The other day I met yet another person, who said something that has never sat well with me: “Oh, I dabble in real estate as well.”
This person’s nonchalant attitude about an industry I love rubbed against my professional pride.
Because it pared down my 30-something years of being a student and leader of real estate and put us on the same playing field of expertise just because we hold the same license.
It’s a pity our industry responsibilities are taken so nonchalantly and that all real estate agents consider themselves “equals” based on merely holding the same license.
It’s not monkey business
Clients trust us with their most important asset, but anyone can have the job as long as they pass the test — which is easier to pass than a cosmetology test.
If you doubt the validity of what I’m saying, think about this: Would you ever go to a doctor or a surgeon who “dabbles” in medicine? How about a lawyer who’s main income stream comes from being a yoga instructor?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m a champion of new agents entering our profession, as well as part-timers who are raising their families or making a career move.
As long as they have an authentic soul, meet or strive to exceed fiduciary duties, and take the steps to evolve and stay current on the latest trends with education that is necessary to be at the top of their game — I welcome them with open arms.
But as the outspoken critic on raising the state of our profession, we need “buyer beware” warnings that differentiate the seasoned agent from the hobbyist.
Shed the hobbyist skin
The truth of the matter is that with the ever-emerging competition and online entities, we “blood, sweat and tears” agents, also known as those with skin in the game, have to stay on top by continuing to evolve and making sure our primary goal is to protect the well-being of our clients and their asset or investment.
In other words, as a non-hobbyist, we need to constantly work on the things that set us apart from the hobbyist.
So, how does one make the transition from a hobbyist real estate agent, to a respected and evolved agent, who is worthy of every dollar earned? I have a raise-the-bar six-step guideline:
- Know your product: Know every property in your area that is listed, every property that is in escrow and every property that has sold; and understand the valuation behind each transaction.
- Invest in your marketing: Be prepared to invest in your brand. That means making sure your social media presence and other marketing pieces are clean, concise and up to date.
- Manage your client’s expectation: Be prepared to tell your clients the truth in all aspects of the transaction. You might lose a few listings in the short run, but this one integrity move will set yourself apart from those who give inflated values just to get the listing and waste valuable market time.
- Know your industry: Never place your client in a compromising position because you didn’t pay attention to every detail in the contract. Know the RPA (residential purchase agreement) inside and out. Make sure every disclosure that you and your client are offering is filled out with the utmost care and detail, so that your file has strength and traction.
- Know your place: Always remember that you are a real estate agent. Meaning, you are not an attorney, nor are you a contractor. So stay in your lane, be professional, and keep your advice limited to your role as an agent.
- Most importantly, know your “why”: Know why you became an agent. Know why you have chosen to be the real deal versus a hobbyist. This means having skin in the game and taking it a step further by having what I like to call soul in the game. Having soul in the game means going above and beyond for your clients. Take that 1 a.m. call when you’re client is nervous and needs assurance. Go the extra mile to show you genuinely care about the deal, the client and the memories you create for your clients. Being a non-hobbyist agent means you are a proud, licensed, professional agent.
So, don’t just raise the bar on yourself and on our profession — be the bar that others aspire to.