Over the holidays I had a chance to visit with a number of my top-producing friends from both the brokerage and the mortgage side of the business. What shocked me was how many of these highly successful people were thinking about leaving the business. The reason? "I hate Realtors!"
Let’s face it: 2009 and 2010 were probably the most difficult markets since the Great Depression. Today, even highly qualified borrowers cannot obtain financing, especially if their property falls into the jumbo loan category. Making matters worse, many lenders are terribly understaffed and are unable to fund a purchase loan in less than 60 days.
The challenge is that many Realtors are so desperate for a closing that they write their contracts to close in 30 days, even when the lenders are advising them to expect a minimum of 60 days to close a transaction.
The result is that everyone is upset. The buyers and sellers are yelling at their agents because they were set to move. The agents are yelling at the mortgage broker, the escrow agent, and the title officers.
Unfortunately, all of the complaining does nothing to speed up the process — all it does is make an already stressful situation even more difficult.
If you’re feeling frustrated with the Realtors you’re working with, the following "lessons learned" may help you shift your perspective.
Lesson Learned #1:
When I was first in the business, an escrow officer told me the buyers had obtained loan approval on my listing. When the buyers were turned down for the loan and we had to put my listing back on the market, I chewed out the escrow officer for lying to me. My manager overheard the conversation and pulled me into his office. His words have stayed with me ever since.
"If you yell at anyone at the escrow, title or mortgage company do you know what is going to happen to your file? It’s going to go right to the bottom of the stack. Your clients are going to be ignored and you’re going to have even more problems."
As a result, I changed my tactics. Whenever there was a problem, even when the person I was talking to caused it, I would say, "We’re really having an issue with such-and-such on this file. If there is anything you can do to help us resolve this problem, we would really appreciate your help.
"Also, if there anything I can do on my side to be of assistance, please let me know. Thanks so much for all the work you do and for helping us out."
I also got into the habit of sending flowers to my escrow officers regularly. My transactions and my clients almost always received the best of care.
Lesson Learned #2:
Early on I learned that the other agent I was working with probably wouldn’t return phone calls, had no idea about what he should be doing to close the file, and that if I wanted to close the deal on time it usually meant I would have to do most of the work. There was no reason to complain — it’s just how things are. When you did find someone who was an excellent agent, it was a welcomed surprise.
Lesson Learned #3:
If you’re still feeling that you really do hate Realtors, you may be suffering from what is known as "burnout." Burnout occurs when you experience too much stress. In many cases, agents who experience burnout are drinking too much coffee, working too much, and taking poor care of themselves. Unfortunately, burnout leads to adrenal fatigue that can result in cancer, heart disease and other illnesses.
What can you do to minimize the stress in this environment?
First, if the business is truly making you miserable, perhaps it is time for a two- or three-week vacation. If it’s really bad, then the best thing for your health may be to leave the business. The challenge is that when you hate the people you work with, the law of attraction says you will attract people who hate you as well.
To change the way people interact with you, do your best to expect the best of them. Regularly express your gratitude for the people who support your business. This includes not only your clients, but everyone who touches your business and personal life.
Reducing your stress, having systems and strategies in place to deal with poorly trained agents, and expressing gratitude are the best ways to keep your enthusiasm high and your production strong.