Answering Some Important Questions by Mike Pallin
Will there always be a need for real estate agents? Will consumers always be willing to pay full commission for the services of a real estate professional? Just what makes a real estate professional indispensable?
These are timely questions to be asking right now. Why?
Real estate has had a good, long run in the free enterprise system, but nothing lasts. Just ask a former travel agent. Or the former owner of a record store or bookstore.
AND ALSO BECAUSE…
Real estate is one of the few (if not the only) professional, regulated service industries where fees are negotiable. We don’t bargain with our dentist or accountant or massage therapist over fees. But consumers have always known that real estate fees are flexible, and negotiable.
For the do-it-yourselfer, it’s possible to clean your own teeth, do your own taxes or put liniment on sore muscles. And it’s possible to sell a house by owner, or buy a house without using an agent. Certainly the internet has changed the availability of information that used to be the exclusive province of real estate professionals. Everything from Legalzoom.com to Zillow makes it easier every day for consumers to think they can put together a real estate deal by themselves.
For those who wonder whether or not there is a future for real estate professionals, the encouraging news is that the percentage of Realtor-assisted transactions rose dramatically last year, mostly because the percentage of people selling by owner fell dramatically.
But the question remains. What does the future hold for real estate professionals? Do we still have a career opportunity?
I believe this is a chapter that is being written as we speak, and the real question is, who is doing the writing?
THE QUICK ANSWER…
The quick answer is that there might not always be a need for real estate agents, but I do believe there will always be a need for salespeople who can sell real estate.
I don’t believe there is a long-term, full commission future for real estate hobbyists; or part-time agents; or those who are under-educated and not current in their skills.
More than ever, consumers demand complete, up-to-date, honest and transparent information. Consumers demand professional, timely communication skills and tools. Consumers demand more than just data, they want to know what the data means. They demand zealous advocacy and clear advice. And they want a peaceful, positive experience.
Putting a real estate deal together has never been more complex, but getting it to closing has become REALLY problematic. So a key to viability and value is the ability of a real estate professional to not just orchestrate the transaction, but to solve problems without involving the consumer in the drama.
THE HIGHEST ROAD WITH THE LONGEST VIEW
By creating a positive, memorable buying or selling experience for the consumer, the real estate professional takes the value of their services beyond being just a commodity, and enters the territory of building community.
But in addition to mastering the mechanics of getting a transaction to closing, the future real estate professional must become the master of building trust relationships.
When the consumer knows for sure that we are not just “one and done,” but we intend to be part of their life, a trusted advisor, a personal resource, a protector of their rights, a dependable friend – that’s when “we” (the real estate professionals) will have lasting value, and a viable business forever.
And how to go about transforming ourselves and our services in this way? Floyd Wickman says it best in his Core Values: “To always make my client’s #1 goal, my #1 goal. To always be willing to work toward a common good. And to always do what I say I will do, sometimes more, just never less.”