Hiring the Experienced Realtor Pays
A homeowner in my neighborhood of Tower Grove South came to me today with concern about a flyer being distributed in our neighborhood. It came from a person working out of an office in Chesterfield, and to the homeowner, seemed to indicate that they had sold a lot of homes in our neighborhood. This bothered the homeowner that a few of the homes he knew we had sold, but that the agent apeared to be taking credit for them. Nowhere on the form did it clarify what the list represented.
We had a nice visit, and I pulled up the agents number on the MLS. Per the MLS, the agent had no listings and never sold a home. I explained to the homeowner not to worry, and how that happens frequently and that new agents have to do a lot to break into the business.
I started thinking about some of the questionable ethics I'm seeing in our profession. Some of the training I'm seeing at larger brokerages these days is aimed at training new agents to apear experienced, even though they aren't. Like this flyer, showing all the homes sold with an agents name, giving people the impression that they have sold those homes, when really, they're just reporting whats in the tax records.
Another trick I hear often is about teams. I have a team of 5 right now, which costs our clients no more than if they were working with an individual agent. We charge the same price as they do, but employ more resources. So training classes teach new people to advertise that they're a team also. "You work with a mortgage broker, a title company and an inspector..." they say, " consider them to be a part of your team." This manipulation is just plain dishonest, in my opinion, because every realtor works with vendors, and they typically don't step in and help answer phones, or serve clients, especially if you're brand new!
What's even more unfair, is that the consumer generally pays the same commission rate for this less experience agent pretending to be established.
Because the real estate market has rebounded in the past decade, our profession has been cram packed with new agents. If historic trends stay the same, a very large percentage will leave the business soon. In the mean time, I think about the sign I have to post in my back window because my son is a new driver. When we started our career, we had bought and rehabbed a home, we had investment properties, and we both had previous careers that gave us a good amount of transferable experience. We were agressive and hard working, but never tried to decieve people about our level of experience. Maybe brokerages were doing the same thing back then, but we were on our own.
An ad salesman came in yesterday, and during our small talk, he explained how it can be a hard decision to choose an experienced professional or a personal friend in the real estate business. He said something wise, " at the end of the day, its a business decision." Hiring a Realtor is a business decision and the value of the business decision should always be based on experience and success.