Five Job Duties

In “Realtor Job Description,” I summarized what good agents do in their capacity as a “Listing agent” (representing Sellers) and as a “Buyer’s agent” representing . . . . (obvious, right?  Except that after closing, the Buyer’s Agent is referred to as the “Selling agent”).

In this post, I’ll discuss modern Realtors’ five different job duties, at least as I see them.

to doOne. Doing deals.  Includes finding either the home (as a Buyer’s agent) or the Buyer (as a listing agent), doing Comp’s, writing up the offer, presenting and negotiating it, etc.

Call that part of the job “playing offense.”

Which leads to Job Duty #2, “playing defense,” also known as . . .

Two. Keeping deals together.  That is, navigating the various obstacles that can pop up once there’s what Realtors call “Final Acceptance” (when the last signature hits the last blank line, and the executed contract is constructively delivered, i.e., sent to the other agent).

The most common issues that sink deals are either inspection-related or financing-related.

For example, the Buyer and Seller can’t agree on how much to reduce the price because the roof needs to be replaced — or can’t even agree that it does need to be replaced.

Three. Landing new business.  The ideal is a nice distribution of early stage deals, mid-stage deals, and closings (yes!).

The reality is . . . a bit different.

It’s a cliché, but the time to be attending to new business is when you’re already busy — not once you’ve slowed down and suddenly have time for it.

Four.  “Home prep.”  What you immediately begin doing once you land new business — specifically, listings.

Involves walking the owner through suggested repairs/updates; overseeing the municipal inspection (if any); getting staging, photography, pre-list marketing, etc. up-and-running; and walking the Seller through the various required legal disclosures, etc.

And doubling back for any overlooked paperwork (see Step #5), like the “Withhold from MLS” form that’s almost always needed these days.

Forms, Forms, Forms (or “Necessary Evils”)

Which leaves the bête noire of most Realtors, myself included:  dreaded Step #5, consisting of miscellaneous paperwork, housekeeping, etc.

I don’t really care whether the process is paper-driven or electronic today; the actual number of steps in a standard real estate transaction (never mind unusual one) yellowcertainly hasn’t gone down in the last 5 years or so (to saying nothing of 20 years ago).

More anecdotally, neither has the amount of my handwritten notes documenting same, on yellow legal notepads no less (a carryover from my lawyer days).

At each step of the deal, from signing on a new client to writing an offer to resolving any Inspection issues, there are corresponding forms, client signatures, net sheets (my particular bugaboo), worksheets, etc.

In each deal, there will also be the inevitable “clean-up process,” which consists of doubling back for any missed documentation (marshaling same would be the job description of another key real estate job:  Office Administrator, or “OA”).

So, what do Realtors prefer to spend their time on?

Here’s my order:  Step #1, Step #3, Step #2, and dead last, Step #4.

Call me crazy, but I actually like Listing Presentations (a key part of Step #3).

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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