Real estate agents are famous for big smiles and expert customer service. Under this cheery, simple exterior though, there are all kinds of secrets that make their industry tick. Perhaps you’re selling, buying, or you’re an investor who just wants a little more knowledge of the whole sector. Whatever the reason, we’ve gone looking for some of the biggest secrets of the real estate industry.

When it comes to open houses, agents are more worried about kids than criminals. You’ve probably heard before that burglars visit open houses and go to private viewings so that they can stake out a property that they’re trying to rob. Some people wave this away as an urban legend, but unfortunately it’s true! These kinds of crimes are known to happen in waves, and more often than not they have a single, specific target, such as display china or prescription drugs kept in a house’s medicine cabinet. While these kinds of burglaries have been costly, there’s a much bigger issue that agents worry about: kids! By and large, the biggest problem in open houses is kids who are left to run around. They’re responsible for much more damage than burglars!

It would be impossible for us to list all the tricks that estate agents use to stage a property that’s up for sale. Interior design is one thing, but estate agents can sell your home using things like music and smells to help a home’s chances of an offer. It’s not uncommon for agents to pop a little popcorn just before prospective buyers are due to arrive, or use fragrances that are just as alluring. Many successful realtors have been known to play different music in open houses, depending on the property in question. Luxurious newbuilds in cosmopolitan areas tend to call for minimalist, modern music, whereas more rustic properties are matched up with classical. The one thing a good realtor won’t do is play anything that’s very well known. After all, we all have a few songs that we completely loathe!

Finally, their jobs are more precarious than they may seem. With those sharp blazers and calm smiles, you wouldn’t think that discipline is a big part of being a realtor. In the course of keeping both buyers and sellers happy, they run into a lot of obstacles and challenges. Keeping a cap on emotions and wants is often just as important as getting the listing just right. I remember one article by an estate agent which shows just how precarious their jobs can be. After a showing for a home listed at $10million, she failed to call the owner with an immediate report, and was fired by her firm on the spot. If you’ve ever dreamed of a career in real estate, you may want to reconsider. Their work can get far more intense than you may think.