OpinionAgent

Why I die a little inside when hack agents get hired

The bar of entry is far too low, and subpar agents are killing our reputation

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Reposted with permission from Valerie Crowell.

It is becoming my life’s work to eliminate hacks from the real estate industry.

Every day, thousands of internet geeks wake up and try to figure out how to make Realtors the travel agents of that year. Expedia killed travel agents. Why? Because they provided minimal value and couldn’t articulate their value beyond “I have access to Sabre and can shop reservations for you.”

You can shop tickets on Expedia, Kayak, Travelocity, Orbitz and about a hundred other sites now. The information is all there. Hotels can be shopped on anything from hotels.com to the Westin’s own website. The real estate industry is in danger of going the same way.

Realtors are currently up in arms about Zillow’s new Instant Offers roll out. I’m not worried about that. All that needs to happen is one seller lets one buyer into their house and gets robbed or worse and that’s the end of that. There will be other onslaughts. We must be eternally vigilant.

The elephant in the room is the fact that my industry needs to clean house. We need to rid ourselves of the hacks.

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Hacks come in all forms.

There are those who don’t bother to educate themselves. Our test is easy to pass. I passed my broker’s test after a night of drinking. I hadn’t had time to study and figured I’d get a report of what I needed to study and go back and take it for real at a later date.

I was 45 minutes late and had to sign a waiver. And I passed it.

The thing is, I knew that there was a lot of stuff I didn’t know. It is my practice to take a minimum of one class per month to further my real estate knowledge. I travel four times a year to conventions and seminars to increase my ability to serve my clients, and I have two business coaches.

I care about doing the best job possible for my clients. My team has a rule: If you see an opportunity to improve our client’s experience, it is incumbent upon you to take that opportunity and make that client’s experience even better.

Sadly, a very small percentage of my colleagues take the same approach to this business; 90 percent of real estate sales are handled by 10 percent of the agents. The other 90 percent fight over the last 10 percent.

They don’t have the experience and won’t do the work to get better at their jobs. Yet consumers still hire them. I am sad that those clients won’t ever know what it’s like to work with a great Realtor.

There are those who just do a crappy job. MLS photos. How hard is it? IPhones are very cool. Don’t market someone’s $500,000 house with your phone. Hire a professional real estate photographer.

Listing agents have one major job: Market the client’s home to get the best exposure resulting in the most amount of money in the shortest amount of time. Seriously. Would you buy this?

Doesn’t that client deserve better from our industry? It’s embarrassing.

There are those who do not have any ethics. They need to go. They say things to clients they have no business saying. One just fell apart because the buyer stopped by an open house on the way to the house they’re in contract to buy.

The open house agent blew the transaction. What he represented as fact about the subdivision was in fact folklore, and the buyer cancelled the transaction.

Total hack.

Agents cannot talk to clients under contract with another agent beyond casual conversation. Unscrupulous listing agents routinely tell them they will get the house if they do business with them so they can “double end” it.

Don’t hire these hacks. They lie to their clients, they don’t do what they need to in the time they need to do it because they don’t understand the contract. They write unreasonable offers. They don’t educate their clients.

Before you hire an agent, ask them how many homes they’ve sold in the past year. The average agent sells six. A house every two months is not enough to build what I call Deal IQ.

Deal IQ is acquired when an agent has done a lot of deals. Something comes up, and they know what to do because they’ve been there before. Only a good, well-practiced agent can do that.

In this market, with your largest financial asset at stake, I don’t know why you would want anything else.

Valerie Crowell is a broker associate with Keller Williams Realty. Follow her on Twitter or Instagram.

Email Valerie Crowell