Beyond the obvious-once-you-start-working, “This is not a get-rich-quick career,” (at least not without LOTS of hard work!), there are many things I’ve learned that I didn’t realize before becoming an agent. Here are some of the more humorous ones:
- Unlocking doors seems simple, right? You’d think so, but you’d be wrong. Lockboxes are so much more of a problem than you would ever expect. From those letter-combination-types, to the four-digit number code ones, to the SentriLock vs Supra box war, things are hardly uniform. The electronic boxes require a subscription, so most agents pay for whatever is the popular one in their region and get a “day code” for the other as needed, but even that can be a mess. As always with technology, sometimes your card won’t swipe, your app can’t run because your cell service is spotty, or it’s buggy and you just don’t know why. Sometimes older boxes jam, other agents accidentally pocket the keys instead of putting them back, the wrong keys sometimes get left for you, or the box isn’t located in an easy-to-find place. Once I fumbled a key and it fell into the half-inch chasm of darkness and forever lost things between the concrete porch and the entryway, but luckily, I had a spare! Even after successfully obtaining the key, sometimes doorknobs have separate keys for each lock, some locks are locked/others unlocked already, and many locks are installed upsidedown so you end up struggling through what should be a simple process. Not to mention the doors that are sticky…sometimes you can struggle with a door for a few minutes only to find the door just sticks!
- Among your “Must Haves” on your car purchases, you now have to add, “and the trunk needs to be able to fit my yard signs.” Sad face, my husband’s beautiful Nissan-Maxima-that-I-have-to-put-my-signs-in-the-backseat-of. And protect the seats from the dirt with a towel.
- Timing is HARD. When Client A has a standing appointment for a tour that starts at 10am and covers multiples sides of town (which have a 20 minute drive time in between each appointment), and then Client B calls to set up an appointment at 4, and you think you’ll just make a stop for lunch sometime, but then another client calls and HAS to see a property sometimes today before 4 (and in this market, you can’t make them wait because it might not be there tomorrow!), and you have to send requests to all the listing agents for the properties of your time slot…it can be tough to estimate just how long you think everything will take. And you miss a lot of meals and have a lot of moments of, “After THIS, I’ll finally have the chance to _____” (return that text/call, use the restroom, look up that information, run that errand, etc.).
- You’d be amazed what can be fixed. I’m amazed how much my beliefs in what qualifies as a “tear down” have changed; I’ve seen some really terrible $30,000 purchases become truly lovely homes with just the right buyer, some love, and of course money and work.
- Murphy’s Law of Real Estate to me must be, “Your client will never be on time when you have other appointments you need to get to after this,” and “Your client will always be early when you are stuck at a train or in road construction.” It just never fails, but God bless the people who at least give you a heads up.
Real estate is either the world’s best job or the world’s worst; it’s rarely anything in-between. When you close and finally get that check, when someone gives you a fantastic review, when you help a family beat the odds and find their dream home—those moments feel just great, but for every one of those, there’s at least one person who requests information and then rudely hangs up on you, one deal that falls through and doesn’t pay, one tough delivery of bad news to a client, or one car wreck, fall, ruined dress, or technology problem. It’s a lot of up and down, but the feeling of helping others with one of the biggest decisions of their life…that accomplishment is just fantastic!