The other night, I was watching one of the many real estate shows on Netflix. I know you've all watched these series showing glamorous agents selling houses in mere hours or days, and then moving on to the next one. It all looks so easy, and those glamorous brokers are in heels too! Even I am impressed with how calm, cool, and collected they are with each deal, because that just isn't real life.  The truth is that reality is not quite as glamorous, but it is probably even more rewarding than you would think.

Recently I've had so many people say to me, “wow, it’s a great time to be a real estate agent!”. For the top performers (and I will humbly put myself in that category) it is always a great time, but only because we have always worked hard. That hard work pays off when we finally make it to the finish line. However, being paid at closing is truly the last thing we think of because there are so many important steps to get there. One misstep, and a deal can fall apart instantly. So this week, I thought some insight into the real world of a selling agent may be helpful!

First of all, selling houses in New England is done with a good coat and flat shoes. There is the occasional wedge heel that I will throw in to mix things up! I know of one Realtor around here who wears heels, and she’s a rock star in her 80’s. The rest of us would have a hard time in the snow, rain, or sleet,  climbing stairs dozens of times a day while navigating a stunning Jimmy Choo heel. If we can get away with a stylish sneaker that’s a win.

To be a listing agent is exciting these days, but it’s an early sprint that turns into a marathon. Thoughtful sellers are still putting in hard work to get their houses ready for the market, and I am in the backdrop managing that process with painters, stagers, organizers, landscapers, photographers, and floor plans. All of these resources were used to get the result pictured here - a very worthy investment!

All of this takes time, and not to mention the energy that homeowners put into the decision to move. It is a major life milestone, and not something I have ever seen someone take lightly. Some houses do sell in days after all of the preparation work and dozens of showings from morning to evening. Other properties don’t sell right away. Counseling clients, strategizing price, and staying on top of marketing is something I take very seriously. Sellers and buyers are on my mind day and night, and I know when they are in the game the feeling is mutual. In many cases I am helping sellers build wealth through the sale of their home, and that’s a big responsibility seven days a week.

Once a house sells and we have signed the purchase and sale contract, that doesn’t mean I am out of the picture.  You know the scary background music in a film when a potential villain approaches? Well... these days, that’s what we hear when the appraiser walks into a house armed with their measuring tape and notepad. Appraisers are great people - but they aren’t in every listing like we are, and don’t know what houses are going to trade for if they haven’t closed yet. In such a fast moving market with soaring prices, you have to question; will they take into account the other comparable properties that also sold for 20% over the listing price, or will they not see the value and send a report that is under the agreed upon price? It’s happened to me recently, and it is not fun. Managing this step in the process is critical these days to help move a deal forward. 

The dance to get to closing includes smoke inspections, final utility readings, buyer visits, furniture sales, and a final walk through. The last time a buyer walks through their new home before they send the money to the seller is a hold-your-breath moment for agents. We pray that the seller took the time to really clean their home after they've moved out.. The P&S states a house has to be “broom clean”,  a mere sweep and that’s it.  But can you imagine walking into your new house and having to deal with the previous owner's dirty fridge, toilet, and stove? You will hear a collective sigh of relief from the agents when we walk into a home that is sparkling and clean. It makes for a good closing, and well worth the time or money the seller used to get that result. Essentially, the golden rule applies! Too many times we are at the closing table scrambling to find a cleaner because the buyer is upset. That can easily be avoided so that everyone can move forward. Finish line reached!

So, yes - it takes lots of work and a thoughtful strategy to put a house on the market, even today. Houses don’t sell themselves like you see on TV and that’s where I come in- in practical shoes of course :) See below for this week's market numbers and mortgage rates!


To all who celebrate, we wish you a happy Passover and happy Easter this weekend!