Part Timers VS Hobbyists
In Real Estate there's always been an attitude amongst many that "part time agents have no business being in the business". This argument becomes a little louder each time we're in a market like we see today with limited inventory, an abundance of licensees, and home sales with prices so high & days on market so low that the general consensus is there's to many unskilled 'professionals' seeking an easy payday.
I've always believed, though, that the argument shouldn't be around whether or not someone is working 40+ hours/week in real estate or not, but whether or not they're providing the type of high level service required to provide the best experience to customers.
I know many great agents who are high performers that are balancing a lot of different jobs. I know some terrible agents that are 100% dedicated to real estate, but can't quite figure out the concept of replying to a phone call or email, and think yelling and bullying people is the key to getting things done.
Recently, a friend of mine went under contract in a market where they found their own agent. All was good, until the time came to go under contract. We're 2 days into a 20 day escrow period, and I still haven't seen the contract. Without a contract, I can't complete the file and prep disclosures, and in an environment where appraisal turn times are extended, I can't even place the order, while the clock is ticking. Of course, 3 weeks from now it'll be our fault because "the lender didn't get closing docs out on time!", but this up front delay is going to be a headache that grows exponentially into a migraine, all for lack of availability.
The agent in question is a part timer. When I contacted him, he let me know his real estate email doesn't go to his phone, so he only checks it when he wraps up his day job and can get to a computer. Yes. In THIS market, that's how a "business" is being run. The buyers are understandably nervous, and I can't blame them.
When you sign up to work in the real estate industry, people are relying on your for expertise and guidance. If you can't provide it, GET OUT. And if you're in, you need to be available, communicate, and not be a barrier to a smooth transaction for your customers.
In my opinion, there's nothing wrong with a part time agent that knows their stuff, knows how to communicate, and is either available to clients or has a backup that can be responsive. But there is a very real problem with hobbyists putting the ability to buy a home for deserving people at risk because they're not fully invested in their business.
If you're a hobbyist, go ahead and buy your own homes, sell your own homes, and enjoy the discounts. But don't represent other people putting their full faith into your expertise for the biggest purchase of their lifetime if you won't make yourself available to be the professional you portrayed yourself to be. This market has no room for bush league agents.