If you ask most people what real estate agents do, you get a vague answer something like this: “They conduct showings, advertise, argue about price, and are elastic with the truth.” And all that really amounts to, “I don’t know exactly.” Just like doctors and lawyers, agents have a vital function – not always entirely pleasant, but necessary nevertheless. So let’s take a look at what a Northern Virginia real estate agent does and does not do.
What a Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent Does Not Do
Above all else, your agent strives to abide by the laws. And that means there are certain things she can’t and won’t do and say. The 1968 Fair Housing Act aims to provide equal access to housing for all groups of people and to protect them from discrimination. So anything that can be seen as contravening this act is something an agent cannot do – even if it proves frustrating for buyers.
So what a Northern Virginia real estate agent doesn’t/can’t do is give an opinion about a neighborhood that might violate the Fair Housing Act. She might not be able to say, for example, “This is a great neighborhood for young families.” The implication here is that the neighborhood consists chiefly of young parents with young children. And this, in turn, might discourage, say, older childless couples or retirees from buying in the neighborhood because they might not feel it is suitable for their lifestyle. In this case, the agent’s statement would be a violation of fair housing laws.
Also, if an agent makes certain statements about crime statistics and schools, it could be construed as a reference to race. And this too would be a violation of fair housing laws. And an agent cannot, even if the seller requests it, cater specifically to buyers of a certain ethnicity or religious bent.
What a Northern Virginia Real Estate Agent Does Do
A real estate agent does a lot of things, most of which most people don’t realize, such as:
SHOPS PROPERTY ONLINE
In order to stay abreast of what’s out there for their clients’ benefit, many agents spend hours each day researching properties online. Listings come and go pretty quickly, so agents have to invest time each staying on top of what’s available.
Your Northern Virginia real estate agent will also spend a lot of time prospecting in person, trying to keep up with what’s for sale and what the market is like. This requires time spent doing it the old-fashioned way, driving and walking around neighborhoods.
ATTENDS PITCH SESSIONS
Agents also spend a good amount of time with other real estate professionals in face-to-face pitch sessions. These are basically gatherings of local agents at places like coffee shops and cafes where they exchange listing information to spread the word about properties.
WRITES UP OFFERS AND COUNTEROFFERS
Your Northern Virginia real estate agent will spend a lot of time drawing up offers and counteroffers, a crucial part of the process. It’s time-consuming and tedious, but it has to be done – even if the sale falls through and the agent never gets paid for all that work.
STICKS AROUND FOR INSPECTIONS
Another thing agents do is making themselves available to be present during inspections. This way they can get a good handle on any problems the inspection turns up in order to work that into the negotiations.
SMOOTHS THINGS OVER
Agents always try their best to make the whole process go as smoothly as possible, often shielding clients from high drama and anger and taking the brunt of it themselves. They help to take a lot of the stress out of buying or selling.
As you can see, then, what a Northern Virginia real estate agent does and does not do is both more an less than most people think. And what they do goes far beyond the merely technical functions that most people think of. Real estate agents are, simply put, high-caliber professionals, and they are a valuable asset to both buyers and sellers. To discover more, contact us today at 571-402-5155.