Did I choose the wrong profession?

82 Replies

I will be taking my pre-license classes in two weeks so that I can get my real estate license. In the meantime I have been researching the real estate industry in general.

Lately, I keep running into articles saying agents are obsolete, they are the scum of the earth, they are pathological liars and 80% of the newbies will be burnt out in the first year. The other 20% clawed their way to survival by lying/cheating their clients.

Yes, this is partially an exaggeration, but there does seem to be a general disdain for this profession. I had never felt this way myself and was really surprised to read some comments on certain articles by home owners.  

How do I, as a new agent, rise above the "bad press"? Advice from long-time veteran agents are greatly needed and appreciated...

If you do not wish to be known as a liar be honest. If you wish to rise above the bad press represent your client to the best of your ability and do what is in their best interest even if that means you would earn a lower commission or none at all. 

I'd say there is a particular stigma about the industry as a whole. As Jeff said, be honest, open and ethical. You'll meet some of the most amazing people as well as some not so great people. If you actually show up, do what you say you're going to do, and do it with a smile on your face you'll do great. Don't let those articles get you down!

@Jerusha Holder Follow your gut. Figure out your "why." What is your passion and why did you begin with your pre license course? Do you want to rise above the "stereotypes" or do you want to "settle?"

Most agents ARE definitely liars and scammers lol.  That's been my experience anyway.   It's hard to find honest people in this world anyway,  let alone this industry.   Don't let what others do discourage you. Be better than them!  Keep truckin...

Originally posted by @David Roberts :

Most agents ARE definitely liars and scammers lol.  That's been my experience anyway.   It's hard to find honest people in this world anyway,  let alone this industry.   Don't let what others do discourage you. Be better than them!  Keep truckin...

 Wow, David.  That's a pretty harsh statement that I hope, in a more lucid moment, you'll retract.  Admitting that you shot from the lip isn't a weakness - it's a sign of strength. 

My experience is that most agents are pretty darn honest.  

To paint the entire industry with such a broad brush is at best, misinformed.  At worst, massively misinformed and irresponsible. 

Let's have another think in the morning and see if we can't come up with a more rational outlook.

Charlie MacPherson, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9532146)
781-412-4151

just giving my experience.  Sorry you think that's overstating.   So far in the time I've been involved in real estate whether that has been buying houses ive lived in or bought as investments,  I've run into agents that have lied,  mislead, been lazy,  played games,  and been anything but honest.  Its sales,  and maybe that's just a part of sales.   But that's been my experience. 

You could be right though.   Maybe I've just run into a bad bunch of realtors.   Maybe I'm just cynical.  Maybe...

My point to the OP though,  is even if agents are ALL that way,  don't let that stop you from being better than that.   Just because others may or may not act honestly dorsnt mean a new aspiring agent has to. 

It was interesting.  When i took my board mandatory orientation we went over all of the "code of ethics", i remember thinking to myself "i haven't run into a realtor yet that didn't break at least one of these" lol.

This is off topic, but I have to give a shout out to the name of Jeff's facebook page. It made me chuckle and somehow put into words my fears about entering a new career path.

Thanks for the responses. I have always been ethical and honest in every job I've had (once to the point of quitting a job on those ethics). I guess my fears happened to be getting the better of me at the moment.

Rise above, be ethical, be honest and don't get discouraged.---Great advice all around. 

Knowledge is everything. If you don't know something , find the right answer

I think you should always try to be as honest with your clients as possible even if they don't want to hear it.  They will respect you for it.  It only takes 1 lie and getting caught on it to smear your name.   Go get it done!

Originally posted by @David Roberts :

just giving my experience.  Sorry you think that's overstating.   So far in the time I've been involved in real estate whether that has been buying houses ive lived in or bought as investments,  I've run into agents that have lied,  mislead, been lazy,  played games,  and been anything but honest.  Its sales,  and maybe that's just a part of sales.   But that's been my experience. 

You could be right though.   Maybe I've just run into a bad bunch of realtors.   Maybe I'm just cynical.  Maybe...

