OK, so I am the first to admit that I am venting here. I have been a full time Realtor for over 40 years now and am always surprised when I read or hear through conversations that the image of a person in my chosen profession is frequently not one of respect or confidence. It always confounds me as I feel the large preponderance of my fellow Realtors in my locale are long term, career minded and very ethical professionals. Most of them take to their clients like “mother hens” navigating them through the increasingly complicated and land mine riddled path to home ownership.
Don’t get me wrong. It is not rocket science BUT it is frequently the most important purchase that most people ever make. It makes sense to do it right and it makes sense to have some guidance along the way from someone who’s goal is to help you make it right!
That less than admirable image is coming from somewhere. I believe that many looking for career changes look to real estate as a career that is easy to get into (very true) and it doesn’t take a high dollar investment to get started (also true). That is the upside. The downside is that there is no guarantee salary to help you along the way. You either swim or sink on what perceived value you bring to your interaction with potential clients. At the beginning that is really a challenge as you have no track record, little evidence of accumulated experience and NO referrals to recommend you. So, you have an easy to get into and also a very easy to get out of profession. It is one of the reasons there is such a high turnover among new licensees. This panic of making it to the next commission really tests the ethical strength and holding power of this fledgling licensee.
That income stress level oftentimes tests just how much resolve the salesperson can have towards putting their client first at all times. When you have a house payment due at the end of the month and don’t know where it is coming from believe me it DOES test that resolve. It is easy to justify, then, less than admirable decision making when it comes to your client’s best interest.
I honestly believe that most times this decision is made with the clients well being held paramount. That soon becomes transparent and that is where the valued “client testimonials” and continued referrals become the true payback for thinking of others first.
Where that starts to break down, I think, is when the new sales person has not been properly prepared for this and is fed a false bill of goods of what to expect. I see this in the lack of education many of these “newbies” appear to be getting. How about a little less emphasis on cold calling and a little more on client care! How about a little less on team production numbers and more emphasis on making “clients for life”. There is no shortcut to that. It takes a dedication and constant reinforcement from the brokerage to provide encouragement, lifting up and values building education. This is the only place a long-term career can truly come from. I think many of our offices in order to build larger and larger numbers (as if that were some measure of value to the community) should instead have larger and larger values building education classes for the “good prospective career candidates”
Cramming to pass the real estate exam is tough! It takes a real concentrated effort. However, it is just the beginning. It teaches you next to nothing about what you need to know to become a trusted advisor! Brokers owe it to our total community to make sure we are delivering to all clients licensed advisors and guides that always put our client’s needs first and continually challenge all of us how to better and better provide that valued assistance. Then, and only then, will there be a perceived change to the public attitude towards Realtors!