The Changing Landscape In Brokerage...A Permanent trend?
When I started out in real estate 22 years ago, there were some of the most professional agents in the business working in this profession.
At least that is the way it appeared to me at the time.
I started out in New York City which was very different than any other housing market, very different from the mainstream marketplaces and totally unlike any real estate market today.
I was reading an article in Inman News and interestingly enough it was all about how agents are viewed by the public. It contained all the standard complaints that agents hear but this time there were concrete comparisons to other professions:
This chart identifies the way the public views real estate agents versus other professions, including lawyers, doctors, financial planners etc....
Real Estate agents take a big hit in the area of expertise in their field but come out ahead in years of experience and the recommendations they get from family and friends.
In the past three months I have had several incidents happen with buyers and sellers alike and it is astounding how much the level of respect and regard for agents has disintegrated.
Some recent examples:
- Never before have I had a seller take away a listing after I had sold this same clients other home for a record price! There was no reason given, just a fare-thee-well and then a very bad review on Zillow, telling the public that I don't know my marketplace... I have never heard another word from her and she expects me now to sell her home as an open listing! Of course if I had a customer looking in that price range and location I would certainly try to sell it---problem is, the buyers have thinned out and those that are looking now are looking for huge discounts on houses like hers so it is a very tough sell...
- In the case of buyers, I have friends and family who give my name out all the time to their friends and I have been able to sell many homes this way! Just recently I have had two such buyers who just disappeared from my sphere and have re-appeared with other agents who sold these buyers the very homes that I introduced them to--not even a year later! One case is a friend of my nephew--someone whom I know very well. The other is a young couple, the daughter of a very happy man to whom I sold a very large house here in Southampton Village. He gave my name to his daughter, telling her she should use my services since he was so pleased with having worked with me to find his dream summer home. I showed them several homes and was told that they needed to wait for a bit to be sure they were going to want to live in the Village. The next thing that happened, not even 3 months later, I saw that they bought one of the houses that I showed to them--through another agent in another brokerage!
I talked to my manager about the two sales that I was cut out of and apparently there is nothing I can do short of suing for the commission I earned. I don't have the stomach for law suits, so I simply make sure that my buyers and sellers are better informed as to what can happen if they go to another agent to buy something that I had already shown them. Even though there is no real affect on them when buying such a property there is a thing called Karma that most people consider before they do something that is questionable.
Below is a list of things I am now instituting to attempt to thwart any other shifty agents/buyers from pulling a fast one on me. The best I can hope for is that I cut down on the number of incidences.
- Keep a call list and stay in touch with customers who have stopped looking at properties with you. Make sure to discuss properties that you have shown to them in your follow-up --preferably in an email for your records.
- Make sure to let the prospective buyer know that as a standard practice, you will keep a record of what you have shown them and that will let them feel less likely to want to go against the "rule" that you have set in your business.
- When you take an exclusive listing, make sure to let the homeowner know that you will be putting a lot of time and effort into the listing, to say nothing of the costs of advertising their home. Inform them of the value of keeping consistency with agent and company to maximize the potential sale of the listing and always get a head start when doing a renewal of a listing agreement.
With these new tactics in my tool kit, I hope to avoid any more bad experiences. However, the market has made a sea-change with the quality of it's agents and with the level of disrespect for those of us who rely on income from our sales. I am sorry to say that there are no rewards for integrity in this business and in fact there is a better chance that you will be mistreated in a real estate deal than to receive accolades for the deal well-done!
I can only hope that things are the way they currently are because of the relative discord in the whole political arena and that things will get back to some normalcy after the election this year.....
**ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY. The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate
Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995; Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York
Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005
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