This morning, I had a conversation with the CEO of a company who honestly said: "You should have lots of time as a realtor since you can work when you want to."

He truly felt that realtors have lots of time and was taken aback when I told him just a little about a typical day.  Any realtor can show a house or write a contract.  How about the hours of studying the market so that when a customer asks for the value of her house the agent can actually respond with an informed opinion, instead of relying on what the neighbor sold his house for, two years ago.  Fully understanding the real estate market, whether it is in a specific neighborhood, or a town, or an entire county, takes a lot more than just reading the local papers and taking the opinion of a reporter for gospel.  How many non-realtors actually understand market dynamics, price fluctuation in micro markets, how many houses have sold in their specific areas in the last week, month or year?  This is serious research and can take hours. Driving customers around looking at houses does take time, however it is far from the most important part of a realtor's day.

Then there is the small detail of letting a buyer write an offer that is credible.  Should the buyer take a guess at the value of a house, or rely on an educated realtor who knows the current market value of that specific house, or at least that neighborhood?  Again, there can be hours of research into responsibly representing your buyers so that no one wastes time making offers that are ridiculously low, or high, and that banks will simply not consider when it comes time for financing.  As a professional realtor, our job is to protect our clients from making huge financial mistakes.  Whether that means protecting the buyer from over paying for a property, or protecting a seller from pricing their home incorrectly, whther it is too high or too low for the market, our job is to look out for the best interests of our clients.

Getting the offer is just the beginning of the job.  There are the ongoing negotiations with the other side, getting the proper documentation in order, making sure the right inspections are done in a timely and professional manner, lining up title companies, lenders, repair people when needed, and more.  All the while this has to be done in strict compliance with the realtor code of ethics and applicable local and state laws. 

In short, I would say to my CEO friend, a professional realtor is at least as diligent in performing his/her duties as the most responsible employee who works for that CEO.