Some bombs have to be dropped, and this is one. It has the same impact on agents as silver on vampires; as water on that wicked witch. The “F Bomb” that must be dropped by anyone considering hiring a real estate agent is the “full time bomb”; it that agent a full time professional? The odds are very strong that they are not.
The real estate industry (from local to national) are maestros of spin; it’s always a “great time to buy or sell real estate”. The market is always strong and real estate is always a fantastic investment. That manipulative skill trickles down to the agent level, why are there so many agents? Well the answer is that the industry is most concerned about agents paying fees, nothing else comes close. But transparency is chipping away at the cloak of secrecy and another big chunk fell with the release of the D.A.N.G.E.R. report – Definitive Analysis of Negative Game Changers Emerging in Real Estate. An internal look at the real estate industry and is meant to “encourage an industry wide conversation about the most pressing challenges…”.
The report is not something the average home buyer or seller will find – but they should (and if you look below, there’s a link to the meaty part). And that “F Bomb” mentioned above…oh boy should it be dropped because the report slams the agent community – HARD. And these key things mentioned in the report cost buyers and sellers money, time and aggravation.
“Large number of part-time, untrained, unethical and/or incompetent agents who reflect negatively on the profession”. Real estate’s low barrier of entry, the report argued, is the prime cause of that problem. Why is it so east to obtain and keep a real estate license? Fees; that’s it. Click that link to see how getting a real estate license compares to other businesses. Hint – in GA one can become a managing broker and open a firm WITHOUT EVER HAVING SOLD A HOME. Let that resonate – open a brokerage never having sold a home.
The internet provides consumers access to most everything, all of the time. A significant number of agents cannot adjust to the speed, technology and demands placed upon them. A portion refuse to change, keeping it “old school” and these agents reflect poorly on the industry. Calls and emails not returned, messages returned the next day if at all, poor exposure for listings…symptomatic of the larger problem. With an average agent age in to late 50’s, a large portion of agents are simply irrelevant as they either refuse to adapt or are unable to master the technology. Speed is everything in the current environment.
The 80/20 rule states that 80% of the business is done by 20% of the agents; in real estate it’s even tighter. 50% of the licensed agents fail to sell a home a year and almost 85% cannot earn a living from real estate. That leaves 15% of agents that can be considered professionals that are earning a living wage. Obviously this is nothing the real estate industry wants widely broadcast.
This report is quite clear in it’s conclusions: The vast majority of real estate agents are incompetent, ineffective, inexperienced and generally incapable of providing the guidance the consumers expect. There are two main reasons; a blind eye from professional real estate organizations and ignorance / indifference from the public on how to qualify an agent.
None of this comes as a surprise to those professional agents in this industry; it is a PT Barnum environment and the suckers are home sellers and buyers. The D.A.N.G.E.R. report should be required reading for anyone planning to buy or sell a home. It is frightening and enlightening at the same time. Ensure that an agent is a professional before hiring them, it’s not difficult and takes minutes. Consider:
- Google every agent
- Confirm everything and confirm the agent’s INDIVIDUAL production, not that of the company
- Read reviews, call references
- Confirm everything on their resume
- Work only with FULL TIME professional and productive agents
And the hard part? Well Aunt Sally and Timmy from the tennis team might not make the grade. Sure they’ll use guilt, family and friendship connections to get business, but in the end they need to me impartially measured. Change will not come from within the real estate industry, it is always going to be a “great time to buy” – like this ad told us in the midst of the housing collapse. Until – and unless – the public starts dropping “F Bombs” and demanding full time professionals, nothing will change…this industry doesn’t see the need. Be a force for change…bombs away!