Should a Realtor be a Jack(Jill)-of-All-Ttrades?

Asked by Donna Ferrell, Broker, Los Angeles, CA Mon Nov 22, 2010

I am finding that in this tough economy, a lot of us are having a tough time getting buyers or listings! Should a Realtor/Real Estate Agent also be a Mortgage Broker, an Appraisor, part of an Escrow company, etc., to increase his/her shares of commissions/income? In other words, should one be a Jack/Jill-of-All-Trades? Or does that backfire and make one look like a "Master of Nothing" instead?

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Jenet Levy, Agent, New York, NY
Mon Nov 22, 2010
I see these closely allied fields as too close for you to do both without muddying the water. People will trust you less, I believe. If you really need to do something else, perhaps it should be completely unrelated. Or maybe just boost your amount of prospecting in real estate. Or maybe broaden the area you cover.
1 vote
Scott Godzyk, Agent, Manchester, NH
Wed Nov 24, 2010
Branching out should be carefully considered, it also depends on your individual state laws. I believe ones time is better used specializing and getting experienced in a certain niche or segment of the market. Some agents make great listings agents, some love being buyer brokers, not too many can specilalize in both. Right now being a bank owned listing agent or a bank owned buyer broker puts one on top of the market. One can not just declare themselves a specialist though, it takes time, education, hands on experience and the "know hiow". Some are born with a talent to have patience and be teh best in sales, others have to work a little harder and some need to work a lot harder. What ever you decide, keep it simple and put your best into 1 thing instead of a little effort in a lot of different things.
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Tom and Joan…, Agent, Boston, MA
Mon Nov 22, 2010

I don't think being in multiple fields sends the right message to the consumer. It is challenging to get business, but now more than ever we need to be focused. We need to focus on selling real estate and if you can't get clients then it might be time to move on to a new industry. All the best.
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John Souerbry, Agent, Fairfield, CA
Mon Nov 22, 2010
Advertising multiple skills can scare off as many customers as it attracts and is contrary to my theory that you get more business when you specialize and target your market. Also, looking at your examples of agent/lender/appraiser/escrow, you can't do more than one of those functions simultaneously in any one transaction, therefore you're actually limiting your opportunities (ok, some will say you can be an agent/lender, but ask your E&O carrier first, many will no longer write policies due to conflict of interest issues). Also keep in mind that ANYONE related to RE is going through hard times, so if you jump into escrow, you will find the transactions are equally hard to come by as finding buyers. There are skills within the RE world that are natural cross-sells, hower, such as sales and property management.
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Annette Law…, Agent, Palm Harbor, FL
Mon Nov 22, 2010
As Melina pointed out, I would not create conflicts by creating ADDITIONAL revenue from a transaction though these real estate related channels.

HOWEVER, there is opportunity to leverage the vast enterprise most real estate professionals have created to establish passive income sources. If your database has the appropriate granularity to identify who you are communicating with, the opportunities become really attractive. I would suggest 'Jack and Jill' trades that help people, which is why most of us are in real estate.
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Melina Tomson, Agent, Salem, OR
Mon Nov 22, 2010
Considering appraisers have been hammered hard with HVCC, I don't see that as a way to increase your income. One appraiser told me that it took him, on average, 8 hours of work to do a normal home appraisal (meaning non-rural or unique properties). What happens if you take an appraisal job and then a relo buyer calls you that they are in for two days and want to meet with you?

I'm not a fan of the mortgage broker/REALTOR combination myself. That has way too many conflicts of interest for me. Clearly I am of the opinion that you should stick to one career and do it well.
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