I've been selling homes full-time in Austin since 1997. I've trained dozens of local agents, and coached many others around the country. As a broker and owner of my own independent real estate firm, I've helped with hundreds of transactions. Through my online networking efforts and "in person" conferences, I'm thankful that I've met hundreds (maybe thousands) of agents.
Why do I mention this?
Well, it's pretty straightforward. Having encountered agents and clients of all types, I've noticed one trend:
Real estate is neither as easy as clients think, nor as hard as agents think.
Allow me to explain:By and large, I think the general perception from the public at large is that we real estate agents have it pretty easy. Show a home or two, help with some paperwork, then coast into commission town. I'm oversimplifying things, of course, but I know that I'm not far off here. I wish it were true that my job was that simple. It involves being really patient and diplomatic even in the face of major adversity, often from your own colleagues. Sometimes, clients aren't loyal. Often, lenders make mistakes that jeopardize sales. Frankly, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to real estate sales, and a lot of juggling has to occur.
Having said that, real estate isn't rocket science, either. When agents are struggling (I've been there), it's easy to blame outside factors:
"The economy is in the tank."
"Banks have tightened guidelines, so no one can get a loan anymore."
"The media won't quit talking about how bad things are."
Believe me, I've had the same thoughts myself at times, but the bottom line is this: In any given market on any given month, people are buying homes. They might be buying fewer homes than they were 5 years ago, but there is business to be had everywhere.
If you're a consumer reading this post, know that most agents work hard and a solid number of us are good at what we do and conduct business in a professional manner. If you're an agent, grab your share of the pie. The pie may not be as large, but neither is the number of people who want a piece anymore. Too much analogy?
There's the paradox as I see it, and of course it's just my opinion. I've always found it interesting how different the perspective is from the outside vs. the inside of our industry. In my own naive way, I think it's probably the opposite of how doctors are perceived by others ("Wow, being a brain surgeon has to be a really hard job.") compared with their self-perception ("Brain surgery ain't hard."). Alright, in fairness, they probably don't say "ain't".
What are your thoughts? I welcome your feedback.
Photo: rrenzoo Creative Commons 2.0