Dehumanization of The Real Estate Agent

By
Real Estate Agent with Douglas Elliman Real Estate 30HA0800896
https://activerain.com/droplet/5gWG

Dehumanization of The Real Estate Agent

It has been too long now for most people to remember how real estate agents and their brokers functioned in the past.

My last post, "'DIRECT HUMAN INTERACTION'...The Importance Of HUMAN Connection In Real Estate" was featured here on AR. This post covered the reasons that I believe to be behind the falling off of sales across the country and the malaise that we see within brokerages as they try to regain the place that belonged to them for so long. It points to the reaction/perception that has developed over the last 6-7 years, that it is Zillow and its counterparts who are running the show now in real estate. I wrote that post to counter the idea that we, as agents are less important than ever before--On the contrary, a disenfranchised public is LOOKING for the human connection that they vaguely remember, BZ (Before Zillow)

I was also invited to share that post on another website for real estate agents: ZURPLE, AGENT INSIGHTS.  It should appear in about a week, so check back at the above website to see that placement.

This post should make points through ideas and a few examples of how we can begin to formulate our return to the rightful place for brokerage. I hope the points I make are well recieved and then we can all begin to rethink how we are engaging our clients and customers.

BZ--BEFORE OUR NEMISIS, ZILLOW

BZ (Before Zillow) We, as licensed agents, were the point of connection for the public. They found us in our property ads, our public open houses and through our signs on houses. They found us in church and at dinner parties, restaurants and the movies.

But more often then not they found us in our offices, at our desks working hard on all of our deals and potential clients.

These points of contact were the way we did our daily work and we did it very well! The public had no problem coming in to the office to speak to an agent!!

For most agents in today's real estate business, to understand the importance of interaction with the public and how it "drives the bus" is an impossible task!

It's not that the agents have forgotten---they have never known what it feels like! These are the nameless ones who rely on the Internet to generate their leads, to approve of them through the almost anonymous rating systems on big real estate sites and who actually pay for their own face to show up on any listing, no matter who has brought the listing to market!

TO DEHUMANIZE IS TO MAKE LESS HUMAN--AS IN A ROW OF FACES ON THE WEB, WITHOUT A FRAME OF REFERENCE, NEXT TO A PROPERTY THAT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH ANY ONE OF THE FACES!

"Call this agent" is the command from behind the curtain--and the public follows suit. They make those calls and they get nothing but a possible confrontation as to "Who are you??? I called the listing agent to see this house!" They feel entirely miss-lead.

The public is fed up! They no longer want to even consider working with an agent to buy or sell their homes. It may take a few years before the bad experiences that the public is sure to have with the dubious likes of Z, T and others as they effort to DIY (Do It Yourself) in real estate.

ITS TIME TO RETURN TO A PROVEN, MORE DIRECT INTERACTION IN REAL ESTATE

No longer can we rely on our reputations to get referrals and calls from friends  and friends of friends! We have had our reputations decimated and down-right trashed by the likes of Big Sites, i.e. Z, T and others. We have literally been dehumanized by the phony line up of stars near each face---an insinuation that said agent is a top producer when in fact they may be a brand new agent, or at the very most,  have 1-2 deals that closed!!

AS AGENTS, WE HAVE NOT FULLY INFORMED THE PUBLIC OF JUST WHAT IT IS THAT WE DO!

We as agents/brokers have not been forthcoming enough with the public on just what it is that we do. The complexity of the deal is something most people have never been involved with--the perception of a "seamless deal" comes almost completely from the talent of the agent--and his or her ability to foresee issues and prevent them from becoming deal breakers.

It is very hard to tell people how hard we work so we need to demonstrate it in our day to day interactions with them. This is not a simple thing to do but I feel that we are on the leading edge of something new here and we need to take this opportunity to create videos, do seminars and do other public focused and interactive things that show us in the light that we need to be seen in.

It may be that we start doing seminars to the public--There is huge public interest in real estate--why not use that to our advantage?

Spend time in your offices again! Do more open houses! Appear in public as you help the needy!..but more than anything else: STOP PAYING THE MONSTER!!!

We can inform the public collectively, offering to those who are interested ways to understand what they can do to make the best real estate decisions--this time from the "horses mouth". I am open to hearing all the other ideas that are out there--something has to stick!

I just attended a "Give-Back" seminar that was held here in Southampton Village at the Southampton Arts Center on Jobs Lane and it was for our company with a handful of Douglas Elliman agents who appeared on a panel and who are in line with the same thinking--Give-back, or interact with the community:

  • These were agents who volunteer and are on the board of a day-school for the neediest of children in our area (no one seems to understand that there are very needy families here in the Hamptons).
  • An agent who has been a board member and President at one time for the "Fresh Air Fund", a 120 year old "summer home" for disabled children in New York City who get a free vacation here in the Hamptons very year. 
  • An agent who is a volunteer coach in a local high school in Bridgehampton. 
  • An agent who is a Colonial in the Air Force and he does volunteer helicopter rescues at sea and for accident victims here, who are taken to Stony Brook Hospital many miles away.
  • An agent who has been a volunteer in many of the local charitable groups here.

