A consumer said this: (result of my poll) I was really disgusted at the obvious consumer mentality behind the cars both of the realtors I worked with drove - one a Lincoln, own a BMW. I thought it was disgusting, and I wasn't sure what they were trying to prove, except to go BuyOwner when we sell, because obviously they make too much commission.
The general public do think that real estate agents do make alot of money. Again, we (the real estate people) understand the perceived image of success. Hence, our fancy car, nice suits and definitely big hair-do.
There are more into "real work" to become a resourceful agent. It's definitely more than opening a few doors on a Saturday afternoon and sticking a For Sale sign on a Sunday afternoon. While there are a few who puts in minimal effort, most are hardworking - even much more than a regular 8am-5pm position. Sometimes working over 60-80 hours may not seen uncommon. We eat, sleep and think real estate. We constantly think of better ways to serve our clients whether it's through education, parties or reading on the internet. Sometimes in the middle of our sleep when a great idea strike, we jump out of bed to write it down. In some extreme cases, this field have cost the high price of our families.
We "invest" in a website, we purchase leads and we pay our real estate dues. We purchase health and disability insurance. Most of the time, these are purchased at a much higher premium than a regular employee - where majority of the insurance costs are beared by the company itself. Like any good planner, we invest in retirement accounts too. We save for our kids' college education.
In this Internet age, consumers expects us to deliver information immediately. We purchase office supplies and equip our business with high-tech electronics and machines - not just to be cool, but to "wire" ourselves so that we can responsively serve our clients in this instantaneous society.
Advertising and marketing costs are enormous to say the least - even before receiving the wonderful opportunity of serving our clients. Print media can be expensive and internet pay-per-clicks are not cheap either. An agent can spend well over $500/month and yet still may not be as productive.
We attend parties and we go to networking meetings. We visit other real estate offices to sell our listings. We certainly dont just put our houses on the Multiple Listing Service for sale and they magically sell (yes, some do but majority of them dont). We sit through countless production meetings even when we rather watch TV or spend an extra hour at home. Some of us work with mentors, or join high-quality real estate training. Such classes often cost thousands of dollars and help us get ready to work with clients serving with top-notch knowledge and enthusiasm.
We study our markets, we preview houses after houses even when we dont have a client to work with in the specific market. We read through email alerts of houses that comes on the market. We get up early in the morning, we go down late at night.
We continuously put ourselves through education. Some are used to meet the minimum state requirements for holding our licenses, but most agents carefully select courses (some take additional classes) so that they can acquire knowledge to assist their clients better. Most consumers are not aware of the designations that real estate agents hold. Most don't care. Yet, I'm taking this opportunity to bring an awareness to this issue: there are alot of effort that goes into getting such accreditation. Some courses like ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative) and ASR (Accredited Seller Representative) have specific educational and experiential criteria guidelines to meet. A new designtation called Quality Service Certification (QSP) is consumer-oriented program where past clients rate their agent's quality service in a survey. These accreditations are additional costs that service-conscious real estate professional choose to engage in. Then, there are yearly dues to pay for maintaining such accreditations.
We hire office assistants to handle the volume we serve. We understand that clients expect high-quality, responsive service. These assistants work behind the scenes. They help us keep our transactions rolling smooth, they help us get answers for our clients. Their awesome help relieve us from day-to-day operations so that we have time to return our clients' phone calls ourselves.
I do hope that this post will let consumers peek into the world of a resourceful real estate professional. There are more examples to think of. I know I am barely scratching the surface. Just like any good ie high-quality gem, we get what we pay for. We perform all these activities and more. Yet we only get paid when a house successfully sells. So, are we worth the 3% we charge?
Why purchase a Lexus, Acura and Tahoe when we can purchase a Sportege, Elantra and Cobalt since all of them takes us to the same place? Why would a consumer choose to eat at a steak restaurant when a fast food chain serve the same purpose of feeding that hungry stomach? Why would a consumer want to work with an ordinary agent when the best of the best in the market is available? Would the best of the best charge not deserve the commission we make?