The life of a Realtor can be challenging at times. When the economy is good, it seems the number of real estate agents grows quickly, increasing competition. New agents, or people contemplating becoming agents, appear to think it is an easy way to earn a living. After 34 years of being a Realtor, I would like to comment that it has its highs, but also has its lows, and those can be very low.
Agents currently seem to be a dime a dozen, competition is rampant and inventory available for sale is scarce. There seems to be no tried and true path to getting business. For many years, I felt like friends, people that got to know you well, were the best source. Recently though, a potential client told me she never does business with friends. What do you do with that? I thought good friends would want to help you out in business, especially if they gotten to know you enough to determine you are capable and honest. Perhaps she felt that listing her property with me could be a setup for potentially ending our friendship, but her statement and the fact she used another agent to list her home, did not help our friendship either. If you cannot count on your friends to use your business services, then do you just cold call? If so, I am in trouble as that is not my forte…
This past year, former friends decided not to re-list their home with me for unknown reasons. I felt like I had done a great job while it was listed, that the house had some inherent problems that became apparent through agent feedback from showings, and that we had missed the hot spring market last year. Unfortunately, I think some sellers tell themselves all kinds of reasons their house is not selling, rather than accepting the reported negatives as being the main problems. After taking my advice and making improvements needed, the sellers chose to relist their property with a larger agency instead of mine, during the best time of the market, at an asking price quickly reduced to less than agreed to while I had it listed! It eventually sold for less money than an offer I presented to them while it was listed with my firm! Sometimes, you are definitely better off being the second agent…
So, after reading the above, why do you think I stay in the business?
During 2018 a former client and friend referred a young couple to me, that had never bought a house before. They had a bad experience with a buyer’s agent that they had broken ties with. I listened to their needs and hopes, and eventually found them a house that met their criteria. It was particularly rewarding, as they got it even though the market was very competitive. The sellers were great too, and the whole experience was very satisfying. My buyers let me bring my strengths to the table, they listened to me, and did not try to tell me how to do my job. I recently got invited to their wedding, and I hope we have developed a lasting friendship. It was rewarding to me to have helped them accomplish finding their first home and make their dream come true.
Also, a few weeks ago an acquaintance I had shown a few homes to over the years contacted me and asked to see a specific property. It was not the one for her, but I had found a couple other listings nearby, and she fell in love with one of those. We just closed on that sale, and the buyer and seller were great to work with! I think she is very happy that I found this home for her, which met the criteria she had in mind.
Finally, there was a family that contacted me a couple years ago to sell the home built by their parents. Although their Mom did not live there anymore, she still owned it, and did not want to see it torn down. It was situated in a very popular neighborhood, where tear-downs were the norm. I brought her two offers immediately. One was from a contractor who planned on demolishing the house. The other was from a couple planning on renovating it, but it was for $15,000 less. She, and the family, chose to accept the lower offer, in order to save the house! It is now renovated and looks beautiful. It helped my faith in humanity to see sellers that would actually accept less money for their property than they could have gotten, in order to save it.
So, I try to concentrate on these and many other good experiences, rather than the bad experiences I have had as a Realtor. I have even received thank you cards from clients, and sometimes even from other agents that I had a cross-sale with! Many past clients have used my services again and again, which is also very gratifying.
We all have to appreciate our own strengths and successes. Years ago, my former business partner who was my Broker-in-Charge at the time, told another Broker-in Charge that I was one of the best agents she knew, which was much appreciated. I will never forget that.
Buyers and sellers: please choose a Realtor you can trust and who is capable of doing their job in a professional and well informed manner. It doesn’t matter if they are your friend, you shouldn’t eliminate them because of that, if they will do a good job. Also, please don’t blame your listing agent, if your property is over priced or has flaws the market will not accept at the current price. The grass is not necessarily greener at another agency! Use your Realtor’s knowledge and appreciate their strong points. They want to sell your property as much, or more, than you do! Please have some loyalty and appreciation for the work your Realtor has done. We don’t get paid until it sells…
Fellow Realtors: please don’t let the negative experiences get you down! Eventually, a Realtor high point will come along, if you keep believing in yourself and continue to do the best job you can. Be well informed and competent. Listen to your clients, but also know you bring a lot to the table. The client is not the Realtor. This is what 34 years of experience has taught me, and as the Sondheim song goes: “Good times and bum times. I’ve seen ’em all, and my dear, I’m still here!”