. The opposite is true! Think about this: agents get calls at any time, day or night, often from anxious or irritated clients who are in the stressful position of making potentially life-changing decisions. Real estate shows on TV make it look like clients see a couple houses, pick one, and boom, there’s the commission. But the truth is, some clients will see over 50 houses and then not purchase one, or be in escrow and the deal falls through. Not to mention the ongoing training most states require for agents to stay updated on the laws.
Agents must also handle and pay for their own marketing, like campaigns, specialty websites, open houses, brochures, and yes, social media too, like this Facebook page.
3. They have flexible schedules and don’t have to work a lot to make money. Yes, the schedules are flexible, without regular office hours. But like with any self-employment, there is no sick pay or paid vacations. If you don’t work, you don’t get paid. And be prepared to work weekends and evenings, which may be the busiest times for agents, especially if their clients have full-time jobs.
4. Being an agent doesn’t require any skill. Actually, real estate agents must know and follow state and federal laws or they risk losing their licenses, and they must follow a Code of Ethics enforced by the National Association of Realtors. Agents must know how to read contracts, how to explain nuanced details to clients, and guide them through an emotional transaction. They must have excellent people skills, empathy, patience, AND the education required for the job itself.
If you’re considering buying a new home, keep these myths in mind. Your agent is working for you and will have your back during a process that can be highly emotional or stressful.