So many agents are â€œpart timersâ€ that itâ€™s really alarming. True, this job isnâ€™t splitting atoms or disarming an IED but what happens when the part timer screws something up? We wind up rated as above. Being both a broker and active appraiser I see contracts daily and speak with agents continuouslyâ€¦.and more often than not I end the day shaking my head in disbelief. Much of what I see and hear is downright frightening.
Iâ€™ve been an Army officer and owned and operated large appraisal firms, I understand managing people in fluid situations. Managing brokers have their hands full, you can only mandate so much for agents. Personal responsibility has to kick in; I submit that if you are in ANY business then be in it all of the way. Real estate is not selling a commodity; you earn your fee by selling your experience and ability, not widgets. You develop that by working every day, by shadowing more experienced agents, by immersing yourself in the data, mastering the appropriate tools, understanding contracts and amendments, keeping abreast of trends and current regulationsâ€¦.how is that a part time job?
Consumers bear significant responsibility as well. As long as one of the first questions is â€œhow much will you cut your fee or rebate meâ€ you will have problems. Again, you are not hiring someone to sell or buy a widget! The unique thing about real estate is that there are no two parcels exactly alike. Toss in the billion other influencing factors and then the million things that can go wrong with negotiations, contracts, inspectionsâ€¦..And yet and still, consumers love to lead with the â€œhow muchâ€ question. Let me know how that question works out while youâ€™re losing buyers with an overpriced undermarketed home, leaving money on the table during negotiations, overpaying for a home and or mortgage, missing inspection items, spending money on lawyers with contract issuesâ€¦.have a look at questions on Trulia! Can some of these people asking these questions really be represented??
Hey Mr. & Mrs. Consumer, try this. When you need the services of a real estate agent find your top 5 and contact them, set appointments to speak with each one. Ahead of that, write out at least 15 pointed questions, random in nature but pertaining to your situation. Something like â€œHow will my house being stucco impact thingsâ€ or â€œWhatâ€™s the sale to list price ratio in this neighborhoodâ€ or â€œHow will that HVCC appraisal regulation impact meâ€ or â€œWhatâ€™s the difference between a short sale, foreclosure, distressed sale and a corporate owned homeâ€. Invite them over if itâ€™s a listing presentation and let them get comfortable. Give them five minutes to babble then ask them to close the presentation book â€“ start asking pointed marketing questions and then your pointed questions, see what happens. Youâ€™ll know pretty quick who knows the biz and who spits back realtor-speak. This is great for sellers but also works well for buyers. Oh yeah â€“ real estate is a world where everyone is â€œNumber 1â€ at something; call them out. Make certain that any agent brings you a printout of their year to date performance â€“ NOT THE COMPANY. Professional agents are earning, they will have the data you need.
While Iâ€™m rantingâ€¦can agents please give the ridiculous â€œpersonal marketingâ€ nonsense a break? Does the consumer really care if you like reading mystery novels, your favorite music is disco or if you enjoy going out to dinner with friends? Do they really want you to be a realtor for life? Do they want to be badgered with recipe post cards every month? Maybe I missed the boat, but my clients want me to do my job for them; they refer me to others when I do that. I donâ€™t see dentists walking around in tooth costumes holding toothbrushes, lawyers dressed as Lady Liberty holding the scales of justice or doctors holding giant syringes chasing a flu bug. Read their qualifications,Â nowhere in there do I see â€œI want to be your lawyer for lifeâ€.
The real estate industry is a mess right now and right or wrong we're being blamed for it. The direct blame starts and stops with the consumers; you can't regulate stupidity and so many were. Our challenge in this field is to change with the times, we have to be more demanding of our peers, we have set muchÂ higher standards and we have to win the confidence of the public. This isn't a part time job and unlessÂ every agentÂ treats it as a profession, the public will continue to treat us as they do.
Hank Miller, SRA, ABR
Associate Broker & Certified Appraiser
Prudential GA Realty