My point to the OP though,  is even if agents are ALL that way,  don't let that stop you from being better than that.   Just because others may or may not act honestly dorsnt mean a new aspiring agent has to. 

It was interesting.  When i took my board mandatory orientation we went over all of the "code of ethics", i remember thinking to myself "i haven't run into a realtor yet that didn't break at least one of these" lol.

 OK, maybe it's a Michigan thing.  Or maybe there are some other factors you haven't included.

To broad-stroke an entire class of people the way you did is just not right and definitely not fair.  

That's like saying that all wholesalers are out to screw desperate people.  Of all flippers are out to take advantage of the weak or indecisive.  Or all landlords are out to screw tenants.

That's WAY wrong, dude and I'm calling you out on it.

Maybe you had a bad experience.  Maybe an agent wasn't straight.  But due diligence is on YOU.  If you didn't do your own homework, you bear at least some of the blame if an investment didn't work out.

Let's think about being more careful in condemning an entire profession because you had a bad experience - most likely because you didn't do your due diligence.

Let's try to point out the ONE bad apple and not burn down the entire orchard. Doesn't that sound a bit more reasonable?

Charlie MacPherson, Real Estate Agent in MA (#9532146)
781-412-4151

I have been on both sides of the coin.

Before I was licensed, I worked with many agents. I never worked with an agent more than once until I finally found one who did what he said he was going to do. I used him for the remainder of my time in that area. He is in the West Suburbs of Chicago, if anyone is looking for an agent in that area.

There is a low barrier to entry in this industry and many people perceive it as "easy money." Once you start working as an agent, you will see that it takes an awful lot of work to close a deal, in no small part due to other agents who have somehow managed to represent the other side of the deal, thinking this is an easy job and not following through, answering their phones, getting you the information you are requesting.

You will meet exceptional agents, who go above and beyond to get the deal to close. You will meet people that you cannot believe remember to breathe frequently enough to sustain life. 

@Jeff Rabinowitz gives great advice. Behave as if your reputation depends on it, because it does. Good luck!

Mindy Jensen, Real Estate Agent in CO (#FA100049656)

@Jerusha Holder Being an agent can be a hard business.  It will take a long time to build your business.  So be ready for that.  That being said it is a great business to be in I think.  I have two main businesses...one being an agent and two being a buy and hold investor. I do the occasional flip as well.  I love the passive income of being a landlord, but I love the relationships I build being an agent.  I get to help people on one of the happiest days of their lives...becoming homeowners. I get to help people enter down the road of financial independence by helping them buy investment properties.  

There are certainly frutrating parts though. As @David Roberts mentioned, there are a lot of bad agents who lie and do some very shady things. My experience has been that these agents are typically REO agents from small no name brokerages. I am not saying if you are from a brand name brokerage you are great, just that there is a better chance that they are acceptable. The REO agents though, they give our industry a bad name.

Russell Brazil, Real Estate Agent in Maryland (#648402), Virginia (#0225219736), District of Columbia (#SP98375353), and Massachusetts (#9​0​5​2​3​4​6)
(301) 893-4635

@Jerusha Holder

As you take your pre-licensure classes don't just study to pass the exams and licensing test. Instead study so that you become as competent as possible.

While taking the classes interview a bunch of brokers. Find one that will help you through your first six months to a year. Look for one that has training, coaching, and quality control within their organization. When you are out in the field with customers and clients answer questions truthfully. If you don't know an answer say so, but then go back to your brokerage for guidance. Then let your client know the correct answer.

You might want to get ahold of a copy of "21 Things I wish My Broker Had Told Me" by Frank Cook. There are lots of good insights that will help you in your first year.

Good luck.

Scott Beck, Real Estate Agent in TX (#654313)

There's a reason there are articles written the way they are.   There's a reason homeowners hate realtors.    There is a reason this industry gets a bad reputation.   And once you work in this industry awhile you begin to see why.  After all its a business full of selling,  whether that be houses,  your image,  marketing strategies,  etc.  I find that people very rarely give you the whole story.   Its just the way things are.   But im not going to say it isn't that way when it is.   And im not going to discourage someone from getting involved in the industry when we need more good people. 

