Realtors get paid way too much money, and they hardly work, right? Tell me how you feel about that question after you read this article. Most Realtors work on negotiation strategies behind-the-scenes. Providing their clients with solutions is the goal, not a lot of “what if” noise. You are the decision-maker. Realtors do this intentionally, as they understand that their client’s time is valuable.
Homebuyers and sellers hire realtors to help them purchase a home or to sell a house so that they’re not bothered with the day-to-day intricacies. As a result, many clients don’t see how much work goes into a deal and will sometimes question the real estate broker’s commission. Most people will never realize that a real estate agent works all day, especially on the weekends, and is always on the clock twenty-four seven. The best real estate agents predict clients’ needs and exceed expectations.
The Life of a Respected L.A. Realtor
One of the most useful things a Realtor can offer a client is their neighborhood knowledge. Knowing the best neighborhoods in the Los Angeles area to recommend to a client is something developed over time. When a client asks their real estate agent to find them a 3,000 square ft, four-bedroom house with a pool in a great school district near Echo Park for less than $1,100,000.00, they can come back pretty quick with the top listings.
This way, the homebuyer can see which they like best. Top realtors can also communicate when their client’s purchase or sales expectations aren’t in line with the current market condition.
To help provide insight into the work-life of a Los Angeles real estate agent, we have listed a few key Realtor responsibilities below. Please note that this post is only a fraction of the tasks that realtors are responsible for handling. However, every transaction is unique, and there is so much that goes into each one, so it would be impossible to list every detail without putting you to sleep. We hope that this offers some insight into the duties involved in completing a real estate deal in Los Angeles, California.
What Does a Realtor Do for A Buyer?
Real estate homebuyer specialists are working specifically in the best interest of the buyer. It’s highly recommended to have your own representation when drafting an offer to purchase a new home.
Research Homes For Sale
Your real estate broker will most-likely first meet with you in-person or speak over the phone to discuss what you want in your next home. This will include your budget, ideal square footage, bedroom/bath count, backyard size, neighborhood, and more. After learning about your property goals, they will then conduct several hours of research to find Los Angeles homes for sale that meet your criteria. But, this is easier said than done!
Finding homes that meet all of your criteria can pose quite a challenge. Your agent may need to have an additional conversation with you to ensure that you have realistic purchase price goals in mind. There aren’t anymore $400,000.00 homes in Los Feliz left. That boat sailed in the 1990s.
Helps You Find a Reputable Mortgage Lender
Your realtor can put you in touch with a trusted lender who can assist in obtaining a mortgage. Although you will want to save most mortgage-related questions for conversations with your lender, your realtor will also serve as a reliable guide and sounding board. They will also help you understand the differences between a mortgage broker, a direct lender, and loan officer.
Coordinates a Tour of each Property
After your real estate agent sends you a list of
properties for sale in Los Angeles, you will let them know which ones you are interested in viewing. Your agent will then coordinate times to tour homes with the various listing agents, during open houses, or on private tours using a Supra Key or combo lockbox.
Scheduling a tour of multiple properties can be time-intensive and challenging to organize, especially considering that your agent is working around your schedule and the schedules of numerous sellers/seller’s agents at a variety of properties. It’s a juggling act – to say the least.
Submits a complete offer package
After you find the home you wish to buy, your agent will conduct careful research to determine a fair and competitive offer price. Sellers will occasionally accept offers below the listing price. Therefore, a good agent will do the research necessary to ensure that the offer you make is considered reasonable.
To do this, the buyer’s agent will run an analysis of comparable properties so that the offer you present to the sellers is in-line with the purchase price of similar homes in recent months. Your agent will ensure that you aren’t overpaying for the property and that your offer is reasonable.
On the other hand, if the property is a hot property picked up on Zillow, Trulia, or Redfin, it could have multiple offers. If that is the case, it’s smart to work with a realtor who regularly works on both sides of a deal with either buyers and sellers. It’s important the agent you decide to work with is a buyers specialist and top listing agent.
