This is a post written by JASON CROUCH in response to an article posted in "Motley Fool" this week. I have been hearing about this article in different venues for the past week but had shrugged it off.
Now that I see this article continues to get attention it bothers me as it does Jason. It is clearly written by someone who has had a bad experience of some sort with the real estate profession.
For those of us who work hard every day (and I mean every single day some weeks) yes, when you work you like to get paid as does everyone else with a job. However I work to the best of my ability for my clients and for what is best for them according to their wants and needs. I have a library full of testimonials to that effect - and I know there are thousands of Realtors out there that can say the same.
Are there a few bad eggs here and there? Of course! Who hasn't had a bad experience with a Dr.? An Accountant? A Car Repair Place?
But for crying out loud don't lump Realtors into one pile and say THEY are all "in it for the money" because YOU had one bad experience.
With a post this past week entitled, "It's Official: Real Estate Agents Are In It For the Money", Motley Fool has joined the ranks of those who feel compelled and qualified to criticize our industry, which is one of the few bright spots in our economy in recent years.
The article was written by Amanda Alix, who is an apparent "expert" because she owns a duplex, according to her profile on the Fool's site.
I have two responses, one which is a point-by-point rebuttal to the aforementioned asinine article (see below), and one which is quite a bit shorter:
Now for the longer, more eloquent response.
Let's start with the headline itself, which implies that we are not in it to provide any decent, reputable service, but merely to profit off of others. This is an absurd assertion. Frankly, I can't name any single profession that wouldn't fall into this broad, undefined category of "doing it for the money", unless you are a volunteer.
The first line: "Do you think of realtors as chummy, altruistic home-buying experts whose main goal is to find the perfect house for you and your family to cocoon and live the American Dream? If so, think again."
This comes across as someone with an ax to grind because she was burned by someone claiming to be a friend, but who knows? The jist of her post stems from the fact that there was a real estate training manual "discovered" in a New York apartment that teaches agents how to close sales.
Wow. Who knew that agents wanted to have leads and sales, or wanted to get clients to meet in person to have a better shot at gaining that business?
Ms. Alix mentions that "a new category of real estate professional, the 'buyer's agent', has emerged". Well, if by "new", you mean, roughly 30 years ago, then I suppose it's new. I have been selling homes full-time for over 17 years, and there was never a time in my career when buyer's agency didn't exist, at least in my own state.
Do your research, please.
This next paragraph can stand alone as one of the most basic, pendantic commentaries on the real estate industry that I have witnessed:
"Despite the fact that real estate brokers are generally not required by law in order to sell or purchase property, the industry has created a niche for itself, and many sellers and buyers consult agents to complete their real estate transactions. Like many other kinds of sales jobs, however, these brokers are working for a commission. Their job is to represent the client during the sales process, but ultimately, they are in the business to earn a living."
Way to go, Captain Obvious. We have created a niche that has existed for far longer than any of us has been alive. The National Association of Realtors was founded in 1908, and the Code of Ethics turned 100 years old last year. No, it isn't required by law to have a real estate broker, but I assure you that it makes things a whole lot easier. And yes, I am in this business to earn a living, but NOT at the expense of my clients' needs. Most of us take the Code of Ethics seriously. If we're good at what we do, this career can be lucrative. However, I would rather talk a client out of a purchase than make a quick buck. Like most sales, our industry is relationship-based. I like to say that I am in the friend-making business.
Ms. Alix goes on to use an incredibly small subset of agents to make a point about transparency - "celebrity agents". Namely, she uses an interview with ONE agent, who is on TV. I find it unfortunate that Ryan from "Million Dollar Listing Agent" has somehow gained credibility as our industry spokesperson/insider, but there you have it. Needless to say (or I would have thought it was needless until seeing this tripe), Ryan is not speaking for the huge legion of agents who are reputable and decent, hardworking and honest.
The final section of the post is basically a throwaway, which says that maybe we aren't all that bad, but to be careful. Caveat emptor.
It's my sincere hope that anyone who stumbles across this nonsense article isn't swayed by it too much. Of course, there are dishonest Realtors out there. There are also Realtors who genuinely care for their clients and the needs of those clients. If you like, I can put you in touch with a few hundred of my own past clients and you can ask them directly about their experience.
To sum things up, I am in this business for the money. It's not a hobby for me, or a part-time gig. I feed my family of six from my income selling homes, which enables my wife to stay home and educate and care for our children. I also run a ministry for homeless and needy families, which is sometimes another full-time job (and no, I don't get paid for that). Making money isn't inherenly evil or problematic. I sleep well at night because I don't lie or cheat to make sales.
I am tired of the media trying to pretend that they understand what it's like to be a real estate agent. Part of our gig sometimes spending hours (or days or weeks) with no compensation whatsoever. I tell my own agents that we can do our jobs 100% perfectly, and still not get paid, because there are a lot of moving parts in a transaction, including the mortgage, title company, appraisal, other agents, parents and friends who offer their often-misguided advice, and more. It's a bit of a minefield, but this is the career I chose at age 26.
I could go on, but I probably already sound like a grizzled old man.
Thanks for reading!
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If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com. Thanks!
Debbie Walsh, GRI, CNE, CHMS, REM | Office (845) 283-3036 |
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