Popular opinion says that most real estate agents are little more than opportunistic sales people of the worst kind. Ruthless, careless, shallow human beings with no regard for anyone’s interests but their own.
Indeed, every single profession I can think of contains its fair share of deplorables. (Donald Trump, a real estate broker himself, may now be the most famous of them all. Although those within his personal circle don’t seem to agree… maybe there’s an unfortunate parallel there.)
Much like the car biz, organized real estate receives a great deal more public attention than many other professions. The reasons are simple. For most people, homes cost a monumental sum of money. Yet home ownership is a goal of most, even for the hipster-est of millennials. Plus, the perception is that what we do is not only lucrative, but easy money too. People seem to really hate that.
I suppose some of us make it look easy. And at one point in history, perhaps some of the money was easy(ish). But if we break it down to its essence, real estate is a people business. It’s a tough business. It’s a gruelling business. It’s an unforgiving business. It’s a business with high personal cost… eating dinner with our kids, kissing foreheads goodnight, singing Happy Birthday, phone-less time with our spouses, and so much more that we simply forego in order to help our clients have a remarkable experience. That said….
At its core, real estate is a job that keeps the honest agent up at night. As it should…
Earlier this year, I was asked to write a guest piece for the 2016 edition of The Honest Agent, by Mario Jannatpour. I met Mario online early in my career, when I was still figuring out how to build a real estate practice from nothing. Mario’s message was a healthy reminder that the fundamentals never change. People just want an experience that is helpful and authentic. I hope a few people are heartened by that. Most of us really do mean what we say and say what we mean. And so I wrote the following article for Mario in just a few minutes. I say this not to brag but to point out that when you write from your personal truth, the words come easy. Here’s are mine:
When I got into real estate a number of years ago, I was concerned about a culture that seemed to value “the deal” more than the client. Mario’s book, The Honest Agent, was positive validation for a new agent who wanted to be herself, have a profitable business, and do the job right.
In business and in life, honesty is foundational to all. If we are not honest with ourselves, we cannot grow as people. If we cannot grow, fulfillment is an impossible dream. And honesty is so much more than “not lying!” It’s about integrity. My clients constantly thank me for being straight forward, proactive, and honest.
After the deal is done, clients will remember your character, perhaps more than anything else.
If you are not standing in your integrity, then it is much more difficult to look a client or prospective client in the eye and ask for the privilege of representing them. For you are asking for the keys to their hearts, their trust, and maybe their most treasured possession… home.
Without honesty, you cannot sustainably serve clients. You’ll lose sleep. Your health will suffer. The client may face hardship because you couldn’t bring yourself to be honest about something that you thought was “no big deal.” (Who are you to say what matters or doesn’t matter to another human being?)
Of course, it should also go without saying that as a licensed agent, you have a very real obligation to act honestly.
Selling real estate is hard. But it is much harder to enjoy the journey when you’re constantly on guard about the truth. We are paid to have the tough conversations. We are paid to ask questions that no one else has asked. We are paid to present facts and safeguard from dangerous nuance. We are paid to be honest.
Bold honesty is the most merciful, generous thing you can do for your client and for your business. It cannot be quantified by a quick buck, but there is no doubt that being honest will pay you back with loyal clients and a rewarding, prosperous career.
Want an honest agent working for you on your next home purchase or sale? Call me! Or send an email. I’d love to hear from you.