Assistance with the Home Inspections and Repair Negotiates
After a sale price is approved and the agreement is signed, a property inspection will take place to determine if there are any defects in the home. Sometimes homebuyers will elect to do multiple inspections, which could include general, foundation, sewer line, termite, and retrofit.
This will give the buyers a clean snapshot of the property condition and any deferred maintenance. If anything is in the inspection reports that you were unaware-of when placing the offer, such as leaky faucets or broken garage door openers. Your agent will be in a position to negotiate the cost of the repairs with the seller’s agent, and often the seller will agree to pay repairs or agree to a price reduction. Still, it will likely take persuading on your agent’s part to negotiate a seller credit or a price reduction.
Appraisal and Loan Contingencies
The home appraisal is performed by a third party company, which is ordered by the lender and paid for by the homebuyer. A top agent will work closely with the appraiser helping to pull recent sale comparable properties (COMPS). The agent will also have a clear line of communication with the lender. This way, if any conditions are outstanding on the buyer’s loan approval, the realtor can assist the homebuyer in jumping through the necessary hoops. This will ensure an on-time closing.
Conduct a Final Walk-through and Attend Closing
Your agent will attend the final walk-through with you to guarantee that all agreed-upon repairs in the home are done. If you or your realtor notice any remaining defects that were promised to be repaired but weren’t – your agent can reach out to the seller’s agent. This will include any new defects or damages which weren’t disclosed or easily identified because of the seller’s personal possessions hiding them. Like large furniture is hard to see around. This will ensure that you are adequately compensated for the costs of the repairs. In extreme cases where a considerable amount of work was left uncompleted, the closing may be postponed.
What Does a Realtor Do for A Seller?
Once a seller and broker decide to work together, the listing agreement is signed. Before the home is posted for sale on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), a top listing agent has preparation work to do. The below is a short list any smart realtor completes before listing the property.
Property Punch List
In order for your home to sell for the most money, it should be shown in it’s best light. The goal of a realtor is to make the house as desirable as possible. This could mean renovation, hauling away trash, rearranging furniture, full staging, landscaping, painting, the list goes on and on. The point is to make sure you keep a running list.
Staging a Home for Sale
Before touring prospective buyers through the house, the listing agent should offer guidance on which pieces of furniture should remain in your home and which should be removed. As well as how to perfectly stage the inside and outside of your home. This is to make sure the house is more appealing to prospective buyers. Your agent may take measurements of each room (or have a professional floor plan designer do it) so that the square footage is accurately documented. The agent may give you landscaping advice or bring over potted plants to bring the exterior or interior to life.
It’s very important to create the lifestyle and vibe the prospective buyer is looking for. These, coupled with professional photography, will attract 40 – 60% more foot traffic to the public open houses and broker open houses.
Every great listing has professional photography. Thirty-five to forty-five high-resolution pictures of the home is industry standard. Shooting every room in the house by multiple perspectives is smart. The more details, the better. Some special houses for sale are showcased with aerial drone footage and custom websites too. To make homes and lots appear larger photographers are using wide-angle lenses. This is a useful trick which attracts more prospective home buyers to the open houses and requesting private tours.
Determining an Appropriate Asking-Price
Determining a sale price typically requires several hours of market research and sales analysis. Before setting a sale price, Realtors spend considerable time reviewing comparable properties. This involves identifying similar homes (size, character, etc.) that have recently sold in your neighborhood. Agents will do a thorough analysis of the price per square foot, bedroom/bath count, upgrades, and other factors that weigh in on the final sales price.
If you live in a remote area of Los Angeles county, pricing the home can pose even more of a challenge. After a sale asking price is determined, your agent will discuss the number with you to make sure you are comfortable with listing your home at that price before it is listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Puts Your Home on the Market
Once your property is listed on the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), your real estate broker will be the point of contact for all of the home buyers and their agents. It’s important your agent has all of their contact information on the listing. The agent should provide their cell phone number, office number, and email address. You’ll want to be sure to hire a real estate broker who works seven days a week and is available for private showings. The first two weeks for sale, your home will grab the most money.
