In recent news, Realtors are under attack, on who will pay their commissions and for how much will they receive, per this article published by CNN.  If they are the listing agent of a property, the agreed commission is listed on this listing agreement and future purchase agreement with the seller but if the realtor is representing the buyer, the buyer’s agent may not be getting paid by the seller as this has been the case for many decades.  As a consumer this could be interpreted many ways but what’s most important is for consumers buying real estate,  to fully understand what Realtors bring to the table.  Note:  I did not write the following.  I am only sharing it as instructed.

Below sheds light on this subject and something that should be shared with buyers and sellers:

There is a lot of talk in the news about real estate agent commissions. They LOVE what they do and they do it because they LOVE helping people but there is a misconception on what they do and how they get paid. It’s not a secret… so here you go!

The average FULL TIME REALTOR’s earnings last year was $31,900 @ 40+ hours a week. (Notice I wrote full time 40+ hours not 0-20 hours a week) which is well below the living wage. As a REALTOR they do not get paid an hourly wage or salary and they only get paid if they sell a home and it closes. They can only get paid by broker to broker. As an agent you could work with someone days, weeks, months, or years with no guarantee of a sale ever.

Essentially, they wake up each day unemployed going on Job Interviews and they deal with constant rejection. They dedicate time away from family, use their time, gas, pay for babysitters, miss dinner and weekend’s and rarely take vacations. They are on 24/7.

They constantly need to be on or could miss an opportunity. Once they do close a home, half goes to the other persons agent from the remaining half. They have lots of upfront expenses that must be paid out before they even get paid:

  • Broker Splits and Fees
  • Office rent and utilities
  • MLS Fees
  • NAR Fees
  • Local Association Fees
  • E&O Business Insurance
  • Extended Auto Insurance
  • Self-Employment Tax
  • State Licensing Fees
  • Advertising Fees
  • Showing Service Fees
  • Website Fees
  • Assistant’s Salaries
  • Showing partners
  • Transaction coordinator
  • Yard Signs
  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • Office Supplies
  • Business Cards
  • Property Flyers
  • Electronic Lockboxes
  • Continued RE Education
  • Legal Fees
  • Gas
  • Income taxes

As a Listing Agent they have lots of tasks far more than just selling a home:

