Open Letter to Real Estate Consumers by a REALTOR®

Open Letter to Real Estate Consumers by a REALTOR®

Dear Real Estate Consumer,

Whether you own a home, rent a home or want to own or rent, most people at some point have or will be, a real estate consumer. I would venture to guess that by the age of 30 more than 95% of American’s will fall into these categories. This letter is to you all, not all of you are those that need to read this but you will probably know someone who should. Please share this.

I am a REALTOR® and a Real Estate professional. I help people buy or sell houses, sometimes I help them with rentals or leasing, but my focus is on helping people. I offer a service, expertise, passion and commitment – my goal is to help people navigate the waters of the largest financial decision that most people make in their lives.

I care, we care. I chose real estate because I have loved what it represents since I was a child, I remember peering over the wall of my parent’s pool cabana and watching an open house at my childhood home. It was fascinating, I wanted to be inside and to watch what happened, how people reacted, what they did and looked at, I wanted to get inside their heads to understand the thought process, how they made a decision.

We are REALTORS®, we are professionals.
We are REALTORS®, we are professionals. We have invested time and money to become licensed real estate salespeople and sometimes brokers. We have rules and regulations we must follow in how we work, behave and disclose. We have federal guidelines to observe and respect, should we fail heavy penalties could be levied against our Brokers and ourselves.

We are primarily independent contractors, we pay our own social security (double what you would see deducted from a regular paycheck), we pay our monthly fees (including that website you are using to look at houses), we pay annual fees to be members of the National Association of REALTORS®, we pay for Errors & Omissions Insurance, we work for Brokers, in most States we are also paid by the Broker, and we pay a lot more, in many ways.

We answer our calls at all hours of the day or night. We are frequently greeted with contempt and a tone of distrust from some consumers who call our cell phones or offices. We are the “lowest of the low” in the minds of some, and in the manner in which we are treated. We work every day to fight the public opinion that we are “not necessary” or “anyone can do it, why should I pay a commission when all you do is list my house and nothing more” are the type of misconceptions we encounter on a daily basis.

We don’t get a paycheck, no one pays our expenses, we get no payment until after a closing, and then the time varies depending on how the broker pays an agent. When we work with a client we commit to them, to not show another person a house they might be interested in, to put their needs first, to act as their Agent and at their direction and consent. When we make a commitment to work with you we are choosing you over countless other clients in a market area. It is not ethical to create a competitive situation for our own clients.

There are days when we may forget that our “jargon” isn’t your “jargon” and that plain English and explanations might be necessary, but we all have our expertise in our professional fields. When you don’t tell us “I don’t understand” but instead stop communicating or walk away, we are left feeling rejected, we worked so hard for you and we will never get that time or money back, or more importantly enjoy seeing your excitement when you get the keys to your American Dream.

The Value of a REALTOR®
Our industry has failed to make the value of our industry clear, it has become convoluted in the mindless media message of “real estate sales are sales” at best it is a misnomer. We don’t sell real estate, we consult and facilitate the purchase of real property and the improvements (the house and structure) on that property. We help facilitate the American dream of home ownership.

It is not always an enjoyable experience, it is fraught with drama, nail biting cliff hangers, and tremendous amounts of nervous anticipation. We know this, but sometimes we might forget to tell you this. We are not only your REALTOR® but we are your therapist, talking you off the cliff of “buyers remorse” because we saw the excitement in your eyes when you first stepped into the place you want to be your new home. We are market experts and can make that dream come true.

It is not just about completing some paperwork and calling it a day. Our job as a REALTOR® is to make the process SEEM easy, effortless and as carefree as possible. If you think it is effortless to buy real estate then we have succeeded, but that success brings with it a price – the blatant and rampant disrespect for the professional qualifications and experience that goes with the name REALTOR®.

This is our fault, to some degree. We spend so much time fighting to prove our value, that the message of what that value is becomes lost. We don’t teach you, the consumer, enough about how the industry works. Who likes to discuss money? You see the big picture and think we are “overcompensated” and a bunch of “Rich REALTORS®”. It might be helpful for us to open the books, to share the secret doctrine of the industry. A REALTOR® could possibly be the smallest cog in the wheel, but the most important, it is our efforts that bring the business to the Broker, it is our efforts and opportunities that make the transaction happen for your American dream.

