REALTOR® Reputation

By
Real Estate Agent with The Realty Matrix

REALTOR logoBack in my Master's program days, there was a class on "hidden" messages that made a huge impact on me.  I hadn't thought about the messages behind the illustrations on billboards, posters, TV ads, etc.  I just subliminally accepted the messages without question.  As the layers of impact these pictures made on we humans was peeled away, a whole new world of "impressions" opened up for me.

In like manner, the written word often has an impact the writer doesn't necessarily intend.  In my own struggle to find what separates me from other agents (precipitated by my broker who wanted me to clarify for advertising purposes), I wrote several posts here on Active Rain about tooting my own horn.  It was never my intention to put any other agents down or to denigrate their professionalism.  That message was heard by some on the Rain, however, and it became clear to me that by trying to toot my horn, it was taken that I was better than others.  Part of the reason this "tooting" has become so hard for me is that I truly believe most agents are very professional and conduct themselves accordingly.

I've wondered many times why it is that REALTORS® have gotten such a bad rap.  My quest has been to find out why.  Surely the 5% of us who are not competent, cannot make that awful an impression on the general public.  I questioned whether it was misunderstanding as to how we are paid.  Does the public think we get the full commission or do they understand the published commission is usually split four ways?  Is there a measure of jealousy over the fancy cars and clothes?  Is there an assumption that we don't work hard?  What is the key?

My eyes and ears have been open looking for keys to the bad REALTOR® reputation.  More than once I've noticed the not so subtle comments about agents being in the business ONLY for their commission and NOT being interested in the client's best interest.  This morning's edition of Inman News is a perfect example.  The reporter, Marcie Geffner, in discussing poor appraisals made this statement:  "Realtors are culpable as well since they can become complicit in these scams either actively through added pressure on the lender or appraiser or passively through the guise of feigned ignorance that the appraisal is fictional. This complicity isn't surprising since the Realtor's motivation is not to protect the borrower or investor, but rather to ensure the sale, which results in compensation to the Realtor."  

How can we have anything but a poor reputation when the media consistently portrays us as only out for OUR best interests and our commissions.  They seldom talk about the clients we talk out of buying a home because it costs too much.  They seldom talk about our performance of fiduciary duties positively.  Even worse, we do it ourselves.  People hear the negative frustration that we express but don't remember when we say, "That REALTOR® is a good agent (because they wouldn't share info about their client that our client wanted to know) because they are doing their job of keeping THEIR client's confidentiality!  Changing our profession's reputation is a true dilemma that would take an act of God to change.

So what can we do?  Do I call Marcie Geffner on her negative portrayal of the whole profession?  Do we become adversarial?  I think not.  For me, the best action is to be the best agent I can be and impact the little circle where I live and work.  It's like the changing of every other stereotype.  We have to start in our little circle and take a positive stand there and hope the pebble we drop in the pond makes waves beyond its entry point. 

My apologies for the Inman link.  Since I am not a subscriber, it will deactivate once the next edition is published.  Read it quick while you can! 

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Rainer
132,221
Boomer Jack Boardman & Carl McIntyre, the Codgers
Noted Curmudgeons
Bonnie:

It seems that with all direct sales (auto, siding, real estate, insurance, among many) commission occupations the few ethically challenged practitioners give their professions a huge black eye, far in excess of their actual number.

Jay & Medford

March 06, 2007 03:01 AM
Rainer
111,189
Carole Cohen
Realtor, ePRO
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office
I've never been able to put my finger on it for sure, but somehow it seems to be tied into the fact that this is the biggest investment people normally make in their lives...buying a home. Bonnie, you have always been good about detailing all the little and big steps you take to get deals to close. I'm not so sure all of  us do that. In fact, there is some thought that not letting the clients know keeps their stress level down and on us. Or, is it still true that 80 percent of the work is done by 20 percent of the people? In which case there is too much fodder for the negativity? Whatever it is, I agree with you, I don't like it!
March 06, 2007 06:40 AM
Rainer
21,351
Irene Potter
Creating moving experiences in real estate
John L. Scott
Let's take this back a step. Who hasn't heard the phrase, "If it bleeds, it leads" a common axiom that is applied to tv journalism? Much of journalism is focused on the sensational. Is it any wonder that what's sensational is also negative?
March 06, 2007 03:41 PM
Anonymous #13
Anonymous
Dan Weis

I agree with you Bonnie.

We need to do the best we can as Realtors, but also continue to educate the public as much as possible.  With the birth of blogs everywhere and now USAToday Online allowing individuals to have a blog, it's all the better for us as real estate professionals to counter the negativity of the media.

Spread the word!

 

 

March 06, 2007 04:56 PM
Rainmaker
458,353
Alexander Harb
Dallas, Texas Real Estate Investing
Knights Investing

 Bonnie....

Greed, materialism, love of money and the power of politics within it all and a couple of others things are what drive the majority of agents in this business....some agents just think the whole thing as well as life is just one BIG GAME and they are out to "Win it all"....

There are a "handful" of agents out there who are genuinely there for the clients best interest...are NOT out just to make as much money as possible.... and genuinely think of others 1st before themselves.....

Some of them are even in this network.

THOSE agents are the ones I stay close to.......    =-)

March 07, 2007 02:33 PM
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Rainer
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Bonnie Erickson

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