  1. Prepare Listing Presentation for Sellers
  2. Research Sellers Property Tax Info
  3. Research Comparable Sold Properties for Sellers
  4. Determine Average Days on Market
  5. Gather Info From Sellers About Their Home
  6. Meet With Sellers at Their Home
  7. Get To Know Their Home
  8. Present Listing Presentation
  9. Advise on Repairs and/or Upgrades
  10. Provide Home Seller To-Do Checklist
  11. Explain Current Market Conditions
  12. Discuss Seller’s Goals
  13. Share Your Value Proposition
  14. Explain Benefits of Your Brokerage
  15. Present Your Marketing Options
  16. Explain Video Marketing Strategies
  17. Demonstrate 3D Tour Marketing
  18. Explain Buyer & Seller Agency Relationships
  19. Describe the Buyer Pre-Screening Process
  20. Create Internal File for Transaction
  21. Get Listing Agreement & Disclosures Signed
  22. Provide Sellers Disclosure Form to Sellers
  23. Verify Interior Room Sizes
  24. Obtain Current Mortgage Loan Info
  25. Confirm Lot Size from County Tax Records
  26. Investigate Any Unrecorded Property Easements
  27. Establish Showing Instructions for Buyers
  28. Agree on Showing Times with Sellers
  29. Discuss Different Types of Buyer Financing
  30. Explain Appraisal Process and Pitfalls
  31. Verify Homeowners Association Fees
  32. Obtain a Copy of HOA Bylaws
  33. Gather Transferable Warranties
  34. Determine Need for Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
  35. Verify Security System Ownership
  36. Discuss Video Recording Devices & Showings
  37. Determine Property Inclusions & Exclusions
  38. Agree on Repairs to Made Before Listing
  39. Schedule Staging Consultation
  40. Schedule House Cleaners
  41. Install Electronic Lockbox & Yard Sign
  42. Set-Up Photo/Video Shoot
  43. Meet Photographer at Property
  44. Prepare Home For Photographer
  45. Schedule Drone & 3D Tour Shoot
  46. Get Seller’s Approval of All Marketing Materials
  47. Input Property Listing Into The MLS
  48. Create Virtual Tour Page
  49. Verify Listing Data on 3rd Party Websites
  50. Have Listing Proofread
  51. Create Property Flyer
  52. Have Extra Keys Made for Lockbox
  53. Set-Up Showing Services
  54. Help Owners Coordinate Showings
  55. Gather Feedback After Each Showing
  56. Keep track of Showing Activity
  57. Update MLS Listing as Needed
  58. Schedule Weekly Update Calls with Seller
  59. Prepare “Net Sheet” For All Offers
  60. Present All Offers to Seller
  61. Obtain Pre-Approval Letter from Buyer’s Agent
  62. Examine & Verify Buyer’s Qualifications
  63. Examine & Verify Buyer’s Lender
  64. Negotiate All Offers
  65. Once Under Contract, Send to Title Company
  66. Check Buyer’s Agent Has Received Copies
  67. Change Property Status in MLS
  68. Deliver Copies of Contact/Addendum to Seller
  69. Keep Track of Copies for Office File
  70. Coordinate Inspections with Sellers
  71. Explain Buyer’s Inspection Objections to Sellers
  72. Determine Seller’s Inspection Resolution
  73. Get All Repair Agreements in Writing
  74. Refer Trustworthy Contractors to Sellers
  75. Meet Appraiser at the Property
  76. Negotiate Any Unsatisfactory Appraisals
  77. Confirm Clear-to-Close
  78. Coordinate Closing Times & Location
  79. Verify Title Company Has All Docs
  80. Remind Sellers to Transfer Utilities
  81. Make Sure All Parties Are Notified of Closing Time
  82. Resolve Any Title Issues Before Closing
  83. Receive and Carefully Review Closing Docs
  84. Review Closing Figures With Seller
  85. Confirm Repairs Have Been Made
  86. Resolve Any Last Minute Issues
  87. Attend Seller’s Closing
  88. Pick Up Sign & Lock Box
  89. Change Status in MLS to “Sold.”
  90. Close Out Seller’s File With Brokerage

As a Buyer’s Agent they also have many tasks:

