It is not atypical for Real Estate agents to spurn rentals. Much to the chagrin of frustrated prospective renters, that is one voicemail that seldom gets returned. For an agent backlogged with more lucrative opportunities, he/she will often leave the red-headed stepchild of the industry to the property managers. You don’t get rich matching tenants and landlords, especially if it is not the main thrust of your business. Thus the rental stone is not merely left unturned by the high fliers, it is disregarded as a stone altogether. More like a pebble, the likes of which will find its way into your shoe and cause great discomfort to those who would tread too close.
Part of the problem with the rental market is that the compensation is a prohibiting factor. Realtors are hired guns. As independent contractors, we are always performing risk/reward analysis. For many, the potential reward of a rental transaction is not nearly lucrative enough to justify the risk of the effort not successfully culminating in a paycheck. To operate on straight commission, productivity must be maxed and the upside ridiculously high, otherwise, we would all opt for the safety of a salaried position. With compensation for rental properties drifting downwards in recent years, the opportunity cost has simply become too great for many in our ranks. Why shuttle around some schlub for two days in hopes of collecting a $150 paycheck when they might put a $500,000 buyer in the car instead? Of course, you also have a segment of agents who might simply find such menial work beneath their inflated sense of self, but you get those types in every field.
I can’t rightly attest to the motives of those who brush off rental prospects, but I can tell you why I do not. Any agent worth his or her salt looks not only at the present business horizon, but the future skyline as well. In my estimation, today’s tenant is tomorrow’s buyer. Whenever the financial and personal wherewithal comes to make that transition, I want to be the agent they remember that helped them when the others gave them the brush off. If my competitors want to slam the door on these apparently inconsequential house hunters, I will gladly use the opportunity to get my own foot in that very same door.
Anyone can sell someone a house. It takes diligence, empathy and yes, a little luck (hard to compete with Aunt Margaret when she gets bored and gets a Real Estate license) to sell a person every home he or she will ever own. I aspire to the latter. Performing a service that can be tantamount to pro bono work in some cases is one means of achieving that aim. It never ceases to amaze me how many advertising dollars some agents will spend to attract new clients while completely neglecting the opportunities that don’t cost a nickel (a little gas notwithstanding). For the chance to gain the trust of consumers while they are at either the infancy or nadir of their journey towards home ownership, I happily pick up that slack. Working rentals over the years whenever the opportunity has arisen, I have procured some of my very favorite and most loyal clients. They tend to stick with you on the way up when you were there for them at the bottom.
To all of my esteemed colleagues who neglect the rental market, I thank you.
To the frustrated renters out there who can’t get an agent to return a phone call, email or smoke signal, give me a buzz. I will gladly help you find temporary housing in the Scottsdale, NE Phoenix and Paradise Valley area.
And when you’re ready to buy … I wouldn’t be adverse to taking that call, too 😉