June 13, 2012

What do you expect from your agent?





In a recent sales meeting, my broker went over some things people say they don’t like about real estate agents. He is always trying to educate us on how to be more successful. It must work because I can’t imagine anyone in my office making some of the stupid mistakes we hear about.
Most of the things on the list are understandable (not saying excusable, keep reading) like agents that do not follow through, do not keep them updated, etc. There are different types of people in the world and even in the real estate industry so it is to be expected that some agents will be unorganized the same way you can expect there to be unorganized people in any profession.
I do believe organizational skills are an important ingredient for success in this business and I think that the unorganized ones weed themselves out eventually. Unfortunately, they don’t drop out before taking some clients for a bad ride.
There is a high turnover in this industry, at least in my area. I think there is a perception out there that it is an easy way to make a lot of money. I’ve seen the list of members in my local association grow and dwindle over the years depending on the market. When times are good, everyone gets a license and when times are tough, 96% of them get a second job or leave the business all together. An extremely high percentage of people getting a real estate license do not renew it when the renewal comes up in 2 years. It is much harder than they expected.
(When I first started, someone told me that only 4% of all the agents are actually successful and knowledgeable. That made an impact on me and I have always strived to be in that 4%. I think I am doing pretty well with that goal as I enter my 10th year in the business.)
Back to the ‘unfortunately’ part I mentioned earlier. I’ve said this in posts before but if you need a real estate agent, you have to do some research; you have to ask around, get referrals, search the internet and interview agents. There is no industry where you can just close your eyes and pick a name out of a hat then expect that the one you picked is going to be the best for your needs.
I fear that the general public, the people taking these polls, mistakenly think that all agents are popped out of some cookie cutter REALTOR® factory. That is just not the case. There are organized people in the business, there are intelligent people in the business, there are friendly agents, and agents that can make your experience buying or selling a home a very positive one. There are even agents that care more about their client’s bottom line than their own.
As in any other industry, profession, or walk of life, there are also going to be people in the business that are not/do not…
With a little research, you can find the best agent for your needs.

P.S. One of the items on the list is the idea that agents are always pushing them to the higher priced home to get a higher commission. I cannot comprehend this concept. I am never “pushing” for anything more than finding the perfect home for my buyers. Yes, when a buyer gives me a price limit of $250,000, I will include homes up to about $260,000 in the search— but not because I am trying to earn a higher commission.
I believe it is important to see what kind of home you get for that slightly higher price. It is an educational tool. It familiarizes buyers with the market …and occasionally, a buyer can offer $250,000 for a $254,000 home and still negotiate a successful deal.
Sometimes when a particular buyer is struggling to find a home in their price range, I can show them a few homes in the higher range and suddenly, they see what they like. I can then kindly point out that they may not have a realistic idea of value and suggest they may have to either adjust their expectations or wait until they can save the difference in price so they can have what they want.
We are not magicians. If a buyer’s likes/wants/needs do not match the price they can afford…
It IS possible the perfect house doesn’t exist in your price range.
In the end, if a client says they want a home for $300,000 and I send them the information on a home for $305,000, the difference in my commission is $75. Not worth compromising my reputation or losing a client over.
If you feel your agent is “pushing” you to higher priced homes, maybe you should just ask them why. I may be naïve and prefer to assume people are basically good, but I think your agent will be able to give you a real, logical explanation. I also think their explanation will more often than not, have something to do with your best interest and not their own.
I hear there are bad, selfish, and crooked agents out there but the agents I associate with work to improve their skills, do what is right and generally strive to do their best and act in a professional manner. If you do a little homework when looking for someone to work with, stick with the “tried and true,” the ones that have proven their ability to do right by their success, you will be pleased with the results.
If your agent introduces himself/herself as your waiter at your favorite restaurant, you may want to reconsider your choice. lol

Filed under: Blogroll,Buying,Community,Real Estate,Selling — Susan @ 10:59 am