The misinformed get taken advantage of all the time,  but that's true in other industries as well.  

 Its still sales,  which is perhaps automatically assumed to mean "mislead".  Trust is everything,  and frankly if you  100% trust someone that is going to make money off of you then that trust better have been well earned because otherwise you are just asking to be taken advantage of.

I think if you talk to a lot of veteran realtors they will tell you that games are being played and it happens quite frequently.   

I haven't been scammed or done a bad deal because of a bad agent,  for the record.   Since my trust isn't just handed out blindly to a salesman,  I've always done my diligence. 

Ive had done good representation in the past, but more bad than good. Alot more bad than good,  honestly. 

But again,  back to the OP, none of this should detour you.   Your going to run into realtors that aren't doing their job, that are being lazy,  and that are going to flat out lie to you.   Be the beacon!

Originally posted by @Russell Brazil :

@Jerusha Holder Being an agent can be a hard business.  It will take a long time to build your business.  So be ready for that.  That being said it is a great business to be in I think.  I have two main businesses...one being an agent and two being a buy and hold investor. I do the occasional flip as well.  I love the passive income of being a landlord, but I love the relationships I build being an agent.  I get to help people on one of the happiest days of their lives...becoming homeowners. I get to help people enter down the road of financial independence by helping them buy investment properties.  

There are certainly frutrating parts though. As @David Roberts mentioned, there are a lot of bad agents who lie and do some very shady things. My experience has been that these agents are typically REO agents from small no name brokerages. I am not saying if you are from a brand name brokerage you are great, just that there is a better chance that they are acceptable. The REO agents though, they give our industry a bad name.

Maybe that's my problem. Lol. REO agents! Just kidding. In my experience I've found this to be sort of true although there's a local REO agent who has been around awhile and his team is fantastic. They even get back to me promptly, which is nice! I went out of my way to thank that team for being better than the rest. Also i know a former REO agent who i believe is as honest as they come.

Maybe those 2 are not the norm.  What do i know?  :)

Originally posted by @Mindy Jensen :

I have been on both sides of the coin.

Before I was licensed, I worked with many agents. I never worked with an agent more than once until I finally found one who did what he said he was going to do. I used him for the remainder of my time in that area. He is in the West Suburbs of Chicago, if anyone is looking for an agent in that area.

There is a low barrier to entry in this industry and many people perceive it as "easy money." Once you start working as an agent, you will see that it takes an awful lot of work to close a deal, in no small part due to other agents who have somehow managed to represent the other side of the deal, thinking this is an easy job and not following through, answering their phones, getting you the information you are requesting.

You will meet exceptional agents, who go above and beyond to get the deal to close. You will meet people that you cannot believe remember to breathe frequently enough to sustain life. 

@Jeff Rabinowitz gives great advice. Behave as if your reputation depends on it, because it does. Good luck!

 Fantastic post

@David Roberts It could just be a difference in our markets too. Maybe in your market there is something attractive about the REO's that draw the good agents to that area. The median home price in DC is $550,000 and in Montgomery County (one of the neighboring counties to DC) it is about $450,000. So the good agents in our area are typically drawn to normal buyers and sellers with really nicely redone homes. We also have the highest lawyers per capita by a HUGE margin in the DC area. That probably prompts a lot of honesty, as well as good customer service amongst agents. When you are dealing with high income people, and highly priced properties, I think that pushes a lot of agents in this area to try to have integrity in their business.

Russell Brazil, Real Estate Agent in Maryland (#648402), Virginia (#0225219736), District of Columbia (#SP98375353), and Massachusetts (#9​0​5​2​3​4​6)
(301) 893-4635

@Jerusha Holder You'll come across a lot of agents in your career. Some will be incompetent, some will lie, some will be indifferent. Choose to be the opposite. If you're very good and build your skills, work hard, communicate honestly, and bring value to people - you'll be off to a great start. From there you'll start to come across people like you're meeting here that have had bad experiences. You'll get the chance to change their opinion. If you're successful in that they'll probably buy another property from you, or send someone else your way. It's a very tough business, but it can be incredibly rewarding.

