When you hire a REALTOR®, you want someone who is great at selling, right? And if you’re listing your home, this might seem like THE most important quality to look for. I suppose that if you don’t mind selling your home for any price in any amount of time with a potentially unending amount of stress… then yes, the SALE is all that matters.
But if you want the right result then the right things have to happen first, long before the transaction takes place.
Yet the perception remains that organized real estate is purely transactional. And that real estate agents are overpaid sales people who drive around in their BMWs all day chanting “Always Be Closing” into their rear view mirrors.
Sadly, most of what I read online supports this idea. Journalists are happy to tell consumers why they should skip the REALTOR® and buy or sell property themselves, because you know, it’s really easy and all you need is a lawyer to draw up the paperwork and you’re good to go.
I’ve always said that if you have the time, money and desire to understand real estate, by all means go it alone. It’s a choice. I can only represent clients who are engaged in the process of organized real estate, and who believe in the value I provide. Not that I expect anyone to automatically GET what that value looks like, but a good REALTOR® is happy to demonstrate how he or she will earn a commission.
That said, the language of the real estate industry has to change, and I think real estate agents themselves are in the best position to foster that change. The myopic focus on “getting the deal” isn’t serving our clients and it continues to harm our reputation (none of this surprises you, I know).
The point of hiring a real estate agent isn’t “sales.” It’s to acquire the benefits of agency.
When we only talk about real estate agency in the context of “sales,” we perpetuate this idea that there is a straight, short line from A to B, as if getting a client to closing day, smoothly and efficiently, is a cake walk. Moreover, a good agent will provide countless ancillary services in conjunction with the agency relationship, selling included.
“Sales” implies a momentary transaction, a quick-hit exchange of money for something of value. That’s hardly the case when representing a client in real estate. I turn over a lot of homes in my business, but it’s not because I’m the greatest closer in the world. It’s that the selling part of my work comes organically. It’s an attitude, a way of doing business, a quiet confidence and a passion for process that moves things along.
I’ve never needed to push hard on people or make them uncomfortable in order to sell a house.
People are sold to all day long, every time they pick up their phone, open an email or log onto Facebook. They’re sold to at the drive-thru and when they walk into a place of business. It never stops. I do not strive to be another annoying sales pitch.
The grittier truth behind success in this business is that most of our days (and evenings and weekends) are spent optimizing time and money for our clients while ensuring their best interests are protected. That’s not a cake walk. It’s hard work.
Ever peruse a standard-form purchase contract? Most people have never read one from beginning to end. Most lawyers can’t even agree on what the fine print means. But it is the job of a REALTOR® to help you create a legally binding agreement that you can readily comply with. The purchase price is exactly one line of the 7-10 page agreement.
This is just one example of how a real estate agent hardly makes his living in “sales.” The uncommon truth is that sales happen in a broader context of professional competence and exceptional client care. I’m confident I’ll close the deal, but how do you want to get there?
That’s the question we need to start asking.
Got questions for me? Call me at 403.394.6699. Or click to send me an email through my Contact page.