Secrets of agents
Before I got my real estate license, everything I knew about the job came from Million Dollar Listing, House Hunters and Modern Family. I thought I’d be living a ~v fancy life~ like Josh Altman. I thought my clients would see three places and pick one. I thought my face would appear on bus benches à la Phil Dunphy.
I learned very quickly that reality and television are two very different things. Here’s the truth about my role when I’m representing a buyer:
I work for you. I have one motive, and that is to get you the lowest price and fairest terms possible. I represent your best interests and do not serve anyone else — not the seller, not my company, not your mom, not your signifiant other, not your dog. If you’re the one signing the contract, you are my primary responsibility and focus. I am your fiduciary.
I cost nothing. In Illinois, the seller pays commission. Both the seller’s realtor and buyer’s realtor are paid at closing, and that money comes out of the seller’s pocket. The realtors each give a portion to our respective companies. In total, the money gets split four times, but all you need to know is that it never comes out of your pocket.
I have access to the MLS. The Multiple Listing Service is the database for real estate. This is where Redfin, Trulia, Zillow and other public sites are pulling information from. There is a time delay between when a home is posted on the MLS and when that home is posted on the feeder sites.
I also have access to off-market properties. The top 10% of realtors in the city are allowed access to Top Agent Network, a database for off-market properties and pocket listings. This is an excellent and exclusive tool, and it is especially useful in a competitive market.
I am your confidant and therapist. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve spent on the phone with tearful clients. Maybe their offer didn’t get chosen or maybe they got cold feet. My job in these moments is to emotionally support my clients. There is always another property, and if one is meant to be, it will be.
I am a professional negotiator. The list price is not always the right price. Be sure you’re working with someone who knows how to play the right cards.