  1. Schedule Time To Meet Buyers
  2. Prepare Buyers Guide & Presentation
  3. Meet Buyers and Discuss Their Goals
  4. Explain Buyer & Seller Agency Relationships
  5. Discuss Different Types of Financing Options
  6. Help Buyers Find a Mortgage Lender
  7. Obtain Pre-Approval Letter from Their Lender
  8. Explain What You Do For Buyers As A Realtor
  9. Provide Overview of Current Market Conditions
  10. Explain Your Company’s Value to Buyers
  11. Discuss Earnest Money Deposits
  12. Explain Home Inspection Process
  13. Educate Buyers About Local Neighborhoods
  14. Discuss Foreclosures & Short Sales
  15. Gather Needs & Wants Of Their Next Home
  16. Explain School Districts Effect on Home Values
  17. Explain Recording Devices During Showings
  18. Learn All Buyer Goals & Make A Plan
  19. Create Internal File for Buyers Records
  20. Send Buyers Homes Within Their Criteria
  21. Start Showing Buyers Home That They Request
  22. Schedule & Organize All Showings
  23. Gather Showing Instructions for Each Listing
  24. Send Showing Schedule to Buyers
  25. Show Up Early and Prepare First Showing
  26. Look For Possible Repair Issues While Showing
  27. Gather Buyer Feedback After Each Showing
  28. Update Buyers When New Homes Hit the Market
  29. Share Knowledge & Insight About Homes
  30. Guide Buyers Through Their Emotional Journey
  31. Listen & Learn From Buyers At Each Showing
  32. Keep Records of All Showings
  33. Update Listing Agents with Buyer’s Feedback
  34. Discuss Homeowner’s Associations
  35. Estimate Expected Utility Usage Costs
  36. Confirm Water Source and Status
  37. Discuss Transferable Warranties
  38. Explain Property Appraisal Process
  39. Discuss Multiple Offer Situations
  40. Create Practice Offer To Help Buyers Prepare
  41. Provide Updated Housing Market Data to Buyers
  42. Inform Buyers of Their Showing Activity Weekly
  43. Update Buyers On Any Price Drops
  44. Discuss MLS Data With Buyers At Showings
  45. Find the Right Home for Buyers
  46. Determine Property Inclusions & Exclusions
  47. Prepare Sales Contract When Buyers are Ready
  48. Educate Buyer’s On Sales Contract Options
  49. Determine Need for Lead-Based Paint Disclosure
  50. Explain Home Warranty Options
  51. Update Buyer’s Pre-Approval Letter
  52. Discuss Loan Objection Deadlines
  53. Choose a Closing Date
  54. Verify Listing Data Is Correct
  55. Review Comps With Buyers To Determine Value
  56. Prepare & Submit Buyer’s Offer to Listing Agent
  57. Negotiate Buyers Offer With Listing Agent
  58. Execute A Sales Contract & Disclosures
  59. Once Under Contract, Send to Title Company
  60. Coordinate Earnest Money Drop Off
  61. Deliver Copies to Mortgage Lender
  62. Obtain Copy of Sellers Disclosure for Buyers
  63. Deliver Copies of Contract/Addendum to Buyers
  64. Obtain A Copy of HOA Bylaws
  65. Keep Track of Copies for Office File
  66. Coordinate Inspections with Buyers
  67. Meet Inspector At The Property
  68. Review Home Inspection with Buyers
  69. Negotiate Inspection Objections
  70. Get All Agreed Upon Repair Items in Writing
  71. Verify any Existing Lease Agreements
  72. Check In With Lender To Verify Loan Status
  73. Check on the Appraisal Date
  74. Negotiate Any Unsatisfactory Appraisals
  75. Coordinate Closing Times & Location
  76. Make Sure All Documents Are Fully Signed
  77. Verify Title Company Has Everything Needed
  78. Remind Buyers to Schedule Utilities
  79. Make Sure All Parties Are Notified of Closing Time
  80. Solve Any Title Problems Before Closing
  81. Receive and Review Closing Documents
  82. Review Closing Figures With Buyers
  83. Confirm Repairs Have Been Made By Sellers
  84. Perform Final Walk-Through with Buyers
  85. Resolve Any Last Minute Issues
  86. Get CDA Signed By Brokerage
  87. Attend Closing with Buyers
  88. Provide Home Warranty Paperwork
  89. Give Keys and Accessories to Buyers
  90. Close Out Buyer’s File Brokerage

In Closing…

You don’t need to buy or sell a home to support your agents real estate business – here are just a few simple ways to show your support!

By sharing one of their listings, sending a friend or family member their way, letting them connect you with agents outside their area for a broker to broker referral, or leaving them a positive comment or review, this helps them feel seen and supported😊

Best Regards,

Rob McCarthy

Senior Mortgage Advisor

650-465-8957 c  408-377-4123 o  408-608-1921 f

CA DRE #01165697  NMLS #121019

101 Loan – 14435 C Big Basin Way, Saratoga, CA 95070


  1. Residential Financing for Purchases and Refinances on 1 to 4 unit properties.
  2. Reverse Mortgage Financing to include Conforming, Jumbo, HELOC Jumbo’s.
  3. Commercial & SBA Financing to include Multifamily, Office, Retail and Light Industrial.
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