Is Your Agent a Homeowner?

By
Real Estate Agent with Fab Real Estate

I've always wondered how people can enter the real estate business, help people buy and sell homes, but have never bought or sold their own home.  I call them the "renter-real-estate-agents."

Can a renter be a good real estate agent? Perhaps.  But if they're not a homeowner themselves, they lack the true experience and knowledge of homeownership as a whole.  They lack the first-hand experience of all that homeownership entails - maintenance, property tax issues, tax deductions, the emotional attachments, and so on.

Most importantly, a renter-real-estate-agent has never experienced, personally, for themselves what it is truly like to be a home buyer and a home seller.  They don't have that up-close-and-personal knowledge that can only be gained by personal experience of the stresses involved in buying their home.  And, they don't have that up-close-and-personal knowledge that can only be gained by personal experience of the stresses involved in selling their home, either.

Buying and selling a home is an amazing, wonderful, stress-filled, anxiety-laden, expensive, (did I mention stress-filled?) and life-changing experience.  An agent who has been through it all themselves can understand, explain and prepare their clients for what to expect, thus lessening the stress.  They can better prepare a buyer for the home inspection, give personal examples of how to handle maintenance issues of homes, and share names of contractors they themselves have used.  They can share their personal war stories with sellers who quickly grow tired of keeping their home in model-condition and of having strangers traipse through their home.

It's important for real estate agents and their clients to connect on many levels, otherwise the relationship just won't work.  Working with an agent who has been through it all themselves should be a top priority on who a client chooses to have represent them.

And, yes, I have bought and sold several personal residences.  I've learned more each time, and it makes me not only more compassionate towards my clients, but it also makes me a better and smarter agent.

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Home Selling
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Connecticut Fairfield County
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connecticut
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sellers
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Show All Comments
Rainmaker
147,915
Home Design
Alpharetta, GA
Home Design and Real Estate
Would you buy a car from someone who has never drove one?  Or stocks from someone who has never bought any for themselves.  I agree with your post!
Dec 31, 2006 06:58 AM #26
Rainmaker
310,826
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate
Gena - Yep, you get it!  The intimate details of buying and selling a home just cannot be taught, or learned, in a classroom.  Personal experience makes us better.
Dec 31, 2006 08:26 AM #27
Rainmaker
310,826
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate
Teri - You're right.  I think many agents come into this business as renters, thinking they'll get rich quick and then buy a home at a steep discount because they'll be "in the business."  It doesn't work that way.  We don't get rich quick.  I wish we did!  I think most of these "renter-real-estate-agents" that started at the same time as I did have now moved on to different careers.
Dec 31, 2006 08:29 AM #28
Rainmaker
310,826
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate

The Harper Team - I used to live and sell in Walnut Creek, so I understand the market you're dealing with now.  And, yes, it is exactly the experiences such as you have described - what we've been through with our own homes and our own ordeals - that make us great agents.  Without it, we'd be the blind leading the blind.

John - I completely agree.  I have tried, in the past, to sell outside my knowledge area.  It wasn't fair to my clients.  I've since created an extensive referral base of agents - my clients deserve the best service, even if that means they shouldn't work with me.

Randy - Mahalo.  That's the whole point.  How do you know it's good to buy a home, if you haven't bought one yourself.  How do you know this is the right thing to do?  As an aside, I spent two weeks in Hawaii 10 years ago for my honeymoon.  We loved it and have been trying to get back ever since!

Jennifer - Good point - I often ask my financial planner about her personal experience, and about what stocks she owns, and she freely shares that information with me.  Even after the Enron debacle, I still trust her, because she had some money in there, too!

 

Dec 31, 2006 08:36 AM #29
Rainer
23,467
joanne Douglas
Terrie O'Connor Realtors - Ridgewood, NJ
Don,
It was my home ownership buy/sell experience that got me into Real Estate school in the first place!  
Dec 31, 2006 10:45 AM #30
Rainmaker
1,382,394
Donna Harris
Donna Homes, PLR - Austin, TX
Realtor, CDPE & ASP - Hill Country Lakeway Austin

When I first got into real estate, I had just turned 24 and was only making about $30k in corporate world.  You can't buy a "decent" house with that type of income.  I could have bought a condo, but for that price range, it's just like an apartment... so I opted to wait a year.  With that, because of my credit scores, I was able to buy a house with stated income only even though I was self employed less than 2 years.  The rate was a little higher, but I was now a home owner... and again... and the second time around was a NIGHTMARE!!!

