While those are certainly essential, the agent’s role is far more complex and requires a great variety of skill sets. Here are some of the many “hats” an agent “wears” when working with their client to buy or sell a home.
Client Services Hat
A top priority and critical element is to be prepared to provide a wide range of support services for clients, beyond the basic fulfillment of the fiduciary role an agent must honor and uphold to their best ability.
People need to know of the agent and his or her qualifications for being entrusted with perhaps the people’s greatest financial asset.
Real estate is actually a business that needs to be professionally run. It includes most of the functions involved in other businesses such as sufficient financing, necessary equipment and office space, systems for the major activities, etc.
Property Preparation Hat
Whether offering just a few basic recommendations or providing home staging coordination, a home is always going to be sold with better terms and higher profits if it has first been professionally prepared.
The agent must have an intimate knowledge of the neighborhood and history of sales and statistics of homes somewhat comparable to their listing. They will be at a significant disadvantage if they have not yet developed basic negotiation skills, mastered the art of helping to overcome challenges that may arise, or the skills involved in demonstrating higher value.
Once they have helped to generate a purchase offer, the agent will need to be able to help both sides come together in agreement. They may also need to anticipate aspects of the potential transaction that could lead to later friction and possible re-negotiations.
Hand-Holding and Problem-Solving Hat
Whether representing the seller of the buyer, a seasoned agent will have experienced a wide variety of surprises, challenges, problems, emotions and personal issues, family disagreements, last-minute situations or emergencies, etc. His or her role will require the skills of a counselor or therapist.
Escrow Management Hat
Many years ago an escrow involved several pages of contract term and escrow details, with one or two loan options, usually a general home inspection, and a standard 30-day closing period. Transactions today are far more involved, including over hundreds of pages of contract and escrow documents, a myriad of inspection reports and repair estimates before removing contingencies.
Time Management Hat
There often just aren’t enough hours in the day for an agent to handle and complete all of the necessary activities to successfully wear all of the above hats. Many agents seem to wear most of these hats well, although it may require several years to become proficient in all of the roles involved. Professional coaches and training programs are available to assist agents in learning how to develop better skills and be able to wear more of the hats more effectively and consistently.