Since I started working as a Realtor, I have had lots of people asking me questions about my career. I thought it would be fun to do a FAQ's of the questions that are common:
Q: Is it OK to call your Realtor on a weekend / evening / holiday?
A: Absolutely! I'd say at least 50% of my business is done outside the traditional 9 - 5 work day, and I'm sure it's the same for other agents. It only makes sense as people who work during the day need to use their time off for the majority of house buying and selling tasks. (I was showing houses on Good Friday and Easter Sunday this year. The homeowner was ok with it, so I was too). Realtors never sleep. Well, they do with their iPhones tucked under their pillow. I have lots of clients who send me emails at all hours of the day and night - I do respond to them when I am awake, but I also have a young family and I do schedule time to spend with them as well. I pride myself on getting back to people in a quick and efficient manner. Go ahead try me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How do you get paid?
This is often gently brought up, especially when I offer to work as a 'buyers agent'. I get paid strictly on commission, not salary. The commission is paid from the proceeds of the sale from the owner of the property. Quite often, it is shared between a selling agent and the listing agent. After that an office (broker) will usually deduct a portion for the services the office provides and any expenses that are owing. So, when I act as a buyers agent, the services are provided free of charge to the buyer - you can't beat that fee!
Q: Can you show me a house listed with another agent / company?
Yes, I sure can. I can show you any property that is listed within the MLS system. I can set up the appointment and research the house to give you all of the background information you need to help you make an informed decision (ie. what upgrades have been done, when did it last sell, and for how much etc). When I was house hunting for my second home, I didn't know Charlotte could show us houses listed with other agents so I was calling the agent who's sign was on the lawn. She soon set me straight :)
Q: Do you work full time?
Not in the traditional sense of Monday to Friday, 9 - 5. But I probably average 30 - 40 hours per week most weeks. In the summer it was more like 50+ hours - lots of evenings and weekends, but I still manage to get to spend at least part of every day with my boys. My cell phone hours for July were really high, I think I must have been on the phone most of the month. In my opinion, it would be difficult to be a part time real estate agent. The schedule works for me though, as my husband is home on the weekends and he always has a great list of 'boy adventures' lined up for our sons. And I am able to pick them up after school through the week.
Q: What is it like working with your Mother in Law?
It is actually really, really fun working with Charlotte. I think she was nervous at first at the idea of me coming to work with her, but we get along great. Not to say there aren't moments of stress of course, but usually if one of us is stressed, the other is calm so we balance each other out. Charlotte has been an agent for 10 years, so she is a great person to go with for advice and support. She is also smart and fearless, and more like a friend to me than a mother in law. Working as a team is perfect for me, since there are always last minute things that come up, or scheduling conflicts - I can always rely on Charlotte as a back up plan. Even to go on vacation, it is really a luxury to have someone taking care of my clients for me.
Q: Do you like being a Real Estate Agent?
I do. It feels like a good fit for my past work experience - a combination of sales, marketing, PR, and a degree with a major in Psychology :) I have met some great people and made some wonderful friends, and I really enjoy working at Century 21. No two days are never the same, and there is never a dull moment.