What we have here is failure to communicate.
For the most part, I have come to enjoy reading real estate blogs since coming to work for the Virginia Association of REALTORS. However, it’s a de-motivating pain in the arse reading the RE.net sometimes. Every few days or weeks it seems someone’s hating on the REALTOR associations again. One complains that the dues are too high. Another complains that the dues are too low. One complains that the code of ethics is worthless. Another complains that too many REALTORS are ethically challenged. Et cetera.
Over the years, I’ve worked for four different trade associations and individual membership organizations serving four very different segments of the economy. In every case, the staff and leadership have always had the best interests of their membership in mind. The same is true in REALTOR associations. For the most part, REALTOR association staff are hardworking, committed employees, doing hidden (yet necessary) jobs in hidden offices on behalf of REALTORS at lower salaries than are offered the corporate sector, on average.
As I read them, some in the RE.net seem to believe that REALTOR associations are just here to siphon away agents’ hard-earned money and flush it down the drain on glitzy PR campaigns. And if that’s what they believe, we’ve obviously not done a very good job communicating the value we provide.
That is a communications problem. But ironically, it’s same one you REALTORS have. Consumers have little appreciation for the value of the behind-the-scenes work you do for them. They never see the dozens of phone calls you make to inspectors, appraisers, attorneys, lenders, and so on. They are oblivious to the complications you face navigating MLS rules, the hours you invested in learning about neighborhoods and the way you’ve trained your mind to help sellers arrive at the ideal listing price. They don’t appreciate the time you’ve spent nurturing a strong rapport with agents in your area to ensure that minor issues between buyers and sellers don’t turn into deal-breaking disasters. If you don’t explain that you’ve done all of this, can you blame them for wondering what that six percent is for? (Someone in the RE.net recently posted about this — keeping a tally of hours you spend on a deal and giving that report to the client at closing. Would love to link to you. Please comment.)
But there’s no time to explain all this. I agree. And even if there was, it’s not in your client’s best interest to tell them all of it, and they certainly don’t want to waste their time listening to you talk about it. They just want the deal to be done with a minimum of time and effort.
Next time you’re tempted to flame your REALTOR association, whether at the national, local or state level, think about the client who questioned your commission on the basis that he didn’t believe the amount or quality of work you did justified it. Just as in your line of business, there is a ton of valuable work going on behind the scenes.