Real estate agents assist people through the process of buying, selling and renting land, homes, offices and other properties. In addition to staying current with real estate regulations and trends, real estate agents are tasked with a multitude of daily duties and responsibilities, from lead generation and marketing, to open houses and property closings.
One of the appealing aspects of working as a real estate agent is that each day is different, and responding to the changing needs of buyers and sellers often means shifting gears at the last minute. Although every day is unique, there are some activities that may be typical in a day in the life of a real estate agent.
On any given day, some of an agent's activities will be income-producing while others will be strictly administrative. Administrative duties include tasks such as:
- Completing, submitting and filing real estate documents, agreements and lease records
- Coordinating appointments, showings, open houses and meetings
- Creating and distributing flyers, newsletters, listings and other promotional materials
- Creating and implementing paper and electronic filing systems for records, correspondence and other material
- Creating budgets for monthly, quarterly and annual operations
- Data entry
- Developing marketing plans for listings
- Maintaining and managing client databases
- Researching active, pending and sold listings to develop comparative market analysis (CMA) reports
- Responding to emails and phone calls
- Updating websites and social media profiles
Because administrative duties can be very time-consuming, many agents hire an assistant to handle these day-to-day tasks. This allows the agent to leverage his or her time more effectively and to ultimately be more productive.
Finding clients is central to a real estate agent's success; without buyers and sellers there would be no transactions and, therefore, no commissions. A popular way to do so is through a real estate sphere of influence (SOI) strategy that focuses on generating leads through the people the agent already knows, such as family, friends, neighbors, classmates, business associates and social contacts.
Because most people will sell, buy or rent property at some point in their lives, every person that an agent meets is a potential client. That means that a real estate agent's day often includes meeting and speaking with lots of people, giving out business cards, and keeping track of contact information for a growing network. Meeting people and handing out business cards is only one step in cultivating new leads, however.
After the first contact is made, it is important to follow up with periodic phone calls, emails, snail mail or text messaging to keep the agent's name fresh in the minds of all potential clients.
Working with Clients
Whether working on behalf of buyers or sellers, real estate agents typically spend time each day working directly with clients. A seller's agent, for example, may spend time preparing a listing presentation, taking digital photographs of the property and staging the home so it shows well. A buyer's agent, on the other hand, may spend time combing through the MLS to find appropriate listings, printing or emailing the listings to the potential buyers and showing the property to interested buyers. Real estate agents also accompany clients to inspections, meetings with loan officers, closings and other activities where their presence is either required or requested.
Meetings and Tours
Real estate agents work for and under the umbrella of designated brokers, and as such, typically operate out of an office with other real estate agents and brokers. Regular office meetings allow agents to share their new listings, update other agents on price reductions and discuss buyers' needs, and can help agents line up buyers and sellers.
Some agents participate in MLS tours to view a number of new listings each week or each month. This can help agents narrow the search for a buyer since they have seen the properties firsthand and can share detailed information with buyers. Likewise, an MLS tour can be beneficial to agents who are working with sellers: after seeing the competition, it may be easier to determine a good listing price for the seller's property.
Continuing Education, Certifications and Designations
A real estate agent must be licensed in the state in which he or she operates, and is required to earn continuing education credits in order to maintain an active license status. In addition to these requirements, most agents pursue real estate certifications and designations to improve their credentials and marketability. Although earning and maintaining a license, certification and/or designation will not be a part of an agent's daily schedule, it is part of many agents' overall plan for improving their skills, proficiency, knowledge and marketability.
The Bottom Line
Real estate agents balance their time between daily administrative duties and income-producing activities. Often, this means spending time at the real estate office (or a home office), meeting with clients, staging or showing homes and traveling. Most agents have a long and varied list of daily duties and responsibilities that can change with little or no notice. As a result, there may be no such thing as a typical day in the life of a real estate agent – an aspect of the job many agents find attractive.