Hi there. I know, it has been awhile since I last dropped in to share my thoughts here on AR. Like most folks that began back in 2006, I have put more time in my other blogs and to be perfectly honest, I have been busy working with clients.
I have one of those long distance relationships with many Realtors all across the USA. Many of us are members of a FaceBook group RTB (raise the bar). The focus there is share thoughts, practices, ideas and experiences. The goal is to "raise the bar" in our profession.
One of the more esteemed members of the group, Leslie Ebersole, posted a query about "How much should an agent know about the broader real estate world?".
My thoughts are bit too in-depth for a quick FB comment. The subject matter strikes the very heart of what possibly may be the difference between success and failure for an agent.
Let's begin with my observation. We are in the "transportation" industry.
Our job is to transport our clients from one phase of their life to another (i.e. from renting one location to purchasing another, from owning one home to selling and purchasing another, etc). That is what we are hired to do.
We are sort of like cab drivers. Bear with me here. I am not referring to the task of driving buyers around and showing homes. No, let's move this to a cerebral parable place. Just humor me and follow along.
Before a cab drive even gets behind the wheel, he has to pass the required tests to get a drivers permit and then a CDL. Once that is accomplished, he has to be certified by the agency that governs cab drivers. He has to know the laws that govern his profession and the laws that govern the highways he will travel.
He can't just get behind the wheel of any vehicle. The cab has to be checked out and pass various inspections. It is his responsibility to keep the vehicle clean, gassed up and ready for use. If he doesn't have a functioning cab, being a cab driver is a useless designation.
Cab drivers depend on leads (calls from a dispatcher) and self marketing (making sure his empty cab is in the right spot where available fares my congregate) to stay successful. No fares, no money.
Are you beginning to see the similarities?
A cab driver is tasked with transporting people. Sometimes, he has but one fare at a time and at other times, he may have more than one fare in the cab. (Oh, he also has a lot of down time between fares when times are slow.) If he has one fare, he has to compute the best way to get from point A to point B. If he has more than one fare, he has to compute the most efficient way to get them all where they need to go.
Good cab drivers tend to have experience. Time spent moving people from here to there offers educational opportunities regarding the best way to accomplish any journey. Often, the shortest distance from one spot to another is not the quickest route to take. Over time, cab drivers learn the best way to accomplish their job.
Good cab drivers know their primary area. Sure, they may find themselves servicing a customer that requires a longer trip into places that are not within the usual routes, but they are best when they work the streets that they know. Local knowledge is one of their most valuable tools.
After a period of time, they know the restaurants, the shops, the malls and area attractions. They quickly learn the ins and outs of getting around. Not only do they know the roads, they know where the temporary construction is occurring and they know where the potholes are located along every trip. They know the local streets.
Now, it is not necessary for a cab driver to know the traffic laws everywhere in the USA. A passing knowledge of what states allow right on red, etc. may enhance casual conversation with fares, but it is not tantamount to doing their job. A cab driver does not need to know what the charge per mile is in other cities. Sure, that knowledge may come in handy when dealing with a fare, but the driver only really needs to know what is legitimate locally.
Cab drivers do not need to know how the internal combustion engine works. Some knowledge may help them when attempting to diagnose a problem while working, but in the end, there is a garage and a mechanic trained to take car of the cabs. A cab driver needs to be sure his cab is fueled up and ready to go. (OK, ability to read the fuel gauge is important)
A cab driver does not need to know the in's and out's of neighborhoods in far away cities. The cab driver is better suited keeping abreast of what is going on where they work.
It may appear that keeping one's focus locally runs the risk of not being prepared for changes that may occur. This fear may be rooted in the subconscious knowledge that fashions and music tend to trend from one area to another. All change does not occur in that fashion. As a matter of fact, long before any change takes place locally, it is debated in the media as well as on the streets of any town.
Let's be clear, every pundit's opinion is not a clarion call to send chicken little running Paul Revere-like through the streets. The sky is not falling.
It is much better to trust the words and teachings of Plato in the Meno. Regardless of your education, you understand the world around you. Instinctively, you do not need a COE to know how to conduct yourself. Intuitively, you know right from wrong. You will sense any major change before it takes hold. We all possess that power.
To do your job, you need to know things about where you perform your job. You are a cab driver. Don't mistake yourself for a cross country bus driver. A kernel of explicit local knowledge will trump a bumper crop of all the high fa-looting national news you may attempt to absorb.
Information.....let's not get carried away