• It's popular to suggest that real estate agents are incompetent, stupid or untrustworthy, which opens the door for teaching, preaching and helping agents -- or not.
  • A little advice for those who give advice: walk the walk of a real estate agent before you help us out with your new products.
  • If your broker seems to be clueless or even somewhat clueless, you need to move.

Your agents might be getting advice from all of the wrong places, like from people with companies and products to sell. It seems like part of being a vendor these days is teaching agents. Having a product to sell to the real estate industry seems to make people experts automatically on how to be a great real estate agent and how to run a successful company.

In addition to specific product information, there are many who know how real estate agents should use Facebook to sell their listings and all about winning business by writing restaurant reviews or business reviews on a blog. Who makes this stuff up, anyway?

Maybe we can just ignore fair housing laws and change the way we market properties. I have seen advice that could get me in trouble with fair housing written by people who don’t have a clue — but they do have something to sell.

The Department of Commerce gives us all sorts of silly rules to follow, too, and they aren’t even the same in every state. I am sure I could come up with some new and amazing outside-the-box marketing strategies if I wasn’t hampered by so many rules and laws.

Using bad agent rep to sell

I cringe as I read or listen to crazy or stupid on an almost a daily basis. It seems like everyone out there has an idea that will greatly improve my business, and sometimes it seems to irritate them that I don’t like the new idea. It never occurs to anyone that a great idea might not be legal or ethical — not to mention the fact that there is no evidence that it will even work.

It is very popular to suggest that most real estate agents are incompetent, stupid and not very trustworthy. That attitude opens the door for people to teach, preach and help real estate agents. Let’s just all agree that real estate agents need to change, and they need to do it now or (fill in the blank).

A little advice for those who give advice

I would like to take this opportunity to give some advice to those who like to give real estate professionals advice.

I am uniquely qualified because I am a long-time member of the real estate industry. Notice the transparency? I clearly state my credentials as an expert.

I belong to the largest group in the industry. The people who get all the advice and buy stuff.

Here is my advice to the people who want to give advice to real estate agents, brokers and the part of the industry that sells real estate:

  1. Go ahead and get a real estate license. It is inexpensive and very easy to do. Anyone can do it; the bar is very low. Come on; it will be fun, and you might learn something.
  2. Get a second real estate license in another state. Real estate is local; it will be a wonderful learning experience, and it’s easy and inexpensive.
  3. Find a real estate agent who will let you go on a ride-along. Maybe to a couple of listing appointments and then house-hunting with a buyer or two.
  4. Fill out a loan application.
  5. Spend quality time reading about housing and finance. It might sound boring, but many real estate agents are interested in housing.
  6. Attend the Tuesday morning sales meetings at a few real estate offices. If you bring donuts and pens with logos on them, they will welcome you.
  7. Set up an interview with staff at a local real estate association. Ask them about their jobs and the association. (I have no idea what a person could learn from that.)
  8. Load all of the apps on your phone that a real estate agent needs to use all day, and see if your phone still works.
  9. Read the Realtor Code of Ethics, and take the code of ethics training. Much of it deals with the everyday situations that Realtors and real estate agents face.
  10. Take some continuing education classes for real estate. I think anyone can take them.

None of my 10 suggestions are going to make anyone an expert or qualified to give agents advice, but anyone who accomplishes all 10 will have at least a rough idea of how much he or she doesn’t know.

If you are a real estate agent reading this, all I can say is: If you are in doubt about some advice you have received or if you are not sure how to handle an issue with another real estate professional or a situation with a client, please ask your broker.

Your broker knows a lot about a lot of things. If your broker seems to be totally clueless or even somewhat clueless, you need to move to another company or maybe another office within the same franchise, so you don’t have to get new logos on all of your stuff.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of StPaulRealEstateBlog.com.

Email Teresa Boardman.

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