Trust. It’s the key facet of every human relationship. Before I became a Realtor, I thought Realtors enjoyed a great reputation. Why? Because my Realtor was a great guy—hardworking and trustworthy. I would refer him to all my friends and family, who each shared glowing recommendations. But how about you? Do you trust your Realtor?
When I became a Louisville Realtor, I found out that public perception of my chosen occupation was less than stellar.
Looking for evidence, we have to go back to 1989 for the oft-cited survey data. This report by the National Opinion Research Center (NORC) attempts to put values on public perception. In it, Real Estate Occupations came in at a paltry 38.53 on the “Prestige Score” scale.
Please understand, very few occupations scored so low, dismally low to be sure. (It would be nice to have more recent results, however.) There’s enough public perception out there that Realtors can’t be trusted. Is it fair to say, “One bad apple?”
Now, we’ve got people writing stories like, Why You Can’t Trust Real Estate Agents When Buying A House. Really, none of them?
Mr. Holman, the author of the piece, isn’t a Realtor but a member of the financial industry in Canada. I would suspect he has a better-than-average understanding of the industry. But why the blanket statement?
I think there are several reasons.
Where does the lack of trust come from?
First, society has become less trusting. See? There’s that word again.
There’s no question the economy is stagnant. The Washington Post, much to the chagrin of their political leanings, recently published The typical American family makes less than it did in 1989. Sigh.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that our more competitive economic landscape means any product or service with a sales component will grow more cutthroat.
Thus, we have an increased opportunity for Realtors who forego their fiduciary duties in favor of a quicker path to payday.
Second, in this day and age of exploding social media, it doesn’t take long for the word to “get around.” Find an agent cutting corners and mistreating their clients. Bam! Facebook posts three minutes later and 253 “friends” now have their perceptions modified.
Lastly, due to the importance of a decision this large, every person involved in a real estate transaction experiences increased levels of stress. Whether you’re buying a home for your family or investment property or a second home like the Pier 27 Condos in Toronto, the process is far more stressful than regular, day-to-day life.
If you sell your hand-me-down chest of drawers for less than it’s worth, no biggie. But if someone gets a “steal” when buying your house, that’s a whole other story.
I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been involved in a deal when a perceived slight occurs and one of the clients blows their top. Last time, we found the document that proved the client had signed off on the rate. We closed the following day.
(The client later apologized for his outburst.)
The true nature of every industry
Even with all this against the profession, I still come back to this: Painting with a broad brush inevitably gets some paint where it doesn’t belong.
There are good Realtors. I know a good number of them here in Louisville. Heck, I’m one of them!
These agents will go the extra mile, even when there’s nothing in it for them. They’ll reschedule 9 showings because their client’s child became sick. They will accept phone calls, at home, at 10:30 pm because they understand that their client is stressing out.
There’s nothing wrong with educating the consumer Mr. Holman, but your premise is far too bleak and none too accurate.
My advice to all Louisville home buyers/sellers is to get quality referrals.
- Don’t call a Realtor because you see her billboards on bus signs.
- Don’t call an agent because they advertise on your favorite radio station.
- Don’t call the guy with those late-night real estate infomercials.
- Don’t call a Realtor because their name sounds familiar.
Instead, seek out a trusted friend or family member who has used the same Realtor for multiple Louisville real estate transactions. Don’t worry, it won’t be as hard as you may think.
You most certainly can trust your Realtor. Just so long as you select the right one.