Our value as a REALTOR® is many fold, but simply put – it is making the largest purchase of your life be the smartest purchase of your life. Helping you navigate the process from weighing the choices, to writing the contract, to protecting your interests and making sure the contract is not breached. Through the inspections, negotiations, and then the final walk-through, to the closing table, and beyond a REALTOR® is there for you, to be your advocate and your expert, without compromising our obligations to protect your interest, confidence and our obligation to be your Agent – your eyes and ears in the process. We are REALTORS® and real estate professionals, all of us.

I am a real estate professional but most importantly I am a REALTOR® meaning I took an oath to go above and beyond the rules of most states that govern real estate sales, I follow a higher standard with the REALTOR® Code of Ethics that is over 100 years old. I have spent 15 years helping people buy/sell/lease real estate, I have spent countless hours and thousands of gallons of gas driving around to show people houses who then decide to call someone else to buy a house. It is time to realize what a REALTOR® offers and the valuable partnership that exists between the consumer and their REALTOR®.

Not every REALTOR® will be the right fit for a consumer, we all have to recognize this, and consumers need to freely communicate this. It is a partnership of the most important fiduciary kind, a symbiotic relationship that makes the American dream come true. We are Professionals, we are experts, we want to help, we are consumer advocates, we are passionate about truth and justice, we are REALTORS® and we want to help you.

Thank you for your trust, your time and the opportunity to serve your needs. We are grateful to have the opportunity to prove our value to you, and if you don’t see it – if it looks effortless, then we did our job properly – the job of a REALTOR®.

The Importance of a Home Buyer Consultation with a REALTOR

The Importance of a Home Buyer Consultation with a REALTOR

You found your dream home online and now you want to see it.

Call a REALTOR for a great real estate buying experienceYou call the phone number listed on the website and get a REALTOR. You inquire about the property and request to see it right away. The REALTOR insists upon first meeting in their office prior to showing you the property. Despite your protests, the REALTOR is insistent upon the meeting.

You hang up, frustrated, immediately calling another REALTOR you find online. The second REALTOR requests the same first meeting, you only want to see this house yet none of the REALTORS want to show it to you. Or do they? The reality is that meeting with a REALTOR prior to seeing a property is a proven method of helping you, the consumer, have a better real estate buying experience.

The True Professionalism of a Consulation
Buyer Consultations are not a new concept, they have been around for as long as real estate agents have helped people purchase real estate. The purpose of a Buyer Consultation is to let a real estate professional understand your needs, determine what your requirements are for a property, review the process and procedures of a real estate purchase and help you determine what your purchasing power is. The result of a consultation is proven to be a far less frustrating real estate purchasing experience.

Why do most consumers get defensive when a REALTOR requests a meeting first? There is a conditioning in the society to believe that a REALTOR offers no value other than the ability to open a door and allow you to view a house. That is far from the scope of what a real estate professional does, in fact it is the tiniest portion of the work they do. Understanding the real value of using a real estate professional will help you, the home buyer, truly appreciate what it means to have an Agent who represents you in your real estate purchase.

The first step to understanding this is to meet with an experienced REALTOR and review your needs, as well as mutually set communication expectations and review the process. Despite your apprehensions to slow down and step back when you feel like you are ready to go, you need to overcome the urgency to determine what is truly important, realistic and reasonable for your market place. A REALTOR will ask you questions about what you are looking for, should take extensive notes, be able to introduce you to their business partners such as loan officers and title representatives, who all play an essential role in getting you from this appointment to home ownership.

A Good REALTOR Makes the Process Seem Effortless
If a REALTOR is good at what they do, you will believe the process to me mostly effortless, because their job is to keep things on track and make sure no obstacles pop up on your way to your closing on the new home of your dreams.

Remember, perception isn’t always reality, while a REALTOR may have to jump through hoops, make many trips to the property without you, facilitate papers being sent to many different parties involved, to get you to that exciting moment when you get the keys, their job isn’t to show you all those things and perhaps that is part of the problem with public perception. Just like a great magician, the trick should be effortless and impossible to see all the work that goes into making it happen.

The next time a REALTOR wants to meet with you before showing you a house, be confident that you have a true professional, focused on your needs, and not just someone who is opening doors so you can browse through a house that might not be right for you.

