Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 30HA0800896

COMPETENCE IS A RARE QUALITY IN  REAL ESTATE...Do You Have It???  (This is part 2 of a 5 part featured post on the 5 Keys to success in real estate. If you missed the featured post or found it too long to read at one sitting, here it is in separate posts)

II. COMPETENCE: Competence is a rare quality in real estate---You know very well that if awards were handed out for incompetence in real estate, chances are many agents would win it! I do not state this in a patronizing way--I state it as a COMPETENCE is a Giftfact.

There are only a handful of agents who truly excel in the business in many market places---why??? Because many people come into the real estate profession thinking that it is all about showing houses; then the truth becomes revealed, first in the class room where many agents start to see how much responsibility comes with a carrying a real estate license. It shows up in each and every part of the business, if the new agent is open to seeing it! Most miss this important clue and end up discouraged and defeated and before long they end up in the "incompetent" category simply because they lost the ability to understand what it really takes to be a great agent. They take short cuts, they don't seek information---they essentially settle into a pattern of "incompetence".

In order for an individual to truly achieve a stature of competence in the real estate profession, one must excel at the basics of the business. That means one must gain as much informational experience as possible. Notice I said informational experience; I know that years of study and action in the field is needed to become proficient in the ways a town or a city handles the zoning and building of it's residential areas. EXPERTISE is found only through those long, hard days and months of working with the tools of the trade.

However, competence can be achieved in a much shorter time period if the dedication to learning is in place.


  • First, one must recognize the NEED FOR COMPETENCE.
  • Next, one must seek out all the ways competence can be engendered; digging into the files of the local building and zoning departments is a good start.
  • Then, find it and use it as if your life depends on it.
  • Never will you have the respect you strive for if competence is not at the top of your list of qualifications in your career!


Competence does not drop out of the sky into your lap---it is a sought-after qualification that will take quality time to develop, to cultivate.....It will take a real drive for excellence and stature in the community. Go for the one thing that appears to be missing in most agents resume': COMPETENCE.


  • Find out how to get the most information from your town building department--become a regular in town hall. Work with the zoning books; understand them and ask someone there if you don't.
  • Ask questions of the real pros; ask until you make them feel like they want to ignore you. Then, explain that you are working on your competence factor, that you want to be as proficient in your knowledge as they are! (A good compliment works wonders when you need help like this!)
  • Gather as much information regarding a subject property as possible--leave nothing out!
  • Offer regular presentations to your clients and customers--make them as brief and informative as possible; keep them rich in content---as you do here on your ActiveRain blogs!!!
  • Become Proficient at informing your client/customer base of current developments--
  • Do an e-newsletter--a smart and fast way to keep them informed.
  • Become a close associate to a trusted mortgage broker, or banker.
  • Get to know the basics of financing real estate...just make sure it is enough so you are not stumped by a question from a buyer.
  • Always express your level of competence to your contacts; this will help push your standing in their ........TO THE STARS!!opinion and may even increase your referrals!



NOW YOU ARE READY TO FLY!  You can do it! Only when you have built a level of competence will you feel the confidence that is essential to a successful business...


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Courtney Cooper 11/20/2012 04:23 PM
  2. Jon Karlen 11/20/2012 04:30 PM
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Christopher Campa
Northern VA Realtor

Do you find that most incompetent agents end up going out of business or become irrelevant?  I'm an Attorney turned Realtor.  As an Attorney your competency level is unbreakably connected to your reputation, and your reputation is everything.  In my brokerage firm I find that the reputation of Realtors is more important than any commission. 

Nov 19, 2012 01:17 PM #5
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Christopher: I agree totally; I do find however that the level of competence varies from agent to agent and if one has the added background such as yours, it helps tremendously!

Nov 20, 2012 02:14 AM #6
Eve Alexander
Buyers Broker of Florida - Orlando, FL
Exclusively Representing ONLY Orlando Home Buyers

To me competence is know what to do, how to solve problems and how to not only "talk the talk" but also "walk the walk"

Getting educated through classes in contracts, laws, property values, short sales, foreclosures, liability, agency,financing, 1031, is a short cut to compentency...without knowledge there is no competency.

And I agree most agents and even brokers don't have it...

Eve in Orlando

Nov 20, 2012 07:52 AM #7
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Hi Eve: Yes, there are those who can't pull competence off no matter what! I have seen agents go to classes every month and those that seem to study all the time, and those in many cases are the worst! Why? I think it has something to do with getting your hands "dirty" so to speak---getting into the slop and working it until you can do that without getting any of it on you!!!( A fine way to draw an analogy, but it does fit does it not?) The worst experiences for me end up to be the best because I learned so much from them---these are the things that prepare me for the next big mess, and it helps me to find a way through it and come out unscathed! These situations help in becoming more competent from my way of thinking....

Nov 20, 2012 08:38 AM #8
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Regrettably in this business competence is often not measured by some of the criteria you presented, but rather by the number or volume of sales, the latter sometimes arrived at by means other than competence. 

Nov 20, 2012 10:24 AM #9
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County
Perhaps the first step to recognizing the need for competence is to understand that we always need to be learning as real estate is always changing. Some people think that they know it all.
Nov 20, 2012 12:21 PM #10
Richard Bazinet /MBA, CRS, ABR
West USA Realty - Scottsdale, AZ
Phoenix Scottsdale. Sellers, Buyers & Relocations

Paula, I read your blog with great interest and you make exceptional points. Indeed competence is much needed in real estate. I don't know if it is a 'rarity' as being more the exception than the rule, but competence is also lacking in many other businesses and professions.

