Did I choose the wrong profession?

82 Replies

Took me years to find good agents.  I'm still a better deal maker on the buy, but they excel at price/terms and service on the sell, and are totally worth their commission.  My issue is the stunning ignorance of so many agents, even some of the good and experienced ones.  Being good at sales doesn't mean they are good fiduciaries.  Doesn't mean they know or understand RE regs or laws. Some are just not the sharpest tools in the shed.  I'd have less of a problem with it if they would at least cop to the fact that they can't know what they don't know (because they can't).  It's one of the things holding me back from taking the exam and getting licensed.  I do not want to be associated with this crowd.  It's easier and more fun to be the non-agent that swoops in and helps agents and sellers figure stuff out.  That being said, I'm missing out on referral fees and the networking and exposure to deals that being an agent offers.

To the OP:  Great service, always learning and evolving (and knowing what you don't know), taking joy in your work.....that stuff never gets old and always works. If you don't wake up and think it's fun most of the time, find something else.  :)

Originally posted by @Jean Bolger :

Hey @Jerusha Holder !
First, a lot of the comments you read about real estate agents on those internet articles are just.... internet comments. And we all know that the first rule for preserving one's mental health and faith in humanity in our modern world is "don't read the comments section!" LOL. I don't know why it is, but people feel free to spill out all their ugliness and unhappiness in vicious comments. I don't think it's even necessarily because they feel strongly on the subject at hand, they just need to rage.

And yes, it's a business with a very low barrier to entry and the potential for good money so I'm sure it draws a fair number of wanna-bes and lazy folks. One good agent I worked with in the past cynically referred to RE as "the last best refuge of the C student".

I recently got licensed myself, and I'm finding the whole process very interesting. Most of the material available for new agents on "how to be an agent" is, IMO, pretty ridiculous. Sales, prospecting, marketing.... but almost nothing on how become an expert in your area of interest. If I were not already deeply involved in RE because of my investing I think I would be very confused. 

I am a pretty sales-phobic person, so we'll see how it goes for me. Fortunately I don't need to be doing a lot of retail sales right off the bat. My goal is to build a reputation as someone who educates, informs and advises about real estate - that's certainly the type of agent I would want representing me.

Wow. I'm impressed. I have no doubt that you must have had to put blinders on when you studied for and took the exam. You already knew a lot about RE going in and some of the study and test materials (at least here) are just.....stupid. I also noticed the new agent training and materials are very focused on marketing (and motivation) but not so much on the finding your way or creating a niche in the truly myriad of REI opportunities. Too much sales talk, not enough RE talk. But that's just me.

@Kim Knox  my first 12 years of sales I was my own broker specializing in land in Northern CA  I worked solo... I doubled ended all my deals because of my specialty of selling hard to find ranch and timber lands.

I also NEVER not one time took a listing agreement in writing ( i know can't do that today) and just told my sellers if your unhappy just say so .. and if we go to closing you don't think I earn my commission don't pay me... Never had it happen once .

I also did a lot of work in timber lands in your neck of the woods.. although I was  principal by then.. but I met a lot of nice brokers in the Medford area... However specializing in land like I did I was usually the one finding the properties not the agents  LOL... 

us west coast realtors have no experience with what happens in other markets and especially what a lot of BP folks experience or chase.. IE very low value assets IE rentals in Urban cores that trade for the value of used auto's  ... so for sure I can see instances were agents that have a 10k listing are only doing the minimum you would go broke spending all your time on those deals as an agent.

And the unlicensed wholesalers have pretty much taken up this niche of helping sellers out of these assets... as its really an unwanted product for most brokers.

Thats whats great about this industry its diverse always changing and very much regionalized... 

what a lot of folks don't really comprehend though or are short sided on.. Is you make invaluable contacts as an agent.. And you never know when one take's a shine to you and when you spread your wings into other ave's they become a partner in deals or lend you that sweet heart private money that everyone is trying so desperately to find. But as agents we have already proven ourselves..   My contacts made by selling real estate propelled my career in all sorts of areas that I could have only dreamed of.

There are liars, scammers, and incompetent people in every profession so yes there are tons of RE Agents that fit this description. If you have your mind set on being an RE Agent, you simply need to be the honest and highly competent one that brings value to your clients and you will set yourself apart from the rest. The word will spread and you will end up in that so called 20% that gets 80% of the business. Same goes for other sales/service professions. Don't let the negative views and perceptions of others guide you from what you want to do. Instead, let them motivate you to be great at it!

@David Roberts , i would agree. most agents lie and break ethical principals.  that's not to say that all agents are terrible.  i have found some great agents out there.

i've had a broker who was representing the seller tell me "I cant in good conscious let you buy this property without a phase one study." he was representing the seller that i wanted to buy the property from! he said that because there was a gas station next door to the property that i wanted to buy.  

for this other property, i had this one agent say that i can send the property to my list to find a partner, and he would tell them that i have it under contract. when i really wouldn't have it under contract.  

as far as the OP, just be honest and competent and, in my opinion, that will get you referrals and repeat biz. good luck

My goodness! There is such good stuff here from so many knowledgeable people.

