Every morning, when my wife and I wake up, there is some type of connection. Either holding hands, snuggled together, etc. It’s not always been that way, we’ve faced a failing marriage together and come through on the other side. However, that effort has taken close to ten years and many fires to walk through. We realized that we were in this marriage together and that it was us against the world and not against one another.
I use that illustration to lead into my rhetoric for this post. I want to liken being a real estate practitioner (whether REALTOR or not) to a marriage. I have struggled with the “blog-sphere” for almost a year now, because in many cases it’s simply being used to attack everything and everyone. There are more than enough anti-Realtor blogs out there and strangely enough, they aren’t just from consumers.
Real estate practitioners need to take a hard and long look at who they are attacking. If we continue to spend such significant effort and energy attacking one another or the National Association of REALTORS, then what energy are we left with to build or re-build the industry? I am not, at all, talking about knuckle-headed stuff, like how to pronounce Real-a-tor or if it has to be all capitalized, or have the copyright. I used to care about that stuff. But we have some real honest-to-goodness things we need to fix in the battlefront, before we can attack the Empire.
Each time I read an anti-REALTOR Spokesperson Blog, I cringe. I rarely remember the author, but I always remember the negativity of the post. If we can’t stop the infighting, than how are we going to work on the publics perception? The public’s perception of your professionalism is where you make your money. Many of these post illustrate rants (many ill prepared) but rarely a valid solution. Don’t complain if you can’t make it better or aren’t willing to roll up your sleeves and try.
I see it everyday in the newspaper ads and online: “I’m a multi-million dollar producer” – and then we get ticked when the consumer thinks REALTORS make too much money. “If you want an honest agent – call me” – as if to say, everyone else that works in real estate is out to screw you. I’m the only one who can save the industry! “That so-and-so from NAR has screwed it up again” as if to say that the consumer makes the distinction between you the citizen, and the empire.
On a more “battlefield” mentality, how often have you called the listing agent with a home inspection addendum, only to find them defensive and slightly abusive? GET OVER YOURSELF. The purpose of negotiations should not be to “slaughter” the other agent. The purpose of negotiations is to find a peaceful and professional point of agreement to get to settlement. Isn’t that what the consumer hired you for – to buy or sell property? Too often, agents want that badge of honor to gain respect from their client “I really had to go to the mat with that so-and-so agent to get this for you.” Here’s a hint – they don’t care and often the battle you choose would not have been the battle they would have chosen.
Our clients want us to be professional and professionalism is not attacking, it’s getting results in a respectable manner. The opposing agent should be your best friend in a transaction. You will probably have to work with them in the future and we’re judged on our village, not the lone warrior out to battle the masses – most of the time it makes you the martyr or a fool. Strangely enough historians make that distinction, and not the martyr/fool.
I firmly believe that the real change in our industry and the Association will only occur if it starts with you and me and not “them.” Focus on good customer-centric practices and involvement in the machine and you will see positive results and change over time. To me, it’s simply lazy to write four paragraphs about it on a free blog and then not take any substantial effort to change it. I fully agree that change is desperately needed, I just don’t agree it’s someone else’s job.