@David Roberts not sure how long you have been in the business but your comments my mind are just garbage.. Maybe in your market realtors are like you talk about but I can assure you in our market that is not the case.. and realtors are not reviled.. Hell our MLS this year to date has sold over 10 billion dollars in RE through those crappy realtors.

you need a reality check is my mind or your working a very low end low class area.

@Jeff Rabinowitz  all those your statement sounds good how many folks go to their job and perform it and are happy not to get paid.. thats not even remotely realistic  that an agent should work for a buyer and seller and then receive no compensation.. for sure they can negotiate but to work for free thats just ridiculous regardless of there integrity or whatever your trying to say.

@Jerusha Holder  not sure were your reading that RE agents are hated or thought down on.  We don't have that bias in our markets... they are respected and do well.. maybe its your particular market. 

Its a great profession.. for sure like all slices of life you have all different kinds of agents and not all may live up to your expectations.. but thats just humans. 

@David Roberts the more I read your posts the more I think your full of BS and have no clue as to what your talking about and anyone listening to your perspective and agrees with you is also clueless 

bad impressions of the others is a chance for you to shine.  The best realtors (or anything) have high integrity. 

Hi jay, im just stating honestly from my experience. I don't think i said every realtor was bad.   I think in my original comment i said most were and followed that up with "at least that's been my experience ".  We can only go on our experiences,  and guess what a homeowner with 1 bad experience is going to tell you?  Or writem

 I don't know what to tell you.  Lol. Maybe its not that way everywhere.  Maybe it is.   I am not in your market and you aren't in mine.  Last time i checked though, in this industry and life in general,  where there is more money there is more deceitfulness.  But you appear older than me and probably wiser.   Definitely more successful. 

My experiences that I've stated have come mostly being a client.  It wasn't until i became an agent and got to deal with other agents as an agent that i saw what went on from a professional standpoint and i think Mindy said it best already.  It doesn't take long in the industry to figure out you gave to be cautious.

Jay, in your second to last paragraph before you called me clueless that's what ive been trying to say!  I think we are saying the same thing and somewhere along the line someone thought i said every agent sucks.  I agree its humans in general,  not just this industry.  I also said that before,  but as with messageboards, people like to pile on. Oh well. 

I have been involved in Real Estate dealings for over fifteen years and I have found it to be a well respected profession. I am also planning to take the classes in September. Some people think that anyone who is is sales is shifty. I have been in sales my whole life and people with integrity are wonderful in sales. If you are honest and care about your client you will shine in any profession. There will be bad apples in any business so don't worry about them. Be who you are and you will be successful and respected.

I wonder if the differences in market pricing has anything to do with quality of agents. For example in some markets, the median home sells for under $125,000. In others it is $300,000+. 

Quality could be tied to compensation.

I worked with a great realtor in Tucson, and a crappy one in Phoenix who screwed up some paperwork costing me $1000. 

402-965-1853

There will always be a bit of negative outcry and complaints. You can't please everyone and most honestly are not real buyers. Good agent work very hard but they do are not sure who will really buy leaving them with uncounted hours of unpaid work. Sure anyone would want an agent that will do allot of work for them but people do not reason that they should pay an agent. An agent should be allowed to bill hours just like attorneys do whether they win a case or lose it they get paid. Real estate agents only get paid of someone buys a property they are representing or when you buy having them act as your buyer's agent. Believe me its a thankless job and I would venture to say most agents work countless unpaid hours. Sooner or later they start to deny services if they feel someone is not going to pay meaning not going to buy a property. Get in you car and do you own running around, do your own due diligence and your own pricing and when you get serious about buying then get the real estate agent involved. Most people want allot more for an agent then they are willing to pay for. 

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