It was fascinating to watch as the whole idea of Direct Human Interaction was displayed right there in front of me--making a terrific point! What a great "from the Heart" experience!!

This is an opportunity for those of us who do remember the business when we  still had a semblance of respect and personal dignity. We are a large group and it is impossible to destroy ALL of us; yet there is a full throated effort a-foot to undermine brokerages.

In the public perception, we have lost out completely to the most unlikely competitors--the world of technology!!

It is true that NAR did not support us in the very beginning when we had a chance to put the tech experts in their proper place! It is true that NAR did nothing as they watched the Zs and Ts come into our business with no real estate or local knowledge--and yet they turned away as these sites usurped the very reason for brokerage--to protect the public from nefarious, questionable treatment!

But, try we must!! I look forward to hearing comments from those members here on AR who have suggestions and ideas that can begin to bring the public interest back to us all! Please comment below??!

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Debbie Reynolds 07/24/2018 05:00 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Best Practices
Location:
New York Suffolk County Southampton
Groups:
Active Rain Newbies
Real Estate Tomato Bloggers
"Whacked"!!!
Addicted to Active Rain
Bananatude
Tags:
interaction
public interest
regenerate human interaction
dehumanizing agents
humanize the real estate profession
nefarious treatment

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Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi Anna: Good for you--I remember you  post yesterday and I think you have really revolutionized the way to get through the rough spots in real estate! Many agents right now are freaking out! It is the most outlandish thing I have ever seen here---especially here in the Hamptons--We have a rather Patrician demographic here and the agetns are all part of that--those who are now playing that game you speak of with Z,T and R ar new to the area; from the city as a matter of fact! They came here to make gobs of money, never giving a thought to the use of a national site--having no knowledge of the areas themslves except for the celebrity aspect and the party atmosphere, they buy their   leads and at first they thrived--2 years have gone by and now the public is alert to the ruse of Zillow and those agents are suffering. The market is dead! No one trusts the agents anymore--the houses are all overpriced and people are just not interested...Anyway, thanks for your comment and input!!I really appreciate it!

Jul 22, 2018 06:29 PM #33
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Debbie: It is so true--"We ARE all on our own"! it is pretty jarring to see the way people are treating agents here right now...They are only using them to see the inside of the big expensive houses--then they disappear--poof! these people are here becasue they can rent a hosue for a few bucks through Air B&B--They are not able to afford the houses here...So that means the resort rental market has gone bust! Every house here is now a hotel. The people who are coming here are partying and then leaving their messes for the homeowner--not your typical summer tenant who pays a fortune to be here for 3 months!! That typical tenant has gone to greener pastures--they can't stand the new day tripper who eats on the street and leaves their trash for someone else to pick up! So we are getting it at both ends and it is no fun!! The internet has left it's mark on this wonderful place and I am hoping that we as a community can begin to bring it back, as long as we stay focused....

Jul 22, 2018 06:37 PM #34
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi Laura: Thanks for the tip! Sounds like it may work! I agree about NAR--They have never taken it upon themselves to help us out in any way! I heard they are blaming the heads of the big real estate brokerages for selling us down the river! It was that too but more than anything it was the way the agents started to pay for leads--out of thin air there was a "gold rush" to  the Zs and Ts and that ws the beginning of the end. I almost feel like the State could have stepped in too--maybe regulate the way private property is listed for the public--those sites do make homeowners vulnerable in ways we as an industry NEVER did...they were protected by our licenseing laws and our companies kept their personal information/home access under lock and key--literally! Thanks for your comment!

Jul 22, 2018 07:10 PM #35
Rainmaker
1,273,307
Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl
Samsel & Associates - Clark, NJ
The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate

Zillow and the others can't change the fact that this is a relationships based business. We have to adapt to changes in the industry, of course, but successful agents are always going to be about the relationships.

Jul 23, 2018 06:44 AM #36
Rainmaker
302,910
Gordon Crawford
Gordon Crawford Home Selling Team - Morristown, NJ
Your Morris County Specialist!

Wonderful post Paula!  I love the BZ (before Zillow).  When it suits the client, they talk about it as if it were the ultimate authority and when it doesn't, they pay no attention.

Nothing will ever compare to a thoroughly knowledge professional who knows the local markets and the intracies that Zillow or any other technology can't isolate.

Technology is here to stay but we must use it to stay in touch with our clients and give the best personal service so there is no comparison.

