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.

Social Media for Real Estate Isn’t Complicated

Everyone is making things so complicated!

social media for real estate shouldn't be as big as the sky

The choices are are big as the sky.

Every time you turn around someone is telling you a new network to use, a new platform to try, another vendor to purchase from, and if that were not enough your phone is ringing off the hook with vendors “guaranteeing” top placement on search engines. They will build your SEO, SEM, and possibly another acronym you are yet to learn. The buzzwords abound, and rather than admit we don’t know what everything is, we sign up.

The problem has reached epidemic levels, like a bad pandemic the “You MUST’ves” are everywhere you turn, or look. What do you really need as a real estate agent to succeed in marketing yourself and your business in this world of digital media? Not as much as you think.

I began using “social media” to market my real estate business as soon as I discovered it in 2008. It wasn’t intentional at first, it was a native environment for me having grown up in Silicon Valley and cutting my teeth on Bulletin Board Systems on my Hayes 300 Baud dial-up in 1981. Prior to entering real estate I was a very experienced web designer and developer. Since I coded my own web pages the search engine optimization was something I was keenly aware of and well acquainted with. For me it was a natural process to flow from having already been focused on keyword writing for websites, as well as my background with marketing and advertising which grew from my keen interest in the psychology of consumerism, my brain was pre-programmed to form most communications in manners that the “hot topic” words (call them buzzwords now) were planted and evenly distributed from within the content.

My experience also had helped my thought process evolve into a very regimented strategic processing system. I frequently find myself thinking in “If, Then” statements of a sort – for instance “If I say

what will the reaction be” – therefore usually when I share something on social media an entire analysis has already occurred as my thought process has followed the path of that comment. Usually, because I was once really good at putting my foot in my mouth. Learning to think before I speak, and to listen more has been an important lesson in the last 5 years.

Back to the vendors selling search engine optimization of whatever sort… this frustrates me. So many of my fellow REALTORS are being taken advantage of, because all we ever hear is that we need to use search engine optimization and search engine marketing to keep our pipeline full, to make sure we are generating enough leads to keep our business flowing. The truth is that it’s not that difficult to do. Our job as local experts is the share information on the local area, if we focus on this on a consistent basis then the business will come to you in a variety of forms, including media requests for news stories and other opportunities.

It can be time consuming, and it is not easy to understand how to engage on some networks. For me it is simple, but I am a native and most people are not. We are going to take a look at some of the basics, to help demystify real estate social media. Why am I qualified to write this? I was one of the people that wrote the book, literally, on social media for real estate and how to successfully use it for your business.

Ready to learn?