Schedule Showings and Open Houses
Your agent will make themselves readily available to host open houses and show your home on days, nights, or even weekends. In addition to working around their schedule, your agent must also coordinate with your schedule, the buyer’s schedule, and the buyer’s agent’s schedule. That’s really a lot of coordinating!
Marketing The Property
Realtors spend considerable money out-of-pocket marketing your property. Marketing often includes social media posts, digital advertising campaigns, print advertising, event networking, and other marketing channels. Marketing is expensive and time-consuming, but it is a necessary component to make sure as many prospective buyers see your home as possible.
Negotiates The Buyers Offer
If a buyer puts in an offer below the asking price, the listing agent is responsible for helping you determine if it is worthwhile to accept the offer or counter. The same is true if your home receives dozens of offers with some above the asking price. Your agent will give you advice on which offer to accept or which agents should receive a seller multiple counter offer (SMCO).
This counteroffer is the best tool to keep your seller in the negotiation driver seat. Either way, the cookie crumbles, the value consideration stage typically involves more research on your agent’s behalf, as they will need to provide comparables explaining why you should take the offer or counter offer. Negotiating a deal often takes considerable time and can require several hours of back-and-forth between your agent and the buyer’s agent to work out a concession everyone is happy about.
The Property Inspection
After the offer on your home is accepted, the buyer’s agent most likely will order multiple property inspections. This involves coordinating a time that works best for you, the inspector, buyer, and buyer’s agent. Your agent isn’t required to attend the inspection, but the buyer’s agent should, and most likely, the buyers will. A top-producing real estate listing agent will be present for all of the buyer’s inspections, whether they are representing the buyer or not.
The listing agent should see and hear the inspectors’ comments right away. This clear line of communication between the inspectors and your agent will ensure that you are aware of any deferred maintenance issues or any other property defects which could affect the selling price of the home.
Negotiate Any Needed Repairs
After the inspections are completed, the buyers may ask for a closing seller credit or a price reduction. If this happens, the buyer’s agent will send your agent a Request for Repair document (RR), which outlines what the buyer is asking the seller. At that time, you’ll be given a copy of the reports completed. Your real estate broker will review all of the findings and share thoughts with you about how to respond. A talented realtor will know the difference between what’s real and what’s inflated. A good rule of thumb is to estimate new property systems to be $7,500.00. At the end of the day, if repairs are needed, you may need to pay for them to keep the deal together.
Verifies the Appraisal
If you have an offer from someone to buy your home for $950,000, but the appraisal comes in low and indicates that your home is only worth $800,000, this can be a momentary setback. Lenders will only offer mortgages to buyers up to the appraised amount, minus the down payment. But don’t panic because a great real agent will be there to provide options to you and the buyer’s agent.
There are other alternatives available beyond what is listed below, but your agent may likely offer one of the following solutions:
- Discuss the option to reduce the sale price
- Work with the buyer’s agent to have their customer make up the difference in cash
- Dispute the appraisal or request a second one (desk appraisal).
Loan Approval Period
A prequalification and preapproval are good first and second necessary steps when buying a home. But the major hurdle is full loan approval. This happens through underwriting when all the lender conditions are met. A good listing real estate agent will keep in touch with the buyer’s lender. This is important so you know how the buyer’s loan is coming along. If any items are outstanding or if the loan isn’t able to close on time, you’ll know immediately.
After removing the physical, appraisal, and loan contingencies and all the necessary repairs are completed, it is time for you to prepare the closing. Depending upon which state the property is located that you’re selling, attorneys may need to be present at the closing or working directly with the escrow or title officer. Selling a home in Los Angeles typically involves a listing broker, a selling broker (or buyer’s agent), a title representative, and an escrow officer. The buyer’s loan is funded, and the rest of the buyer’s closing funds are wired into escrow. The following day the title representative physically stands in line at the county recording office. Once the chain of title is updated, the house is officially sold.
Talk To a Trusted Realtor in L.A.’s Highland Park
Glenn Shelhamer is a nationally recognized Real Estate leader who has been helping people move in and out of the Los Angeles area for many years.
He is also the team lead of The Shelhamer Real Estate Group. When Glenn’s not selling real estate he can be found spending time with his beautiful wife and two terrific kids.