Thank you all for the advice and encouragement. I'm taking it all in and I will make good use of it in my business. I actually feel much better hearing from so many ethical agents and investors. It lets me know I'm in good company...at least here on bigger pockets. :)

You know, in many ways you should want the industry you go into to have a bad reputation. The worse its reputation, the easier it will be to stand out by offering high quality service and integrity. Anyways, I don't think real estate agent's reputation is that bad. My biggest complaint is that many of them just don't know what the hell they're doing, not that they are unethical. And the Internet still has a long way to go before they become obsolete.

You know, in many ways you should want the industry you go into to have a bad reputation. The worse its reputation, the easier it will be to stand out by offering high quality service and integrity. Anyways, I don't think real estate agent's reputation is that bad. My biggest complaint is that many of them just don't know what the hell they're doing, not that they are unethical. And the Internet still has a long way to go before they become obsolete.

Originally posted by @Jerusha Holder :

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...

 You're second paragraph is actually very accurate for MLM/affiliate marketing/network marketing/Amway, real estate agents are not in that league.

Does this bother anyone else?

Buyer email buyers agent, buyers agent emails sellers agent, sellers agent emails seller, seller emails sellers agent, sellers agent emails buyers agent, buyers agent emails buyer.

There's gotta be a better way!!!

Buyer emails seller, seller emails buyer.

I too just got my license and had/have the same concerns. I really liked the book "Sell with Soul." The complete opposite philosophy of the Broker I went with (Keller Williams) but I told him this is the way I wanted to do it and he is very cool with it.  BTW to anyone in real estate KW is very open to having agents that are in it to invest in their own properties. 

Well based from my experience I've heard a lot of people who thinks this type of business seems like a scam but if you really love your job you can make the big difference and prove them wrong.

I believe you choose a profession based on what you enjoy and what you want to spend your time doing.  Wasting time researching what other people think is IMO a waste of time.  If you enjoy it and are a good person, you will succeed and build a good name for yourself regardless of your occupation.

The occupation of a realtor/agent could become obsolete with the information age that we are in.  Things are changing fast with the technology that is available.  People are able to shop and buy a home without the need of the 3rd party helping and taking a percentage.  

I am a licensed agent.  In my experience working with other agents most have been honest and have worked with integrity.  It takes a self motivated person to be an agent.  There is no time clock to punch or guarantees.  So it is not for everyone.  

The barrier of entry to being an agent is so low, it's probably not worth all of this philosophical discussion.  The price is the opportunity cost.  What will you be giving up to do this?  If nothing substantial, give it a try.  Be the best you can be.  Learn about investing on the side (the course won't teach much there) and keep your clients' best interest at heart.  Be honest always.  Be exceptional and you will succeed!  

I like what one person said above about the low barrier to entry into becoming a real estate agent, and I think that can be true for a good majority of the agents, in our area at least. It's not always that they are bad people, but that they don't take the profession seriously. They see it as a hobby, as something fun to do. It can be fun, but you need to treat it as a business. 

The next tip that I would give is that when you become a real estate agent, you need to realize it's a long game. What I mean by that is that it is probably going to be years before you see some serious success. My husband is an insurance agent (started his own agency with a partner) and they have been doing it for 6 years, and it seems like just in the past year or two have things really started to move quickly for them. It took a while for people to want to do business with them, because there is such a huge turnover in insurance agents in the first couple of years. I think that's the same with real estate agents. People aren't sure about you the first couple of years, but once you've been around for a while and show you are committed people see that and take note. Best of luck to you @Jerusha Holder !

My bad experience with agents has been when the primary source of there income comes from commission.  Desperate people make desperate decisions when there thinking is driven by commission.

I got a license to help others after I had enough passive income from my investment properties to support my lifestyle.  

My thinking and self motivation is much different now when I help a client with a transaction.

Frank

@Andrew Syrios Very good point. It isn't as hard to stand out as exceptional if others are setting the bar very low.

@Gretchen Bond Thanks for the book recommendation. I'm going to take a look.

Recent observations of mine in dealing with Real Estate agents:

(I currently do not have one, so as I'm looking for properties I've been calling on the selling agent, then if I like him/her I plan to use them as my buyer agent)

1.  On Saturday I requested (via email) more information on about 25 properties for sale on Zillow.  As of noon today, 6 agents have replied.  Only 2 seemed interested, the others were just generic reply emails.  Guess everyone is too successful to want a new client...

2. Went to see an agent to show me several properties last Tuesday. Met at her office, printed off some listings from MLS, mapped out a plan to see them. Then she asks me if I could drive us since her car was full of personal belongings. I will NEVER contact this agent again.

