A day in the life of a real estate agent


You may have heard a lot about the booming real estate market and the lack of homes available for purchase, but what about the people in the real estate industry, what are they doing?

The good ones are scrambling. The capital region and the country as a whole are in a seller’s market, meaning sellers have the upper hand. This is the result of high demand and low inventory. While this is good news for sellers, every market has its own challenges and there are steps between building a listing and closing a deal: preparation (decluttering), marketing, visits, offer, negotiations , inspection included. The real estate agent is at the center of everything.

Judi Gabler, independent broker and owner of Gabler Realty in Delmar, oversees 20 agents. Her phone is in her hand as soon as she wakes up. Her calendar is filled with tasks, each with alarms so she doesn’t forget anything. Buyers call because a new listing is hitting the market overnight, and they’re in a rush because there’s no time to waste.

“It’s intense. Gone are the days when we could wait to go see a house, or show a client four or five houses in one day,” Gabler said.

Gabler tries to spend time at her desk every day where she answers emails and meets with her agents to offer advice. Once a month they all get together to train. Realtors must log 22.5 hours of continuing education each year and renew their license every two years.

Gabler takes calls around the clock, arranges inspections, helps sellers prepare to sell, and talks to attorneys. Gabler and his agents create spreadsheets for each ad to track both progress and offers. This helps them see the status of each transaction at a glance and find another buyer if a sale fails.

“It’s a highly organized system. I’m a control freak,” Gabler said. Last week, the Gabler team had 26 active listings and 68 pending sales. So far in 2022, they’ve closed 100 sales and $31.5 million in business.

“Every time an agent walks into the office and says things are slow, I tell them to catch up on their personal lives because the downturn won’t last,” Gabler said.

In this market, selling agents often see several offers and try to help their customers choose the best one. Sellers are not required to choose the highest offer, said Laura Burns, president of the Greater Capital Association of Realtors. Several factors influence the bid chosen by a seller. Sellers who need to stay in the house for a while after the sale can choose a flexible buyer willing to rent the property to them – or a seller can choose a cash offer rather than someone who is financing the transaction or has to sell another property before you have the money to buy again.

Buyer’s agents help their clients deal with disappointment.

“I have buyers who have lost 10 to 15 bids,” longtime broker Brian Brosen said. “Sometimes the nature of the loan they’re working with makes them less attractive. I have a buyer who started looking for low-priced homes so we had room to put together an offer. I’ve had buyers who have expanded the area they are willing to search in. Three weeks ago my buyer exceeded the bid for a home by $41,000 and still lost.

“I’m pretty direct with my clients and make sure they’re informed about the state of the market,” Brosen said. “There are tips and tricks – for example, waiving the dollar threshold during the inspection (usually an inspector will point out any problem in the house that will cost more than $1,500 to fix, but a buyer can offer to increase the limit) or volunteer to pay the transfer fee for the seller. When it’s over, I don’t want people to feel like if they have the house, they get shaken up and paid in too much. If they lose, they know we did everything we could.

There are real estate brokers and real estate sellers. Both undergo training – 77 hours for salespeople and 152 hours for brokers and pass tests before the state grants them a license. Brokers are the legal representative of a buyer or a seller. While brokers work independently, a salesperson (also called an agent) represents the broker and must work under the supervision of a broker in order to be licensed. The sellers are independent contractors and derive their income from the broker. They are not employees of the company name on their business card – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices for example or Howard Hanna. Rather, it is an affiliation and brokers pay franchise fees for the use of brand names.

A Real estate agent is a real estate agent, but a real estate agent is not necessarily a real estate agent. The capital “R” means the agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors, a professional organization.

A seller’s agent (or listing agent) represents someone selling a good. Typically, part of the seller’s agent commission goes to the buyer’s agent. Commission is a percentage of the sale price. If you are looking to put a property on the market, an agent will give you a presentation of the list where they will outline why you should hire them. Expect a description of their experience, expertise, and marketing plan. The seller then signs a contract, which can be renewed in three, six or 12 months, regardless of how long it will take the agent to sell the property. Sellers can choose to extend the contract or hire someone else at the end of the contract.


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