3 Steps to Limitless Social Media Marketing Results

3 Steps to Limitless Social Media Marketing Results

If you are ready to find limitless success with your social media marketing, tired of trying the same old thing in a multitude of different ways, or just frustrated with not being able to truly measure the ROI of your digital marketing strategy, then it’s time to rethink your focus and purpose in social media marketing.

Clients frequently come to me with the opening comment “I need to be on social media for my business. My friend told me I should.” That’s great that someone recognizes the value of social media for marketing a business, but it’s just not as simple as “being there” when it comes to social media marketing.

The sky isn't always a limit.

The sky doesn’t have to be the limit.

Before you get to the point of “being there” you have to explore the reasons why a business should “be there.” Beyond the obvious “everyone is doing it” mindset, there is a lot more to establishing a successful presence in social media.  Even if you understand the “Rules of Engagement” and the “Laws of Perception” you still need to establish the foundation.  The main points and reasons to determine a purpose, and therefore mission statement, for using social media for marketing can be boiled down to very simple terms. Is there a consumer demand for your product or services?

What if there is not a demand? Marketing yourself via social media channels is a great idea if people are already seeking the services you provide. Sometimes – as with some specialty clients – it becomes more about establishing a need and demand before the marketing will be effective.

Here are my top three tips for helping clients identify where consumer awareness stands for your business and how to turn that into profits.

3 Steps to Limitless Social Media Marketing Results

  1. Do people know your specialty exists? Are people aware of your products or services, or is it on the peripheral of an industry and more of a niche market.


    A great example of this is in the field of Dentistry, most people know they need to see a Dentist on a regular basis. A portion of the population might even be aware that they need to go at least twice a year for a cleaning and check-up. Beyond that most people know very little about what impact Dental health has on overall wellbeing and health.

    By creating educational content that focuses on the benefits of your services, specialty or niche can help create demand and answer questions that the public might have. This is pure SEM – search engine marketing – when it comes down to it. By creating content and anticipating questions that the general population is seeking answers to you are establishing yourself and/or your business as the expert.

  2. Find the Gap, then bridge it. Review existing content and materials relating to your industry, identify where the gap is. There is always a gap, and that gap is usually a specialty niche within an industry.

    By focusing on that gap which already meets your specialty and filling the gap, you will establish expertise and gain significant exposure via the popular search engines.

    In the previous example of the Dental Industry that gap might be in the public perception of the purpose of Orthodontics. While recently exploring the area for a potential client I became aware of a lot of factors and medical problems related directly to the structure of the jaw, the position of the teeth and the direct impact on the airway of the patient. Among other things, these factors were very intriguing to me.

    When collecting data and researching the topic it became clear that there was a rather alarming misunderstanding of the value of Dental orthodontic specialists. Since the common belief, and misunderstanding, among many of the reviewed demographics indicated that people believe orthodontics were “optional” for most patients and more about “cosmetics” when in fact, the proper alignment of the jaw, the ‘bite’ and dental well-being has a significant yet underreported impact on overall health.

    In this instance the gap is the basic explanation of purpose and need, people won’t take action if they don’t have a sense of urgency. A good marketing plan will do just that.

  3. Establish the urgent need for your services. People don’t desire what they don’t know they need. It’s pointless to be the “best kept secret” so instead of just going the normal everyday route of waiting for word-of-mouth or incentive marketing to do its job, create the urgency and the need for your business.


    Think of the great infomercials and the products they pitch. Until you saw that infomercial you didn’t know you needed that product. By the time the infomercial is over you MUST have that product, now. Marketing a specialty business is no different, before people have a demand you need to create that demand with a sense of urgency. To take it a step further you can create a sense of “exclusivity” by limiting the availability, the time offered, and so on.

    If you let people think about something for too long they tend to overthink their ways right out of taking action. Creating the urgency, establishing limitations on availability, and giving them a reason for a “call to action” will help grow the consumer response, demand and in turn grow your business.

Once you have followed the above tips you will be able to create focused content around a mission statement – or statement of purpose, and a marketing message that will take you from being barely a blip on the radar to center stage and in high demand. This is when you social media marketing on the channels kicks in, by having established a presence, and regularly built an audience based on your target demographics you will now have original content and organic reach that will leverage your primary marketing message mission.

This basic premise works in almost any industry, and a well-planned approach can be translated to a variety of businesses and specialties. The principles of marketing don’t change, just the variables used in determining the desired results and creating the strategic plan to achieve that success.