Each year Forbes Magazine and many other websites come out with a list of the most disliked industries and guess which one is right up there almost every year. You guessed it, the real estate industry. Hmmm. I wonder why? Has the real estate industry done something to earn that lofty ranking on such an infamous list? Here are my thoughts on the matter…
When an agent first gets their license they are faced with a big decision. Where should I go to practice real estate? There are plenty of brokerages ready to go hunting for these prospects. You see many brokerages tend to focus their attention on hiring and recruiting agents to fill seats and collect the fees from them. They lure prospective agents with the promise of training, mentorship and opportunity. Few actually follow through on these promises which leaves the industry with agents that do not have the necessary skills, confidence or competence to perform their fiduciary duties. The biggest losers in this scenario end up being not only the clients but the agents who do have the skills to serve responsibly.
You see, we are lucky to have a great many people in the real estate industry who lead with a heart for service. They understand that a customer doesn’t care how much an agent knows until they know how much that agent cares. They want to create memorable experiences that turn into lasting relationships. They want to leave things better than they found them. They want to put their clients’ needs first and foremost by skillfully guiding them through transactions. Unfortunately the real estate industry is not graded on these people. It is graded on the negative experiences. Remember, one bad experience can wipe out ten adda boys!
Real estate training is exhausting and time-consuming. A new agent, and yes, some that are not so new need to consider where they practice their trade. It is more important to join a real estate firm that is a stickler for details and training than one that promises immediate results. You do not simply get a real estate license and jump into the fray. Do you think a high school student dissects a frog and is doing brain surgery the following week after graduation? No, they go to college for 4, 6, 8 or more years before they are ready for a real life situation. It is easier to get a real estate license in Pennsylvania than pass the 8th grade. In the real estate industry one never stops practicing, training and learning. Things change fast and it is the duty of each agent to keep up.
By training, I mean spending the necessary time going through the fundamentals of the business. It’s the “unsexy” work of diving into forms and deciphering what the contract language means in real-life situations. Agents need to learn the nuances of marketing in the digital age. It means learning how to communicate wisely, negotiate deals and serve clients in a way that meets their expectations. They need to answer their client’s questions wisely and intuitively or have a resource, like their broker, who can assist them.
Many times I hear stories from clients about what they did not like in previous real estate experiences. I have seen multi-list sheets of homes that have the wrong zip code on them. Many of these mistakes can be avoided by agents who look for knowledge from their brokerage and not someone to do everything for them so they do not have to think.
Brokerages need to lead by example through a commitment to the consumer and create a real estate industry where training is the expectation and not the exception. If we want a more positive public opinion, this is the only way to do it.
Knowledge is power!
Jeffrey C. Hogue
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