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Answering all those burning questions you didn’t know you had about home ownership.

A Day in the Life of a Real Estate Agent

Picture of Jessica Dabkowski

Jessica Dabkowski

Helping you with all things homeownership!

I’ve been honored to write this blog over the last few years. In the beginning, I promised myself I would keep a laser focus on providing interesting, and more importantly, valuable content to readers. As I found my footing, I’ve let my writing become more personal. I share more pieces of myself so I can better connect with you, and vice-versa.

In this vein, I thought I would share with you a little about a day in the life of a real estate agent. Now, the true beauty of this role is that no two days ever look the exact same, so you’re getting a fictitious compilation of things that have actually happened to me (just not always on the same day!).

My Bossy Ambition

When I lit the match and burned down my previous career ambitions, I swore to myself I would no longer sit behind a desk for 10 hours a day, shoveling food into my mouth at lunchtime sitting over my computer, taking orders I didn’t always agree with and living the same annual performance review cycle year after year. (I was an HR Director. Uh huh.)

Many people don’t realize that agents are independent contractors. What does that mean? I am a small business owner. I do not have an employer who pays me a salary. While I am “affiliated” with my brokerage, I am not a W2 employee with them. (Shout out to Keller Williams Showcase – I love my brokerage family!)

As such, I have to be my own boss. In one respect, this setup is fantastic because I’m working for the smartest person I know. (Just kidding, kinda 😂)

This one’s for you, Gina S.!

In other respects, it’s difficult because I have to be my own sales team, admin, bookkeeper, CEO and cheerleader. When I get discouraged, I don’t have a built-in office team to drag me out for a coffee pick-me-up. Each day I have to self-motivate because I don’t have that outside prompt I would get from having a manager.

On that note, let’s get to a day in the life!

8:30 a.m. Blog Article

I’ve been up for hours at this point, but now my 6 year-old has left the house. I can get down to work without the tiny voice asking why we are out of bagels. If I’m writing a blog article that day, this time of the morning is when I dive in and start the writing process.

It usually takes me about three hours to write up an article for you and stage it to publish on schedule. My articles are not canned, so they take time for me to research and write them in a way that I believe will be useful yet entertaining.

I usually write in my home office or over at Coffee Haus (when I need to get out of the house!). I can frequently be heard giggling to myself as I search for the exact right GIF to accompany the words.

11:15 a.m. Buyer on the Move

When I jump back into my email, I see a client has flagged two homes they would like to tour the next day. This notification sets off a chain of activity for me.

Before a buyer steps foot in a house with me, I’ve completed a series of steps to vet the property. I’ve combed through the pictures to look for client deal breakers or items of concern the client may have missed. One property has the entrance to the patio area through a sliding glass door in one of the smaller bedrooms. This setup won’t work for this client, so after a quick chat we ax it from the list.

For the other property, I comb through the public records, look for any major issues on the seller’s disclosure (e.g. water issues, foundation issues, etc.) and check the map to make sure there aren’t any concerns about the location. Everything looks good so far. I use the scheduling software to request an appointment, but now I have to wait for the seller to approve or decline the appointment.

In the meantime, I print out the one-page summaries for the properties and send a tentative calendar invite to the client. Once the appointment is confirmed, I will firm up.

1:00 p.m. Closing Day

It’s closing day for a pair of my sellers. This sale has been a bit of a hair-raising roller coaster, but they made it to the closing table. We’re all stoked to close this one out.

Even after going through this process so many times, I still find closings stressful. There are a lot of moving pieces going on here, and I can only control my pieces of this puzzle. There are multiple other parties involved: buyers, sellers, an agent for the other side, title representatives, lender representatives, possibly attorneys, etc.

Midway through signing, one of the buyers looks up and says “Was I supposed to bring a check or something?”. Cue the collective intake of breath from every other party at the table. I know my mouth was flopping up and down like a fish as I tried to maintain my professional cool.

The room looked a little like this one.

In this instance, the buyer didn’t wire his down payment . . . which means he hasn’t actually paid for the house . . . which means MY clients aren’t going to sign over the deed to him. (Are you on the edge of your seat?! I was.)

So what happened? It’s honestly not a crazy scenario for all the funds to not show up on time. Sometimes its human error, sometimes the bank is just slow to process the wire request or sometimes the title company sends you wiring instructions at 6 p.m. on a Friday for a 9 a.m. Monday closing (yes, this happened to me personally as a buyer and I will never voluntarily work with this title company again).

In the case of my sellers, the title company had both sides sign all the paperwork, but then held the paperwork until all funds were tendered. This scenario is called “closing in escrow.” Once the funds show up, the title company “breaks escrow”. The paperwork can be filed and the proceeds of the sale are released to the sellers. No harm, no foul (other than the new gray hair that popped out near my forehead.) Just another day in the life of a real estate agent!

6:00 p.m. Show Time

I’m standing in front of the house struggling with the lock box. This struggle is such a typical occurrence that I now advise my clients up front that I usually struggle with either the lock box or the lock itself. It makes it funny, rather than awkward. Sometimes, its even difficult to locate the lock box, depending on where the agent hung it.

After I get the door open, this is how most of my showings go.

I knock loudly on the door. Once open, I semi-shout “HELLOOOOO. Keller Williams!!”. I have to do this public service announcement to flush out anyone who might still be in the house. I have yet to encounter any embarrassing situations upon entering a house, but I have heard stories of agents walking into some embarrassing situations. (Uh huh. You guessed it.)

With no response, I sigh in relief and let my client into the house. After the showing, the client and I discuss the property (away from any video doorbells or listening devices!). He’s going to think it over and let me know if he would like to offer. If he wants to move forward, tomorrow I’ll be writing up an offer. Like I said, every day is different!

Thanks for joining me this week as I took you through a day in the life of a real estate agent! As always, I’m here to help so reach out with all your home ownership questions and concerns.

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