Let’s face it, everyone either knows a real estate agent, or is connected to one through six (probably less) degrees of separation. Between friends and relatives, and the stereotypical representation of real estate agents on television and in pop culture, the general public has adopted some false assumptions about agents that are very far from the truth.
Here are ten things that people assume about real estate agents that just aren’t true:
1. They make “easy money”
HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH. The only people who could ever possibly make the case that being an agent is an easy way to make money are those who have never done it. It’s very uncertain work – many things, be them clients, negotiations, or prospects, never pan out. Regardless of the amount of time, effort, or money you put in. There are some clients that are “easy money”. But they aren’t the norm.
2. They are required to show you houses even if you’re not pre-approved
There are definitely agents who will show you houses without a pre-approval (or at minimum a pre-qualification), but an agent is not required to, and most experienced agents probably won’t. The ability to qualify for financing dictates whether or not a deal is even possible, so an agent is simply saving you from disappointment (or worse) by asking you to get pre-approved. That said, you can always check out homes on the market for free
3. Zillow is more accurate than they are
Zillow is like a Credit Karma. It’s great for tracking the overall trend of your home value or credit score, but you don’t rely on it for a truly accurate representation. It would be wonderful if Zillow (and similar websites) were accurate in their home valuations, but if you compared their results to actual appraised values, in most cases you’d burst out laughing. Real estate agents want you to get as much money as possible for your house, but oftentimes reality gets in the way. Trust your realtor to give you a fair market assessment for your house…at least more than you trust Zillow.
4. They make huge commissions
The popular real estate flipping shows on cable, and Million Dollar Listing have given everyone the impression that real estate agents are rolling in the dough. Most real estate agents wish that this was true, but reality is much different. The median Central Florida existing sale price was $236,500, which means after splitting the commission and paying their broker, an agent took home about $4,000 on the transaction. That’s before including all marketing, related expenses, and taxes. As a monthly income, this adds up to about $48,000 per year on the gross. Not exactly huge and definitely one of the biggest false assumptions about real estate agents.
5. They’re an unnecessary evil
Many people have made the argument that real estate agents are unnecessary and are merely an impediment to a more efficient “For sale by owner” model of real estate. I will be the first to tell you that real estate agents are a convenience. They aren’t necessary any more than your accountant, lawyer, or pizza delivery person. But they provide a service and are paid for their expertise. You can try selling your home yourself (and some people are very capable of it), but you’ll need to understand negotiation, how escrow works, Fair Housing Laws, the closing process, inspections, appraisal, and a whole other multitude of intricacies and legal matters that come with being an experienced agent. If you get a cut, you can put in your own stitches — but wouldn’t you rather trust an expert?
6. They’re sleazy
Unfortunately, real estate agents have joined the ranks of lawyers, politicians, and salespeople in some of the public’s assumptions about their trustworthiness. The financial collapse of 2008 exacerbated this perception. Thankfully, the market correction also weeded out most of the unsavory elements in the business. The truth is, real estate agents are honest, hardworking people, making a living like any other profession. And just like any other profession, there are a few bad apples that unfairly give the others a bad name. You can check my reviews on Facebook by clicking here
7. They’re uneducated
This misconception really gets under most agents’ skin, because not only do many agents have degrees (and advanced degrees in quite a few cases), but the knowledge required to pass a real estate exam is substantial. There are many people who are unable to get their licensing because of an inability to pass the licensing tests. In my case, I’ve worked in law firms and law enforcement and I went to school for finance and economics. I’ve been called many things in my life – but uneducated is not one of them.
8. They want you to pay more for a house so they can make more money
If you truly looked at the math involved in calculating real estate commissions, you’d never utter this falsehood again. An agent getting you to pay $10,000 more for a property will net that agent approximately $200 (again before taxes), which barely covers the cost of gas required to drive to and from your appointments. The truth is that an agent absolutely wants you to buy a house. What’s not true is that they want you to pay more for one.
9. They’re mostly part-timers or bored housewives
There are 2.7 million Realtors in the United States. That’s just Realtors, meaning there are likely more people with real estate licenses that decided not to become a Realtor (yes they are two different things). Are there many part-timers or bored housefolk, or people just “earning a side hustle”? Yes. Emphatically yes. But you aren’t obligated to use those people. Find that full-time agent who is successful and will help you with your real estate needs the best.
10. All they want from you is the deal
Yes, agents want your business. But true professional real estate agents want to be your lifelong real estate advisor. I want you to become part of the Celt Family! Whenever you or your family and friends have any real estate questions or need a referral you say, “Hey, this dude in a kilt is who you need”. I truly want you to think of me as a family friend. And that’s how I conduct my business. The money from a sale is temporary. Relationships, if cultivated, are forever.