It's not just the realtors that are apartment dwellers but MANY mortgage people are as well.  It amazes me how many people can give the ins and outs of loans and not get one themselves though they know all the options.

Dec 31, 2006 12:17 PM #31
Rainer
18,617
Jamie Ramos
Re/Max Alliance - New Haven, CT
New Haven Connecticut Real Estate Agent

I am in the real estate business because of my home buying selling experience.  The buy side wasnt too bad except it was never disclosed to me that my agent actually worked for the seller.  This was in 1996 before buyer agency came to CT.  I had NO clue what I was doing and now am amazed I made it through it.

Selling was the catalyst.  I found out afterward that there were things that I didnt know about.  Like that I didnt HAVE to make repairs that CHFA required.  I was told I HAD to.  My home sold THREE times.  The first two times the person was not even qualified to buy.  The house appraised out twice and them somehow appraised out at 10K less on the 3rd go round in an increasing sellers market!  My realtor NEVER told me I didnt have to go forward.  She NEVER told me I could negotiate.  She agreed to a commission reduction and when we got to closing NEVER said a word and collected her full 3%.  I found all this out aftwerwards and felt totally betrayed.

ooops...guess I vented there a bit.  But my point is without having gone through both processes I would have no idea what an emotional experience it is as well as finanically stressful etc.  And I learned what NOT to in my own business.

 

Dec 31, 2006 01:02 PM #32
Ambassador
1,447,584
Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

interesting post, it is really hard to imagine so many agents are renter, this is like "Do as I say, not as I do."

Dec 31, 2006 01:26 PM #33
Rainmaker
220,679
Debi Braulik
www.roundrealestate.com - Maple Valley, WA
Selling Maple Valley to Fife WA Homes For Sale
Yes, I agree. Interesting post. How can an agent empathize with a client if they haven't  "walked the walk"?
Dec 31, 2006 03:10 PM #34
Rainmaker
310,826
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate

Joanne - Glad to hear that buying and selling your own home turned you on to selling real estate for a living.  That's a heck of a way to get motivated, and you entered the profession with a bit of knowledge already under your belt.

Jamie - Because of your own home selling experiences, you now are so much better prepared to truly represent your clients.  That experience will prove invaluable to your clients, even if they may never realize it.

Donna - You're right - mortgage brokers who don't have a mortgage of their own, or who have never refinanced their own mortgage, have to be working at a disadvantage that may affect their clients.

Dec 31, 2006 03:47 PM #35
Rainmaker
310,826
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate
Jennifer & Debi - you each added great quotes to this debate.  Thank you.
Dec 31, 2006 03:49 PM #36
Rainer
155,529
Anthony Clark
Clark Partners Realty Group - Fayetteville, AR
Real Estate. It's About Lifestyle!

I am going to have the least popular post in this entire discussion, but here goes:

If you've ever had a family member suffer from cancer, chances are the physician was not a cancer patient himself.  Yet you still trusted your loved one in his hands?  Yes, because he has had extensive training, "hands-on" experience, and (most likely) sincerely cared about the outcome.  I certainly appreciate the intent of all of the previous posts, but lack of personal experience in a situation doesn't necesarily make someone unable to perform at a high level.

And yes, I've bought and sold property  :)

Anthony Clark, Tulsa, Oklahoma

http://TulsaMetroRealtor.com

Dec 31, 2006 05:23 PM #37
Rainmaker
51,122
Kelly Mitchell
Agent Caffeine & BreveTV - Honolulu, HI
AgentCaffeine.com "Fuel for Your Real Estate Biz"
Excellent question for our clients.  If an agent doesn't believe enough in the market they sell in it's just like a stock broker who never owned a stock or a Mercedes dealer who never owned a car.  LUDICROUS!
Dec 31, 2006 11:05 PM #38
Rainmaker
310,826
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate
Anthony - yes, that cancer doctor treating cancer may not have had cancer previously, he he or she has certainly had a lot more training and education and hand-on experience before working solo than a real estate agent obtains.
Jan 01, 2007 07:59 AM #39
Rainmaker
310,826
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate
Kelly - great points.  Thanks for sharing, and I'm glad to see most people agree that being a homeowner yourself is such an important facet for any agent that wants to deliver the best service to their clients.
Jan 01, 2007 08:01 AM #40
Rainer
41,868
John Klassen
M & T Bank - Kingston, NY
Same is true for loan officers. Until you go through the process personally, you may not have the right perspective to help others. To sell America you should certainly have owned some of it.
Jan 01, 2007 01:01 PM #41
Rainer
2,679
Sandy Cuckler
HER Real Living - Columbus, OH

Funny, sure touched on something here!  Great to see that there are so many views

I became a REALTOR because of my experience in buying and selling a home.  I bought my first home when I was 26 and I wanted to make sure no one had to feel like I did when I went through it.  I knew I could make a differrence.

