The public really has no idea how Realtors earn their living or exactly how the process of buying a house really works. It often seems like we are providing a service to the public--and I have been guilty of behaving that way--but at the end of the day, we are working to earn a living and should be up front about that.
My good friend, Tom Branch recently wrote a post - Is Real Estate a Public Service? Tom's post is a Member's Only post. But it wasn't all that content that inspired what's on my heart. It is simply the title. Yes, I stole the title from him.
The Title, Is Real Estate a Public Service hits home with me. If you asked me this question, my answer is NO. Although Ruthmarie Hicks mentioned in her blog, Are we really serving the public? that some agents' focus heavily on prospecting ie. looking for new business, at the same time, any agents that are in business are NOT here for Volunteer work, or taking this on to assist the public out of the goodness of their hearts.
Ring, ring - The phone rings. All the buyers care about is How soon can s/he see the inside of the house. The enthusiasm and adrenalin rate are HIGH. But most buyers fail to want to sit down to understand:
- The home buying process
- The mortgage and lending process
All they want is to see the house. Open the door, so I'll just call any agent that has time to do it for me. We'll talk later about the rest (including the real estate agent selection process).
I understand when someone gets the Housing Buying fever, it's hard to calm them down. But isn't the hundreds of thousands of dollars worth the investment in the front end to:
- Hire the right agent?
- Make sure the credit is clean and no hiccups/ surprises there?
- Thoroughly understand the home buying process and its costs?
No, we should let the public treat real estate agents as public servants. We are here to offer assistance but the truth is that we do expect to be paid. Hence, we expect a mutually exclusive relationship. We only get paid after someone successfully closes and funds on the property. In the mean time, every business cost is paid for by the agent him/herself.
Nope, there is no Office Car, no Office uniforms and certainly no Office anything.
There are a huge variety of agents out there eager to serve the public. But just like it's important to select the right home, we should take time to educate them about finding the best agent for the job. It may not be you and that's perfectly OKAY too.
It's not shameful to declare that we depend on clients to close to keep our tummies fed, lights on. All for-profit (which is what a real estate business is) is to make money. Then why should we feel bad? Why would we let the public treat us as Door Openers?
Fortunately, or unfortunately, I only choose to do business with people who see the value of an agent in a transaction.
I had my head screwed wrong when I first started the business. I had to hire a coach to screw me back in correctly and since then, I feel I have more pride serving as a Realtor(R) this season of my life.
When a prospect calls off my sign or contact me via my websites about viewing my listings, I furnish them the information they want. But at the same time, I ask them if they are pre-qualified for a mortgage, if they are working with an agent. When a potential buyer calls, I ask the same and try to fill in their gap for education. I used to feel some questions were too intrusive and personal to ask but not anymore. If I didn't ask those questions, I wouldn't have performed my fiduciary duties towards someone else (my sellers) by letting someone who's not pre-qualified walk into his property.
If they are not interested in helping themselves, I wont be treated as a public servant just to open doors. I just wont. I have a unique personality to draw information yet every step of the way leads to a successful transaction at the end. I didn't do it right at the beginning. I let people walk all over me. Then, my poor husband gets the short end of the stick of having an upset wife.
So is real estate public service? Heck NO! Those who treat their professions respectfully have a system in place to handle many events. It is crucial. If you don't, you better start. Learn from those around you as well as Active Rain.
Good luck and rant over. Back to business.
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Is Real Estate a Public Service?
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