I had the pleasure of meeting a very nice woman and her two children this weekend and the opportunity to show them several houses to rent. They were passed on to me by another agent in my office and I wanted to help these people.
When we met at my office, the first thing I did was qualify them as potential buyers. They recently suffered through a foreclosure, so I knew that the "buy side" potential here was very long term and slim at best. Nonetheless, off we went. After three hours and many miles, we parted ways with no clear property selected.
Last night I received an email stating that these renters would like to see more properties today. This time we would be joined by the husband/father of the family as well. Aside from the fact that I was showing properties today, going to church, and taking my two awesome girls miniture golfing, I had to sever the relationship with the renters.
First of all, I have no idea if these people are qualified to rent anything, let alone the $1800-$2600 a month houses we saw yesterday. Perhaps with a visit to my in-house lender, I might feel more comfortable, but there is one little thing holding me back. These rental agents simply don't pay enough to make any of this worth my while. I mean, c'mon, $50-$250? I calculated my expense from yesterday's little venture at $88. That's $13 in gas and $75 in fees ($25/hour). Quite frankly, that's going to look cheap in a few years when I'm earning more than that (lol)!
In the end, time is money and the prospect of earning enough to make this worth while just didn't present itself. On the other hand, I am going out again Tuesday to preview rental properties for other clients from out-of-town. The difference, they are referrals from a close friend and they are being relocated here from Indiana. Once their house sells there, they are going to buy here. For personal and financial reasons, that makes sense.
I do not mean to sound like I am trying not to be helpful, Lord knows that's why I got into this business in the first place, to help people, but I have learned quickly not to beat myself up over the fact that it is not selfish to expect to earn a living. I am a professional, just like a lawyer, doctor, or teacher. A lot of our time is spent providing time and services for free, like a lawyer on retainer, we only get paid if we win (or sell, as it may be). It's not a sin to expect to get paid for providing our expertise and time to others.
If there's something I'm missing here, feel free to chime in. I've struggled with this one all weekend. Thanks!