Jul 23, 2018 07:14 AM #37
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi Wayne and Jean Marie: That is the key--relationships. That means person to person, directly connecting by phone, in the office or an open house!  I am so happy you agree! Wonder when this Internet interference will die down? Maybe in another year? Maybe never but it certainly is a monster of an interference!! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Jul 23, 2018 08:18 AM #38
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi Gordon: Thanks for reading it and commenting here! Yes BZ is a buzz acronym that works well--I just made it up, but it fits doesn't it? There is so much BZZZ about Z right now but I believe it's because it is a very negative influence on the whole real estate profession---maybe it will take a while to go away or adjust and let us get on with our lives as agents but it is an interference that we can't just ignore! I totally agree with: "Nothing will ever compare to a thoroughly knowledgeable professional who knows the local markets and the intricacies that Z or any other technology can't isolate". That is a complete description of what we do and what they have absolutely no understanding of. Thanks for your valuable input, Gordon!

Jul 23, 2018 08:27 AM #39
Rainmaker
2,422,639
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

It may just come down to who is available & when. Zillow: Always. Agents: hmm

Jul 23, 2018 06:45 PM #40
Rainmaker
3,517,176
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Paula. I think real estate is too important to be handled in a mechanized way.

Jul 24, 2018 05:51 AM #41
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi Richie: I don't know what you mean--but if you are saying Z is about to upset the whole brokerage community--I beleive THEY think they will do that but they have no idea what they are up against when it comes to the real estate community! After hearing from so many agents in recent weeks, I think that we make a formidable challenge!! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Jul 24, 2018 06:41 AM #42
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi Sheila: I totally agree--we have a certain amount of mechanization--but it is limited when you get right down to the real workings of real estate. There is too much that is left up to human interaction for it to be easily converted to internet mechanization--as you say: "It is too important"! It still is after all, the single largest purchase one makes in ones lifetime!!! 

Jul 24, 2018 06:45 AM #43
Rainmaker
4,307,805
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Paula,

Our wonderful agents go out of their way to be part of the community.  One of our clients with her husband help the Navy Seals Museum which is dedicated to help the children of the Navy Seals whose parents have died in service, and so many other things.  They own a golf tournament, which also funds the Seals.

 

Jul 24, 2018 09:07 AM #44
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

HI Alexandra: That sounds terrific! I Love the idea of doing something special for the Navy seals. They are especially deserving with all they do for the public! Giving Back is such a good idea and I am always looking for the right place to put my time in as a volunteer...I see that your agents do the same..

Jul 24, 2018 09:34 AM #45
Rainmaker
124,601
Mary Ann Daniell Realtor
Coldwell Banker United, Realtors - Subsidiary of NRT LLC - Killeen, TX
Delivering Successful Results Since 1999

Thanks for this insightful and timely post.  Those of us in the business for a long time remember how we could help clients BZ (love that!).   Now we still help clients in spite of Z and others.  It's just harder sometimes, and requires another way of communicating with those clients to help them get what they want.

Jul 24, 2018 06:01 PM #46
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hii Mary Ann: You have it! It is so much more difficult today and we have to be so much more creative and sensitive to what the public needs in the way of guidance--It's almost like we need to walk on eggshells for the moment because I believe there are very deep wounds from the internet and the way the public has been throw to the wolves, so to speak!

Jul 24, 2018 08:12 PM #47
Rainmaker
151,104
Aida Pinto
United Associated Brokers - Long Beach, CA
Real Estate Broker (562) 884-6196

"No longer can we rely on our reputations to get referrals and calls from friends  and friends of friends!"  Paula you hit the nail on the head for me.  I am at that place.  For so many years, I relied on my reputation and from referrals but after being away for almost two years due to illness--I feel like a  newbie, but I'm determined to get back to work and I will not be afraid of the challenges that I see coming.  "I will not be afraid of the challenges I see coming"....this is my mantra when I wake up.  I have to admit, some days are tougher, I'm still dealing with the side affects of chemo and radiation...but if cancer didn't kill me, I'm not going to let zillow or redfin get the best of me yet.   I'm fighting back.  I just don't know exactly how, yet. 

Jul 25, 2018 08:01 AM #49
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi Aida:

Good for you! Don't let them get to you---Just keep reading the posts here and that will help you to get to the point where you understand how they are affectng our businesses and what you can do to stop them. Good luck with your "fight" and keep us all posted as to how you are progressing, OK? Thanks for reading and sharing here!

Jul 25, 2018 10:45 AM #50
Rainmaker
784,129
Kevin Mackessy
Blue Olive Properties, LLC - Highlands Ranch, CO
Dedicated. Qualified. Local.

Picking up the phone and calling works wonders these days.  In a world increasingly dominated by email, it is nice to remind your client that there is a human being on the other end of the communication.  

Jul 26, 2018 11:21 AM #52
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Hi Kevin: Boy! Is that true! I get more of a response to my phone calls and mailers than I am getting from anything online--it is like someone threw a switch! This will drive my whole marketing strategy going forward....Thanks for reading and commenting, Kevin!

Jul 26, 2018 12:39 PM #53
Rainmaker
487,348
Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Southampton, NY
...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!

Mark Roland: Please do not use my page for your advertising purposes! Please remove or I will...

Jul 27, 2018 06:37 AM #55
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Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA

...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons!
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