When a professional real estate agent tells someone that they are in the real estate business, the average person thinks he or she is talking to a professional salesperson. While that’s true, guiding homebuyers and sellers through the sales process is only one of the tasks that the modern real estate agent performs. There are a number of other hats they wear during the course of their busy days.
Business Owner: It’s true that most agents work under a licensed broker and use that company name on their business cards. In a very real sense they are running their own businesses. In most cases, they are ultimately responsible for all of the decisions that any other small business owner would have to make. For most agents, the relationship with their brokers boils down to a rent expense and a fee paid for the affiliation.
Marketing Director: The broker may provide some branding in the community, but few will actively promote individual agents unless they are top performers or have paid for the privilege. This means that every agent has to drive his or her own business through self-generated marketing efforts. For most companies, this is a full-time job, but for the agent, it’s just another role to fill.
Social Media Manager: Increasingly, social media is becoming the tool that’s allowing agents to remain visible in their communities, but it’s far from a “set it and forget it” tool. It requires active monitoring, frequent posting and consumer interaction, all in a fashion that is compliant with all current regulations. Another role that could easily become a full-time position.
Webmaster: The agent’s website can be a page on the brokers site, but that rarely provides the kind of interactive marketing power that is accessible to today’s online businesses. Real estate is a challenging business, but having an online presence is becoming even more important as the next generation of homebuyers comes of age. Remember, these kids have never lived in a world without the Internet!
Chief Technology Officer: There are so many excellent technologies available to independent professionals today that a tech-savvy real estate agent can appear to be everywhere at once to the consumer. But to find those tools; integrate them with existing platforms—especially those required by the broker—train the staff to use them and then keep them updated to avoid intrusion or loss of data can quickly become overwhelming.
Property Superintendent: Most consumers don’t realize that when an agent posts a sign in a front yard, often bearing the agent’s smiling face and phone number, that agent becomes the go-to person to call whenever anything goes wrong at that address. Stories abound in our industry about agents called in the middle of the night by neighbors or passers-by for everything from a storm-blown garbage bin to missing pets to nefarious individuals skulking through the neighborhood. Working agents know exactly what we’re talking about.
So, given all of this, how does the modern real estate agent make it in this business? By choosing the right partners, for one thing. The right team makes all the difference. Sometimes that means internal staffers the agent hires, but quite often it means third-party service providers that know how to take on some of these roles, freeing up the agent to be the salesperson most folks see them as.