After 18 years of service in the real estate industry, my friend Fred (his alias) agreed to sit down and share his thoughts about today’s business climate.
In fairness, he has been in a self-imposed sabbatical for the past six months and is now considering returning full-time as a Realtor. HOWEVER, rethinking experiences with recent clients has made him question whether or not he even wants to come back or try a new career.
What were your experiences?
I’m finding that today’s buyers and sellers are very high maintenance. They lie. They don’t listen to professional advice. The last listing I had, I had sold the house to the people 10 years ago. They were moving up north to their home state and nothing I did was right. They wanted to orchestrate and micromanage everything. Nothing the company or I did that was proven successful in the past was going to satisfy them.
I had to rewrite the remarks every day, change the pictures almost daily, they tried to dictate my hours and frequency of open houses (which don’t really work anymore anyway), they sent ugly emails to me, our staff, and my managing broker. Finally I told them they needed to find a new agent, which they did. I had it listed for maybe a month before I ran screaming from the building. They listed it five months with another agent. Currently it is still unsold and has been relisted for six days with yet another company. There are no photos online.
What else is going on with your real estate work?
I’ve had an offer to sit in a rural subdivision which has no model and no construction underway. There are just bare lots with no possible closings before spring if we’re lucky. I ran screaming from that building, too.
In fairness, it’s just attitude on my part. I’m not willing to deal with the headaches and the uncertainty in today’s market and with today’s high maintenance buyers and sellers.
You mention buyers – what’s going on with them?
I had people I worked with for well over a year. They kept trying to "steal" everything. In the high dollar price range, they’d make ridiculous offers. There was a foreclosure that they came in about $60,000 under. When we finally did get an accepted contract, they nitpicked the house to death and kept threatening me and the sellers to not close. Demanding things above and beyond the terms of the contract. We finally closed, but it was a nightmare.
The client’s attitude is kind of like going to the doctor and he diagnoses an inner ear infection, but they want a prescription for viagra because they know more than the doctor.
Yes, I will. But I’ll do it on my terms. I’ll just be very choosy about who I’ll take on as a client. I’ve done too much good in 18 years. I’m honest and I’m good at what I do. I don’t need the grief. We’re supposed to be professionals, so I won’t be treated poorly. I simply don’t need it.
Overall Fred is thankful that he has the ability to choose his career, his clients, and make his own destiny. My personal thoughts are that although real estate agents are often vilified, the vast majority are hard working, honest, and dedicated. That we have struggled in this economy alongside everyone else is often lost because it is assumed that in the boom times we were part of the problem. In my heart, helping people achieve their dreams of home ownership is not borne of greed and dollar signs. Rather it is one of the most fulfilling professions one can have to find that perfect home for a young couple with a fenced backyard for their children. To find a one-level house for a client who will likely be confined to a wheelchair within the next year or two. To meet the needs of a new college grad, someone moving from out-of-state, or helping someone through the terrible process of a foreclosure.
I am thankful that I have that ability to be there for people during these joyful and sad times.