It has always amazed me that Real Estate Agents essentially perform a great deal of work related activities for free. As a consumer and home buyer I wondered “how did they afford it”? After I became a licensed Agent in 1991 that question haunted me as I attempted to get my business off the ground while sustaining my home as a single Mom caring for my three sons, pay the Office fees required by the franchise I associated with and keep my vehicle full of gas, which was about $1 something a gallon back then, so I could drive potential buying clients all over creation only to have them call the listing agents number on the yard sign to ask a question and be convinced to sign a contract, leaving me out of it entirely! Had I known then what I know now… I am not so sure I would have chosen any differently as I loved selling Real Estate, but I probably would have prepared a whole lot better. And that’s just one instance where we pay but don’t get paid to do business as an Agent.
Yes, I know there are some safeguards in place, now I know that, but back then as a new agent I was largely ignorant and sorry to report that my managing broker failed to protect me and all the other agents like me. Things may be slightly different now, but only slightly. However, this isn’t a piece about the fair or unfair of Agent behavior in what is the Real Estate Industry. This is a piece to explore if maybe the time has finally come that Realtors should raise up and collectively change the way business is conducted in the Industry between themselves and the client.
With gas prices continuing to rise and no end in sight along with rising office fee structures, house prices failing and many other negative changes that I’ve been observing as I read articles to stay current with the Industry now as a content provider for other Realtors, I am just wondering out loud if the time for real change has come? I’m not going to try to research every nuance and consideration in this piece. I just want to get you, currently active Real Estate Agents thinking about possible change in your Industry. People do not value what costs them nothing. Perhaps a fee for your time and resources is in order?
Before I changed career paths in 2007, many things in the Real Estate Industry had me scratching my head and considering if I wanted to become a crusader for change. The way commissions are structured appears to encourage cut throat behavior between agents and rarely fosters genuine team work. I understand we were all independent contractors and therefore competition to each other. However, we also claim to adhere to a Code of Ethics. Just before I let my license expire, I actually had a client call my brokerage and ask for me as they couldn’t find my cell number. The call happened to be answered by another agent rather than office personnel as it was the weekend. Instead of my cell number, clearly listed on the Agent Roster of the office, my client was told I was no longer ‘in the business’ and they would list the property real estate for sale instead! Very devious and underhanded, but not as rare as we’d like to think! Shame on that person, but lets not pretend that happens rarely as we know that isn’t the case.
Even after a sale is made, there remains as great a chance you will NOT be paid nor in any way reimbursed for your actual expenses in bringing the sale about than there is that the sale will successfully close and you will receive a commission check. In negotiations your commission is often treated as a dispensable item which you may find yourself being asked to “give up” a portion of in order to make the deal happen or you may be expected to pay for things out of pocket that wouldn’t be expected in almost any other industry – all with no consideration of your costs and office fees. You could take the attitude that I’m whining about not being as successful as you are, or you could consider the idea that change may be due in this industry.
And so, a simple question. Asked only with the intention of stirring the thought process, not to offend anyone. Has the time come for Agents and perhaps even the National Association of Realtors that collects fees to represent them, to take on the task of making some serious changes to the way the Real Estate Industry conducts business???
Just a little food for thought from your friendly GhostbloggerMarie.
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