3. Visited with an agent upon a recommendation from my loan officer.  Asked her to show me 3 properties in The Woodland that I'm interested in.  The whole time she kept trying to convince me to look at a few properties in Spring (nearby, but NOT The Woodlands; locals know what I mean).   Very uncomfortable since I told her I'm only looking in The Woodlands, she wouldn't listen.  Found out later that she was the listing agent on those properties in Spring, so was trying to steer me to those to get double commission.  Will NEVER contact her again, although she already mailed me a calendar with her scheming face on it.  Threw that away real quick.

I'll keep looking until I find an agent who will LISTEN to what I want, ACT professional, and heck even RESPOND to an email.   Who thought this would be so hard?

Originally posted by @Mimi Booker :

Recent observations of mine in dealing with Real Estate agents:

(I currently do not have one, so as I'm looking for properties I've been calling on the selling agent, then if I like him/her I plan to use them as my buyer agent)

1.  On Saturday I requested (via email) more information on about 25 properties for sale on Zillow.  As of noon today, 6 agents have replied.  Only 2 seemed interested, the others were just generic reply emails.  Guess everyone is too successful to want a new client...

2. Went to see an agent to show me several properties last Tuesday. Met at her office, printed off some listings from MLS, mapped out a plan to see them. Then she asks me if I could drive us since her car was full of personal belongings. I will NEVER contact this agent again.

3. Visited with an agent upon a recommendation from my loan officer.  Asked her to show me 3 properties in The Woodland that I'm interested in.  The whole time she kept trying to convince me to look at a few properties in Spring (nearby, but NOT The Woodlands; locals know what I mean).   Very uncomfortable since I told her I'm only looking in The Woodlands, she wouldn't listen.  Found out later that she was the listing agent on those properties in Spring, so was trying to steer me to those to get double commission.  Will NEVER contact her again, although she already mailed me a calendar with her scheming face on it.  Threw that away real quick.

I'll keep looking until I find an agent who will LISTEN to what I want, ACT professional, and heck even RESPOND to an email.   Who thought this would be so hard?

 And its unfortunate because after 3 bad experiences in a row you tend to start thinking we are all this way.  We aren't,  but that's why articles like the OP referred to get written.  

Sorry to hear you are dealing with that.   I dealt with the same thing.   You would think agents would be jumping at the chance to respond when money could be made soon. 

The phrase "Everybody is doing it!" is never correct. There are always some wrongdoers in any industry or occupation though. Your goal is to NOT be one of those people! Be yourself no matter what others are doing. Be honest, ethical, upright, professional, friendly, knowledgeable, prompt, trustworthy, etc. Make sure that you embody all of the attributes that you would appreciate in a top notch realtor. As long as you do that your clients and co-workers will recognize it and you will be more of a success than you truly realize!

Be blessed and be a blessing!

Originally posted by @Steve Vaughan :

The barrier of entry to being an agent is so low, it's probably not worth all of this philosophical discussion.  The price is the opportunity cost.  What will you be giving up to do this?  If nothing substantial, give it a try.  Be the best you can be.  Learn about investing on the side (the course won't teach much there) and keep your clients' best interest at heart.  Be honest always.  Be exceptional and you will succeed!  

I've never heard anyone put it this way before.  For me the price of becoming an agent feels like it has serious lost opportunity costs.  Maybe that's what happens when you've been making your deals for so long. I'm feeling better and better about not taking the test.  Thanks for that!

20% of the agents make 80% of the money, you can be any kind of agent you want. It's all about your passion for it.

I am new here but if you want to be successful at anything you put your mind to you have to look at the positive things not negative. Because that's what you want to attract and just be fair with your clients some will have the money some wont it's their investment too

Just as there are bad car mechanics, bad plumbers, electricians, etc, every occupation has its "bad apples."  Don't paint all Realtors with the same brush.  We licensed Realtors have to take licensing courses, Continuing Education courses, ETHICS courses, etc.  We have brokers keeping us on the "up and up" so that we don't make mistakes.  There are plenty of excellent Realtors out there.  The nature of our business makes it imperative that we have happy, satisfied clients who will bring us repeat business and referrals.

Saw your post on whether or not you choose the wrong career. All I can say is I thought I would make a lot of money quickly and it is just not the case. Between taking folks out to see properties, they then aren't interested or want to go see a lot of them, then you may find out they are not as qualified as they said they were-lesson, you really need to see a pre-qual letter before imparting too much effort, as they think you are paid by the hour, not just when something closes. As for the 20% are scum and lie, you have a choice, if that is not you, then be yourself, act and dress professional, and let folks see you are there to provide a service, not just for the money. As for the "obsolete" comment, yes folks can do a lot of shopping on-line, which makes our life easier, they already know what they want to see when they contact you. You are their means to gain access, and as long as that is the case, there will be a need for agents.  Lastly, as for the 80% burnout, I don't know the numbers, but yes, you can go all-in, put in a lot of effort, have a lot of deals fall thru then say it just doesn't work.  All I can say is that everyone who finally makes it probably went thru the same, they just kept going till they made it.  Best wishes  

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