10 things real-estate agents wish they could tell you - but won't

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  • Business Insider asked real-estate agents around the country about what it's really like working in their industry.
  • Many real-estate agents wish their clients knew all the behind-the-scenes work they do beyond showing homes.
  • Others said they wished their clients would stop assuming all real-estate agents are rich.
  • Here are 10 things real-estate agents wish they could tell their clients, from how much money they really make to "your home isn't selling because you have no taste."
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Life as a real-estate agent probably isn't as glamorous as you think.

Business Insider asked real-estate agents around the country about what it's really like working in the industry, the best and worst parts of their jobs, and what they wish they could tell their clients.

While some agents chose to remain anonymous, all were independently verified by Business Insider.

From how much money they really make to "your home isn't selling because you have no taste," here are 10 things real-estate agents wish they could tell their clients.

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1. "It's far less lucrative (per transaction) than you think."

1. "It's far less lucrative (per transaction) than you think."

Being a real-estate agent isn't as glamorous or lucrative as you might think, according to those in the industry.

Brian Suico, a realtor based in Vancouver who sells homes priced around $700,000 on average, said he wishes he could tell clients "how much we pay in real-estate fees and marketing... Everyone thinks we are rich. Some of us are, but like every business we spend money to make money and we take risks and some of us are very talented at our jobs."

An agent based in Washington added that most agents only earn "a small fraction of the gross commission paid, and we have to pay all of our expenses and taxes from that. It's far less lucrative (per transaction) than you think."

2. "I would never want to tell a client that they are unappreciative, but at times it definitely feels that way."

2. "I would never want to tell a client that they are unappreciative, but at times it definitely feels that way."

Many agents said they wish clients knew how much work they do behind the scenes.

"We don't just open doors and we wear many hats," said Spencer Cutler, a Corcoran real-estate broker based in New York City. "Yes, part of our job is to show expensive properties in Manhattan, but we're also a transaction coordinator, marketer, therapist, salesperson, telemarketer, CFO, CEO, accountant, analyst, negotiator, teacher, etc."

Claire Groome, an agent at Warburg Realty who sells homes that cost between $1 million and $20 million in New York City, said brokers do a lot of work that goes unnoticed and she wishes clients knew "how hard (yet rewarding) our jobs are. It's an expertise."

Scot Dalbery, who deals with rental properties in New York City, expressed similar sentiments.

"Especially in the era we live in now where people think everything can be done instantly and for free through a website or app, clients don't realize the amount of hours spent researching listings, calling agents, making appointments, verifying information, all while answering every text or email from the clients themselves," he told Business Insider. "... I would never want to tell a client that they are unappreciative, but at times it definitely feels that way."

3. "You have no taste."

3. "You have no taste."

Mary Hall Mayer, an agent at Warburg Realty in New York City, said she wishes she could sometimes tell her clients one harsh truth: "You have no taste which is why your property can't achieve that price."

4. "If you want to use your sister-in-law or a friend because they have a license, don't do it."

4. "If you want to use your sister-in-law or a friend because they have a license, don't do it."

"Don't listen to relatives, friends, Zillow or Redfin," a real-estate agent based in Washington state, who sells homes that cost an average of $400,000, told Business Insider.

Butch Haze, who specializes in homes in the $3 million to $10 million range in the San Francisco Bay Area, added that there's a big difference between top real-estate agents and part-time agents.

"If you want to use your sister-in-law or a friend because they have a license, don't do it," Haze told Business Insider. "You would be better off paying for their friendship, pay them $10,000 because you love them rather than risk the money you would be leaving on the table by using someone without the knowledge and experience of the very best. There is a reason most top agents are top agents."

5. "Most of my clients wind up increasing their budget by 50% or more."

5. "Most of my clients wind up increasing their budget by 50% or more."

Adam Feinberg, an agent at Anchor NYC who sells homes with an average price of $725,000, said he wishes clients understood they will often miss amazing opportunities if they're not ready to increase their budget early in the search.

"Most of my clients wind up increasing their budget by 50% or more," he said.

6. "Homeownership isn't for everyone."

6. "Homeownership isn't for everyone."

"Homeownership isn't for everyone," David Tortolini, a realtor at Keller Williams in Virginia, told Business Insider. "Unless you can afford to take care of large problems when they arise, you probably shouldn't own a home."

7. "Sellers have a hard time accepting that their home needs an alternate look to get maximum results."

7. "Sellers have a hard time accepting that their home needs an alternate look to get maximum results."

Noemi Bitterman, an agent at Warburg Realty who sells homes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, told Business Insider she wishes she could tell clients that their furniture "won't showcase their property nicely" and they need to properly stage their home if they want to get top dollar for it.

"It has been proven over and over again that staging a property gets it sold faster and at a premium price," Bitterman said. "Sellers have a hard time accepting that their home needs an alternate look to get maximum results."

8. "... they would be shocked to know just how many people we actually work with at the same time."

8. "... they would be shocked to know just how many people we actually work with at the same time."

Greg Cooper, a broker at Kuper Sotheby's International Realty in Austin, Texas, told Business Insider he doesn't keep much from his clients, but that "maybe they would be shocked to know just how many people we actually work with at the same time."

Cooper sells both residential and commercial real estate in the $300,000 to $8,000,000 range.

9. "We hesitate to tell our clients ... that we're taking the weekend off to spend time with our families."

9. "We hesitate to tell our clients ... that we're taking the weekend off to spend time with our families."

"We hesitate to tell our clients that we are going away on vacation or that we're taking the weekend off to spend time with our families," said Smitha Ramchandani, a broker-associate at SR Real Estate Group at Prominent Properties Sotheby's International Realty who sells homes in New Jersey and California.

10. "It will all work out."

10. "It will all work out."

Robin Kencel of The Robin Kencel Group at Compass in Connecticut, who sells homes between $500,000 and $28 million, wishes she could tell clients that hurdles and disappointments are part of the the selling and buying process.

"'It will all work out,'" she said. "Whether a buyer or seller, things come up during the process at every stage that can be overwhelming, disappointing, confusing, or just plain annoying. I try to be both a problem solver and a positive energy infuser into the transaction."

10. "It will all work out."

10. "It will all work out."

Robin Kencel of The Robin Kencel Group at Compass in Connecticut, who sells homes between $500,000 and $28 million, wishes she could tell clients that hurdles and disappointments are part of the the selling and buying process.

"'It will all work out,'" she said. "Whether a buyer or seller, things come up during the process at every stage that can be overwhelming, disappointing, confusing, or just plain annoying. I try to be both a problem solver and a positive energy infuser into the transaction."

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