By Laurel Price
Yes, there are some dishonest real estate salespeople out there, just as there are terrible people in every profession. These sales reps have hurt the public financially and broken the public’s trust. They should be fined heavily and banned from real estate.
But there are also many real estate salespeople who are trustworthy and work hard every day. They demonstrate their integrity even when it costs them a paycheque. They will tell you the truth even when it’s something you don’t want to hear. That’s how important it is to them to be upfront and honest.
To every one of you who have been hurt by a dishonest sales rep, we grieve with you and offer our humblest apologies that you’ve been through that. It makes us sick too and angry that our reputations are lumped in with the bad guys.
We work hard to make ourselves available to you…evenings, weekends, holidays and late at night. That means we give up family time to make sure you are getting what you need as our valued buyers/sellers. But there are times we need time away with our families, so we pay another trusted salesperson to look after you while we are unavailable. Then we stay in close touch with them to make sure everything goes well.
Clients who worry about wasting our time are never the ones who do. Please don’t call the listing agent to see their listing because you don’t want to bother us. It puts the listing agent in a conflict of interest working for their seller, but not knowing they are being expected to look after our buyer. Call us and we will make sure you can see the listing as soon as possible.
And the reverse is true. If we are the listing agent, please be honest when we ask if you are working with a Realtor. We don’t want to interfere with an existing relationship…and we don’t want to waste our time when you are working with someone else.
We value our relationship with you and your family. Buying/selling a home is often a strangely emotional and intimate experience…we spend a lot of time with you and usually get to know you well. We grow to love your kids because we see them so often (and face it, they are great kids, right?). That’s why we treasure your referrals to family, friends and coworkers…it means you treasure our relationship too.
We are only human, and there are times when we fail, but we do our best to do our best for you and your family. If there is a problem, please talk to us first and give us a chance to solve the problem. Expectations are a funny thing…it’s impossible to meet them if we don’t know what they are. And remember, we have expectations of you too, so let’s be upfront about how to work best together.
Although we can pick out problems with a property just because of our experience, we aren’t roofers, plumbers, electricians or foundation experts. That’s why we ask you to get a home inspection done. Home inspectors don’t pay us to refer you to them…we just think it’s wise to have an independent set of eyes looking at this huge purchase you are making. And yes, home inspectors miss stuff all the time, but they do their best too.
Being a Realtor is an expensive business to be in. Unless you are self-employed, it’s often hard to understand the risks we face financially every day and the expenses we cover just to be in business. Sometimes we go months between pay cheques, then get several in one month…so we must manage our money well to make sure we can be responsible financially. We pay for everything ourselves, from our liability insurance to advertising, car expenses to staffing, professional dues and fees to continuing education (which are required to keep our licensing). We must work for a brokerage, and they get a substantial portion of every dollar we make. So that great big pay cheque you think we get is a whole lot smaller than you imagine. Most of us do this job because we love it, and the people we get to meet and work with.
We do a lot of work we don’t get paid for behind the scenes…from advice given to research done, then miss the paycheque because the seller sells their home privately using the information we gave them. Or the buyer we showed a gazillion homes to goes and buys privately. And yes, we can go after them for commission, but that doesn’t build good customer relationships in the end. We usually just sigh and move onto the next client.
We value you. You’re important to us and we respect how difficult buying or selling a home can be. Please be patient with us as we work hard on your behalf!