Why are so many real estate professionals obsessed with messaging that pretends great real estate service is “quick and easy”? According to Compass’s Leonard Steinberg, it’s time to change the narrative.

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I have a hard time understanding why too many of us in the real estate profession are obsessed with messaging to the world about how “quick and easy” it is to sell a property. The reality is that there are very few quick and easy tasks. Why does the industry continue to perpetuate that fantasy? Quick and easy? More like arduous and exhausting.  

Multiple offers multiply stress

Some consumers are indeed impressed by speed. I, for one, have had several experiences with a speedy sale, but nothing about these transactions was easy. 

Although multiple bids and over-bidding have become regular occurrences in some of our current inventory-starved markets, we know that navigating these scenarios requires skill, experience, knowledge, empathy, strength, strategic timing, care and a whole host of other skills that are not learned overnight.

Multiple bids are stressful for everyone involved. The emotional toll is draining on buyers, sellers and their agents. Each and every transaction has its unique circumstances and complexities that need to be navigated with great care and professionalism. We know this. We live this. And yet, we still message to the consumer with the “quick and easy” rhetoric. Why?

Reality TV real estate isn’t real life

Reality TV shows have been great career-builders for some agents in that they have given them exposure to a broad audience. Many consumers love them. Too many consumers believe everything they see and hear on these shows, forgetting that they are semi-scripted, heavily edited entertainment. These shows often message the “quick and easy” narrative as well. 

They often broadcast how easy it was for some of their ultra-glam, ultra-tan, jet-setting, drinks-throwing, pool-partying stars to earn millions in mere minutes, driving around in a shiny car with an even more lustrous watch. It all looks so quick and easy to the consumer and many honestly believe this to be reality. Of course, we all know this is not reality. But I fear the damage has been done.

Now, this messaging is creating major compensation issues, as many consumers seek discounts for our work. Why should they pay so much for our services when things are quick and easy? I don’t blame them.

Many believe this inaccurate perception of the work agents do without referencing the enormous upfront costs of operating a business in an increasingly expensive world, the limited time at our disposal to do this work, and the extraordinary lengths agents go to to get the job done. 

Let’s get real and change the narrative

So today, I am begging all of my colleagues to please message to consumers a more accurate version of what we do. Let’s show them exactly what it takes to connect to our clientele, nurture them, educate them and advise them well before a transaction occurs and then forever afterward.

And yes, let’s also let them know everything we do and everything our brokerages do to market and advertise their homes and facilitate a transaction.

Consumers need to know the only time we are paid for our services is when a transaction closes. If our career was quick and easy, I’d be the first to say we are overpaid and need to reduce our fees immediately.

After a quarter of a century in this business, I know what it takes to get the job done well, and I know that agents earn every penny. If we want to be viewed by the world as ethical, honorable and valuable professionals, we need to earn that stature with more accurate messaging, stop the false quick and easy sales pitches, and leave the cake to the bakeries. 

Leonard Steinberg is the Chief Evangelist of COMPASS specializing in the marketing of high end New York real estate. Follow him on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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