We Realtors are a self-important bunch. Just ask us, we’ll tell you.
“I don’t only sell homes. I sell dreams!”
“You need professional help for the most important investment of your life!”
“I have planted more behinds in houses than McDonalds has in cardiologist offices!”
In most any arena, quiet confidence is the hallmark of ability. The lowest common denominator of puffery, in turn, is an underlying insecurity about the quality (or need) of the service being rendered. You sometimes can’t help but wonder if the egocentric assertions are for the benefit of the braggart’s audience or the braggart’s own sense of worth. I, for one, would sooner enlist the legal assistance of my two year old than the “experienced, aggressive” attorneys who snarl their ways through 30 second local TV spots. Is it too much to ask for a “smart, competent” one?
Look at the business cards we agents pass out with palsied fervor. You have to wade through 6 lines of superfluous designations and production awards before you can even find a phone number. I have been sporting the same cards for the past seven years with much the same obnoxious verbiage. The deeper I get into my Real Estate career, the more I realize that performance is the only thing that matters. No longer in a position where I feel the need to stand on a bar stool with a megaphone to capture my share of the market, it is a liberating thing to let go of the pompous demand for respect for simply selling a home. Certainly, ours is an important job, but then again, show me one that isn’t.
When challenged on the role of the Realtor, and whether we really are the drain on society that most public surveys reveal us to be, I no longer attempt to shout down the vocal detractors. My clients respect what I do and the assistance I provide, and that is all I require. We aren’t curing cancer. We aren’t utilizing an unparalleled skill set and education to launch unmanned crafts on Mars. Assessing value, assisting with purchasing decisions, marketing a home, navigating a Real Estate transaction … all are skills that can be readily learned. It outwardly seems like an easy gig. Show a few houses, collect a fat check. That is why there are more licensed Real Estate agents than 6 foot tall Cher impersonators at a midnight screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show.
While there are few intrinsic skills that the average non-drooling citizen can’t acquire and ply successfully in the realm of Real Estate, the real value of working with a professional is the “been there, done that” factor. It’s all about the learning curve. Most everything in this world is doable, but more to the point, done well through practice.
Two very good cases in point occurred just yesterday amidst a very long day of showing property to two sets of buyers. My first set of clients were highly intelligent buyers relocating from Northern California. Tech savvy and coming to me with a month’s worth of research on the properties they wished to see, along with a spreadsheet full of notes, pros & cons, online value estimates, etc for each home. This couple was fully dialed in and very capable of successfully purchasing a home with or without my assistance. Much to their credit, they recognized where their knowledge gaps were, and allowed me to fill in the remaining 10-20% that can only be gained by doing something day in and day out. Armed with their research and my local acumen, where we deviated from script was when we stopped in to look at a house that wasn’t on their list. Brand new on the market, and an exceptional value for the school district, size and condition, it was a home that would have slid under their radar because of a few discrepancies with their original criteria.
We submitted an offer on that home and are awaiting a response.
My second buyer was another sharp, and highly educated guy. We had been looking at property for about a month somewhat laconically, but have now really dialed up the urgency as he recently received notice that his Naval reservist status is about to be bumped to active duty. He deploys in late July. Highly motivated to secure a home for his family before he shoves off, we have been hammering new listings in the Southeast Valley virtually every other day for the past two weeks. He mentioned to me last night how many part time agents he works with in the medical field that have solicited his business (are you happy with your current agent?). What a commercial I could have made out of his quote. Paraphrasing, he essentially brushed off the come-ons with the response that not only was he happy with my performance, but that I have done this all day, every day for the past 10 years. In the area where I was born and raised to boot. With the short fuse he has to get his family situated, he requires the attention and knowledge of a full-time Realtor.
You the man, Mike!
See, I told you we Realtors are a self-important bunch. Even this purported piece of anti-puffery has morphed into a promotional effort … but I digress.
When you scythe through the hyperbole that thrives in the fields of Real Estate marketing, the underlying value that a solid agent provides is readily evident. We simply obscure the benefits at times via the bombastic claims that occasion the rolling of eyes and heavy groans from those whom we would deem to impress by overstating our linchpin status to Western civilization. A good agent is worth far more than his/her fee, but a poor one is worth a great deal less. The trick is deciphering the difference between the two.
As you contemplate that sobering thought, I’ll get back to my task for the day of adding the following accomplishments to my already bloated business card.
“Outstanding Achievement in Reading” – Cochise Elementary School: 1980-1982, 1984 (I was shafted in ’83).
“Super Citizen Award” – March 1982, September 1983
“Blue Ribbon in Long Jump” – Field Day 1985
“Eating All of My Crust Award” – Grandma Slaybaugh, 1983
“Junior Assembly, Fox Trot, 1st Place” – 1987
Hmm … I think we’re gonna need a bigger boat card.