People often tell me they want to become a real estate agent because they love to look at houses. But real estate agents don’t just spend their days looking at homes. Of course most full time real estate agents look at homes in their neighborhoods each week. Each community has a Broker’s Tour Day (Broker’s Caravan).
Tuesday: Foothills of La Canada and La Crescenta
Thursday: Pasadena and the San Gabriel Valley, and Burbank
Friday: Sunland/Tujunga, Toluca Lake and the San Fernando Valley
Broker’s Caravan ranges from 2-4 hours depending on the location. New listings and price reductions of 5% or more are eligible for caravan. Typically the listing agent, or an assistant will be hosting the broker’s open, (doors are unlocked, lights are on) and the homes can be viewed without an appointment. In some instances, potential home buyers visit unaccompanied by their Realtor, but some homeowners or listing agents may not allow unaccompanied buyers at the Broker’s Open.
Many homes are listed in the MLS for several days, but not available for showing until the “reveal” which is caravan day. If your home is soon to be on the market, or currently listed but not selling, this is a great way for you and your real estate agent to check out your competition.
So each Tuesday, Joe and I set out for Broker’s Caravan. Sometimes we will add Pasadena or Burbank on Thursday, or Glendale on Wednesday or Toluca Lake on Friday. Prior to listing Palm in Burbank, I added Burbank’s Broker’s Tour to my weekly calendar. But if we spent all week viewing new listings we couldn’t follow up on our escrows.
While some real estate agents maintain that once a home is sold (under contract) it is the responsibility of escrow and the lender to close but that’s never been my philosophy. Because the escrow process is very complex, Realtors are paid a hefty price to be the ring leader. Just because something is scheduled to occur doesn’t make it so. There is a lot of follow up required. When I was listing and selling hundreds of foreclosures in the 90’s, I had an escrow manager. She was a woman I worked with in the doc (funding) department at Sterling Bank. She was great. But I am no longer closing ten+ escrows a month and I am the one to follow up.
Negotiating inspections takes a lot of time out of a Realtor’s week as well. I have help in the office who can schedule inspections and estimates. When representing a buyer I typically meet them and their inspector at the home, but there are often additional estimates and inspections.
Whether working for a buyer or a seller the inspection renegotiation is complex and exhausting. Then there is the appraisal appointment; when representing the seller, I spend several hours accumulating comps, neighborhood information and other data for the appraiser. A couple of hours spent upfront can save tens of hours rebutting an inaccurate appraisal.
So for those of you who simply like to look at houses, this may not be the career for you. For those seriously considering a career in real estate be prepared for long hours, lots of patience, some stress and disappointment. But there is little more rewarding than seeing the smile on a new homeowner’s face. Yes, I love making real estate dreams come true.