You touched upon something absolutely crucial - competence in our business of real estate means competence in business in general equally as well - as they are not mutually exclusive but rather congruent. I find that competence in business in general is an even greater concern.

I think competency in our business in general should be measured as combined in real estate and business knowledge, skills, abilities and experience.

Nov 20, 2012 12:23 PM #11
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Olga: you are so right!...and that is one reason I felt compelled to write this post! It's not often that we have a chance to spout off about the lack of competence without making some one person wrong--so here we can at least converse about the generalities....

Melissa: I agree and yet there is a basis from which we function and that is where I wanted to point out the differences between just doing buisness and doing it with a flourish and, well...competence!

Richard: You put it so well when you talk about the "combined business knowledge, skills, abilities and experience" as the way one measures competence in all businesses....thank you!

Nov 20, 2012 02:56 PM #12
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Good morning Paula - Great point. Competent real estate professionals are always learning how to improve, and AR is a great place to do it!

Nov 20, 2012 04:20 PM #13
Courtney Cooper
Ben Kinney Brokerages Leadership at our Keller Williams North Seattle Office - Seattle, WA

Paula, this is wonderful  - consider it reblogged and I would have suggested it had I seen it before you got featured.  Passing it on to others....

Nov 20, 2012 04:21 PM #14
Jon Karlen
Finish Line Realty - Shelbyville & Louisville Ky Real Estate - Shelbyville, KY
Louisville & Shelbyville Kentucky real estate

Outstanding post about the importance of having a quality, hard working real estate agent in your corner that TRULY knows the market.

Nov 20, 2012 04:29 PM #15
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

"Competence does not drop out of the sky into your lap"

I believe that competence comes from transactional experience.  Experience through contract management is the best teacher I know. 

This is hard, almost impossible, for new or newer agents to understand.

Book learning and classroom learning are good for information, but until you've experience a situation in a transaction, it will have little meaning. 

Nov 20, 2012 08:01 PM #16
Joe Petrowsky
Mortgage Consultant, Right Trac Financial Group, Inc. NMLS # 2709 - Manchester, CT
Your Mortgage Consultant for Life

I love your post and thank you for sharing it with all of us.

 I'm sure we all have different opinions on what competence is. Unfortunately there are many in the industry that don't have a clue as to what it real means and what it really takes to be considered competent.

Nov 20, 2012 08:44 PM #17
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author


Often you see human beings acting out of incompetence. That's how we know what competence is because we know what it isn't. When we see the essence of the person missing and not on point, it gets the attention right off....I had a client tell me recently that people with money are looking for people they can spend it on. They will pay to get the result. The point was finding a competent person is not that easy. Good post Paula and thank you

Nov 20, 2012 11:53 PM #18
Pat & Steve Pribisko
Keller Williams Greater Cleveland West - Westlake, OH

Paula, you are spot on.  Competence is so important.  My husband always wanted a family biz after our kids were gone.  But, but he was from the non-profit world and I was from the for-profit world. In 2006, it finally hit me that I had been in the real estate world for over half of my life, with a W-2.  So, I said let's do it, become a Realtor Team.  I told him that he would have a steep learning curve, because I would be training him every day.

Nov 21, 2012 03:38 AM #19
Michael Setunsky
Woodbridge, VA
Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA

Paula, in this business you gain competence by learning the basics and doing transactions. It also helps to have a mentor to guide the newbie along the way.

Nov 21, 2012 05:10 AM #20
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Paula, great blog....Competence does not fall in our must work for it!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Nov 21, 2012 08:41 AM #21
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I'm relatively new to the field but I know I spend day and night studying it like a science. I feel very competent but I'd love more field experience.

Nov 21, 2012 08:42 AM #22
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Wayne and Jean:You are so right-- unwillingness to learn is the Hallmark of incompetence!

Courtney: Than you so much for recognizing what the heck competence really is....:)

Jon: Here! Here! I think that is the measuremnet of a great agent myself--competence is golden if you know what I mean!

Lenn: You have said it perfectly!....again!! Your wisdom is only matched by your competence Lenn and I am sure I speak for everyone here on this site that you epitomize the very thing we are talking about right now, right here.. Thank you for your important contribution to all of us!

Joe:...and, unfortunately you are right on the mark with that one...incompetence is almost seen as a bad habit in many agents who exhibit it, and therefor it is literally ignored. When we do not demand competent agents as partners in a deal, we lose big time and in more ways then one!


Nov 21, 2012 09:32 AM #23
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons

Richie: Brilliant observation---just look a the level of competence we have right here on ActiveRain! Just imagine what this profession would be if there were no one to look at the reflection in the big mirror marked "COMPETENT AGENT" and recognize who that is in our own work...We need more of them; and in a sense of "contemplating our own navels", we NEED to be able to identify it in our own work.

Pat: I certainly hope (and suspect) that you are very successful at what you do...Good work on getting your husband to get involved too!

Michael: You said it all!

Ellen: Happy Thanksgiving to you too! ...and thank you for taking the time to respond!

Jill: ...and there-in lies the very thing we are talking about here. Once you see it, you are more than half way there...TO COMPETENCE!!!


Nov 21, 2012 09:42 AM #24
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...A Local Expert in all The Hamptons
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