While I can comment on the posts about the importance of being a REALTOR and a homeowner, the biggest key is the client. 

 A cancer doctor empathizes with the patient and the family, a REALTOR empathizes with the client.  How your communicate and educate and represent your client is what matters.  The bond you have with your client is just that a bond. You are the expert- can you know the ins and outs of a transaction solely by your education? Or is it more knowledge because you have personally gone through it?  Seems the biggest thing here would be you "feel" the experience because you have been there before as opposed to being experienced in it by prior transactions.  What does that mean to the client?  The difference in saying to a client 'I did that when I bought my home'  as opposed to explaining 'this is what happens'.  Is that more for your benefit, or the clients?

Food for thought here, not saying I agree or disagree that a licensee should have purchased a home before or that it impacts the transaction- just pointing out that a good agent is a good agent because of the bond and representation they provide to a client.

Perceptions is 99% of the rule, how does the cleient perceive an agent?  What do they expect? Does it just solidify the relationship when an agent can say ' I know how you feel I've been there  before'? 

I believe our profession is one of great pride, and it's hard when you hear those horror stories of transactions gone crazy.  For those agents who believe in what they do and take it seriously, we need to express that to clients.  For agents who are in this business for the wrong reasons, or do not take it seriously..............well, stop and think about how and what that means to consumers. It's about the consumer. 

Jan 01, 2007 01:20 PM #42
Rainer
2,679
Sandy Cuckler
HER Real Living - Columbus, OH

Funny, sure touched on something here!  Great to see that there are so many views

I became a REALTOR because of my experience in buying and selling a home.  I bought my first home when I was 26 and I wanted to make sure no one had to feel like I did when I went through it.  I knew I could make a differrence.

While I can comment on the posts about the importance of being a REALTOR and a homeowner, the biggest key is the client. 

 A cancer doctor empathizes with the patient and the family, a REALTOR empathizes with the client.  How your communicate and educate and represent your client is what matters.  The bond you have with your client is just that a bond. You are the expert- can you know the ins and outs of a transaction solely by your education? Or is it more knowledge because you have personally gone through it?  Seems the biggest thing here would be you "feel" the experience because you have been there before as opposed to being experienced in it by prior transactions.  What does that mean to the client?  The difference in saying to a client 'I did that when I bought my home'  as opposed to explaining 'this is what happens'.  Is that more for your benefit, or the clients?

Food for thought here, not saying I agree or disagree that a licensee should have purchased a home before or that it impacts the transaction- just pointing out that a good agent is a good agent because of the bond and representation they provide to a client.

Perceptions is 99% of the rule, how does the cleient perceive an agent?  What do they expect? Does it just solidify the relationship when an agent can say ' I know how you feel I've been there  before'? 

I believe our profession is one of great pride, and it's hard when you hear those horror stories of transactions gone crazy.  For those agents who believe in what they do and take it seriously, we need to express that to clients.  For agents who are in this business for the wrong reasons, or do not take it seriously..............well, stop and think about how and what that means to consumers. It's about the consumer. 

Jan 01, 2007 01:21 PM #43
Rainmaker
310,826
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate
John - you're absolutely right - the same goes for mortgage brokers as for REALTORS.  Thanks for highlighting that point.
Jan 01, 2007 03:04 PM #44
Rainmaker
310,826
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate

Sandy - thanks for your comments.  They caused me to think - enough that I had to read your words a couple of times. But, I must disagree with you that "Perception is 99% of the rule..."  A client may perceive their listing agent was great, but what if that agent actually left thousands of dollars on the table?  Did that agent represent their client well?  I don't think so.

You question whether an agent being a homeowner benefits the client or the agent.  Well, think of this - what sounds better?  "Well, I was taught in my 60 hours of pre-licensing training that your mortgage interest paid is tax deductible"  or "When I file my taxes, all my mortgage interest that I pay each year is a tax deduction.  You need to maintain a copy of your closing statement to give to your tax preparer so you won't miss out on this great tax savings.  Or, better yet, speak to your tax preparer now to find out exactly what tax benefits you may obtain."  Neither one benefits me at all.  But the latter statement definitely benefits my clients. 

Jan 01, 2007 03:20 PM #45
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Rainmaker
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Don Fabrizio-Garcia

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