It turns out that I have the least prestigious profession in America! Would you believe that an annual Harris Poll measuring the most prestigious professionals in America puts real estate brokers and agents consistently at the bottom – the very bottom – of the list. Even Bankers, Lawyers, and Members of Congress are rated as having more prestige than my lowly profession. Check out this chart: Can I really say I’m surprised? No. But here’s what I can say: What I do in The Least Prestigious Profession in America It’s easy to understand why so many Americans think little of the real estate profession. One very evident problem is that it’s very easy to get a real estate license. It’s far easier to get a license allowing you to sell a $5,000,000 house in California than it is to get a license to become, say, an esthetician. A bad haircut from your barber is one thing – a bad haircut on the sale of your home, now that’s quite another. It’s the profession of first resort, in many cases. Laid off? Hey, become a Realtor! It’s seen as a job anyone can get, an easy way to make a lot of money, without requiring a lot of skill or training, in a short period of time. Being a real estate agent must be a piece of cake – everyone’s doing it! How could a profession like this have much prestige? Many are called, but few are chosen The attrition rate of California real estate professionals is very … Read More
Thirteen whole years. That’s how long I’ve been in the real estate business. I remember the ﬁrst time I talked to the guy who would become my broker. He asked me what I did for a living at the time, and I let him know I was a computer consultant. “Why would you want to go and trade a nice business like that for a dirty, nasty business like real estate?” he asked. I remember I laughed out loud; I thought he was joking. As the years have gone by though, it’s become abundantly clear though that he was completely serious. Turns out that real estate is, in fact, a dirty nasty business. Perhaps you’ve seen “Million Dollar Listing” on the Bravo network – I’m a fan, of both the New York and Los Angeles versions (I prefer New York). I’m not so hot on the new Million Dollar Listing San Francisco, but I’ll give it time. These shows sure do make the business look fun and exciting – but rest assured, they leave most of the truly sordid details on the cutting room floor. They have to – because if the practice of real estate in L.A. and New York is anything at all like it is in my neck of the woods, there’s all kinds of stress, animosity, and incompetence which isn’t what I’d call sexy but, when you’re in the middle of it, can be plenty dramatic. After 13 years and hundreds of homes sold, I’ve ﬁnally gotten to the place where I am pretty well … Read More
Many people don’t think much about how a bad real estate agent can cost you, but the truth is, a bad real estate agent can cost you a lot. I’m going to share with you a couple of examples how, and how much. I tend to work with more sellers than buyers – currently I’m running about two-to-one sellers over buyers…but the last two deals I closed, I represented the buyer. As a buyer’s agent, my job is to get the absolute best deal for my client that I possibly can. As part of that, I help my clients with their due diligence, to make sure that they know everything there is to know about the property before they fully commit to buying it. No surprise there, right? The surprise to me is that listing agents often do no due diligence of their own whatsoever. They begin showing the property with absolutely no disclosures available. They expect the buyers will make offers knowing nothing more about the property than what is visible to the naked eye. Amazing! Sometimes, before they’ll take an offer, they will hurriedly get the seller to fill out the bare minimum set of disclosure forms – but often they won’t even do that, not until a price has been agreed upon and the home is under contract. When I am working with the buyer, this is almost always a very costly mistake. The agent is leaving the seller open to re-negotiation of the deal, based on the buyer’s inspection findings. And that’s … Read More
I have been a member of Quora for some time now, but like a lot of sites I join, I haven’t participated much. But lately I’ve been spending more time on the site, and I came across a Quora question asking if real estate agents will become obsolete. Since real estate agency is my bread and butter, I started reading the thread. There’s a variety of perspectives on this, but one reply I found particularly interesting, written by a former real estate attorney, which read in part: In addition to the inherent complexities of even the most run-of-the-mill real estate transaction and the tremendous financial stakes involved, real estate transactions are emotional. You’re not dealing with a lawn mower, a refrigerator, or some other fungible good, you’re dealing with someone’s home–a place where the seller’s memories were made and where the buyer wishes to make new ones. This is a highly personal transaction, and the potential for doubt, insecurity, second-guessing, mistrust, defensiveness, cold feet, confusion, paranoia, and, therefore, conflict is extremely high. The role of realtors throughout this process is invaluable. Go ahead and read the whole reply, or even read the whole thread (although it’s kind of long). I found it very interesting because often times the debate about the value of Realtors centers around marketing, and how today a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) can do so much marketing on their own, further diminishing the value of having it handled by a professional. While professional marketing is very important, the value of an agent in terms … Read More
Numerous consumer surveys have been performed over the years, asking what’s important to home owners thinking of selling their home. Curious to know the answers? Some of them may surprise you. Here is what people have said is most important to them: Obviously, most people are interested in getting the best price for their home, above all else. Next, it’s also important to people that the property have the shortest time on market which is convenient for them. And, speaking of convenience – selling a home is a hassle, so having the shortest time on market is highly desirable for most sellers. People want the process to have as little impact on their lives as possible. They want the experience to be fluid, easy, and without drama and surprise. Homeowners also want good communication from their real estate agent – they don’t want to be wondering what is going on with their transaction. They want to know what’s going on, without having to ask. What it all comes down to is that what most home owners are looking for, really, is a diligent effort on the part of their agent or broker to get the job done, in accordance with their responsibilities as an agent. And that’s one reason why – if you do decide to list your home with a real estate agent – picking the right agent from the hundreds or thousands you’ll have to choose from will be crucial for your home selling process.
How do home buyers find their homes they buy? According to the 2013 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, about 90% of buyers used the Internet to find a home. And 87% of buyers also used the services of a real estate agent. The chart below shows the various methods that buyers used to find their homes in 2013: Interestingly for sellers (especially those thinking of selling by owner), 91% of buyers used the services of a real estate agent to help them find the home they bought. 52% of buyers indicated that they used good old fashioned yard signs, and 44% of buyers attended open houses. Of increasing importance are smart phone applications and mobile-optimized web sites, with 45% of buyers utilizing them, and 43% of buyers utilized mobile-optimized search pages.