I’ve been at this for quite some time now and I can safely say that most consumers think Realtors are all the same. It’s an unfortunate situation and one for which our industry has only itself to blame. I can also say that, left to their own devices, most Realtors know and understand the rules of engagement and do a great job of conducting themselves. Unfortunately, this makes for lousy TV and media coverage, so we never hear about them. I mean, who wants to read a news story about the Realtor who kept her client’s best interests in mind at all times requiring her to go above and beyond even months after the deal had closed? Where is the shock and moral outrage in that??
So, NO, Realtors are not all the same. Just as Lawyers, Cab Drivers, Politicians and Restaurant Servers come in all shapes and sizes, so too do Realtors – and the consumers who hire us. It’s actually what makes the job so great – you can be whoever you want to be and still build a successful business. Success is a very personal thing though. For most of us, it’s defined by providing exemplary service within the confines of one of the most heavily regulated professions on earth (much easier said than done, by the way!). For others, all those regulations seem to be viewed as mere suggestions. Part of the problem is that the bar to entry remains tragically low and enforcement leaves much to be desired. It doesn’t help that the global ranks have swollen exponentially to the point where most people seem to view earning at least some of their income from real estate as a constitutional right. Real estate as pie.
So, how does one go about finding the right Realtor? It’s actually less a case of good vs bad and more about who is the best fit for you. Before a Realtor can represent your best interests, you actually have to know what those are. No one can dictate them to you. One Seller may want a quick sale, and be willing to take a bit of a haircut on price. Another may prefer to price fairly and wait things out until the right buyer comes along – which could take a little longer but be worth it in the end. Same goes for Buyers. Some may decide they don’t want to traipse through countless open houses and private showings – and prefer to spend less time haggling over price. Others may want to feel like they’ve scoured the market before undertaking a long, protracted negotiation. Again, no one can tell you what’s best for you. You may feel unsure and require some guidance in getting there – and that’s perfectly fine. A good Realtor can definitely assist with that but, ultimately, the decisions and choices rest with you. I’ve often said there are two kinds of Realtors: those who talk and those who listen. The choice is yours, but I’ve noticed the outcomes are always better when I’ve done way more listening than talking. It’s a fascinating business and I feel extremely privileged to be part of such important life changes. I’m not perfect, but I definitely operate comfortably amidst all the regulation and take pride in helping consumers understand the risks and rewards of any decisions they make – including whether to hire me or not me. It’s a two way street and both sides need to feel comfortable and confident. Moving home is a huge decision and one that requires some honest conversation – and a whole lot of listening.