There is no question that REALTORS get a "bad rap." As in every profession, those who behave badly are remembered and those who do not ride quietly onto the next transaction. I do think however, that there are some misconceptions about REALTORs that I would like to address.
- We are all rich. Like the rest of you, we are just trying to earn a living. Unlike (most of) the rest of you, our pay is 100% commission. We don't receive a salary, we don't get bonuses, and to top it all off, we pay ALL of our own expenses and taxes (nothing withheld, stroke a check). If we have a nice car, we have to pay for it. If we have a nice office, we pay for it. If we take you to lunch, we pay for it. If you spend a week looking for a house and then buy it from someone else, we have just spent one week of time UNPAID, but with expenses, trying to find you a home. We also missed out on working with another client or doing marketing for future clients.
- REALTORs are people who cannot do anything else. Most successful REALTORS spend a significant amount of time on education. We come from all types of backgrounds. Many of us are former corporate-types who just want to do something different. Despite what you might think, many of us have a PASSION for Real Estate. Believe me, there are easier ways to earn a living!
- It is easy work. This is almost a universal belief, and one that is completely untrue! I have not had a vacation in several years where I did not work a good bit of the time. Consumers who want to "sell it themselves," are often disdainful of the work that we do. I encourage them to try it...it takes a lot of time, effort, research, paperwork and organziation. If it was so easy, why would anyone pay me?
- We are all 'hustlers.' I can't tell you how many people back away when I tell them I am a REALTOR. What do you think I am going to do? Put the hard sell on you to buy or sell a house? FYI, our role is really more as a facilitator than salesperson; no one can be talked into buying or selling a house unless they are ready to. When I need to work hard on your behalf, you will see me 'hustle.' I 'hustle' to keep my marketing consistent and timely. Another way of saying this is that I am a hard worker.
- Commissions are too high...we are all greedy. Each Firm sets it's commission rate. Different Firms give different degrees of flexibility to agents to negotiate this rate. One thing holds true for every agent and every firm; part of every commission goes to the Firm. The amount that goes to the firm varies from agent to agent, but rarely/never does an agent receive all of the commission. Further, they must pay all of their own expenses, licensing fees, education, office fees and supplies out of the remainder. So after they pay their broker, their expenses and their taxes, the balance is their take home pay. It is not nearly as lucrative as it sounds!
I will concede that there are reasons for these sterotypes, but I would contend that you will find incompetence in every profession. For the most part, I have found that REALTORs are a professional group of individuals who care deeply for their communities and the standard of living of their clients. I have had the pleasure of working with many agents for whom I have admiration and respect for their approach to business. Each of us does it for a different reason, but I think you will find that most REALTORs take great pride in the level of service they provide.
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