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REALTORS by Choice – Trainers by Circumstance

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tired realtors
It is getting so old! to think of the many times we have to hold other agents’ hands through a real estate transaction just because we want to do the best for our clients who need deals to work out.   We totally understand that the real estate market is tougher than it has ever been and we expect deals to be more difficult, but how many agents are out there that are clueless about their job?

Yes, this is a rant – it’s about education and industry requirements that don’t mean much.  Maybe it should be left to each broker to hold a certain standard – how about a mentorship or a shadowing program?

We just placed an offer for a property in Miami (we represent the buyer), where the listing agent does not even speak English!  She gave us the client’s bottom number, she had never even heard of seller’s disclosures and now wants us to explain the process to her client.  (SIGH)

So what is the solution here?

Reporting these people to the board has not helped in the past – the particular agent from the above transaction is super nice and has good intentions, but there are several facts-

  • she does not deserve to make her full commission when we are doing our job and hers
  • she is doing her client a disservice and violating fiduciary information
  • she is making our industry look even worse than it already does

It almost sounds like a broken record – EDUCATION, EDUCATION, EDUCATION!! I may talk down to big companies like Coldwell Banker at times because of their non-flexible policies and lack of vision but I can honestly say that at least they do their part in making their agents go through a thorough hands-on training before they let them hit the streets.  They also have managers waiting to answer questions and check on transactions and their agents regularly.   So if education would be  followed by a system of checks and balances where someone (broker) is responsible for overseeing these agents when they first start practicing – the problem would be reduced by a landslide.

….that’s my humble opinion of course – rant finished…..training continues.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.

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24 Comments

24 Comments

  1. Ken Brand

    July 13, 2009 at 7:21 pm

    I feel your pain and I’m mystified. Yes, it’s an industry problem.

    On some level it’s a people problem. I’m not talking about the situation where someone fools the consumer, promises a bouquet of roses and performs like poison ivy. What mystifies me is that people will entrust their real estate transaction with someone so obviously clueless.

    In the mean time, great agents will do what’s required to make positive outcomes happen for their clients.

    Hmmmmm….

  2. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 13, 2009 at 10:41 pm

    Ken – I think people entrust others with their real estate transaction because they don’t know better and they don’t take the time to figure out how much knowledge and/or experience those agents have. Also, many think that there’s not much to a real estate transaction and with so many people involved, how can it go wrong – so we end up doing someone else’s job (again….SIGH)

  3. Susie Blackmon

    July 14, 2009 at 4:26 am

    As someone with a real estate paralegal background, years of work with developers, etc., but fairly new, relatively speaking, to ‘this side of the RE table’ – – I can tell you that I have been disgusted by the total lack of concern by big brokerages for the client. They don’t [did not] care about the client … devoted totally to churning the numbers. The best thing about the meltdown is that MAYBE this will change. The rampant tolerance of stupidity in our industry is part of the reason it is hard for us to be respected. Times they are a’changing! I really do not think that the younger generation will tolerate the ineptitude to the degree it has been tolerated in the past. Hooray.

  4. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 14, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Susie – your comment is interesting because having been in the big brokerage it did seem that at the end, they were more concerned with numbers than anything else. I respect the additional training though and think it’s necessary, but cannot turn their back after that is completed. What is the answer to the mess?

  5. Louise Scoggins

    July 14, 2009 at 11:53 am

    Ines, I feel your pain girl! We have all been there, done that. And it is so frustrating. What I don’t understand, though, is how people just think they can fly by the seat of their pants through a legal and binding agreement that involves lots of money! Yikes! And you’re right, we all go above and beyond to make sure that OUR client is taken care of.

    I agree that education is the key for new agents. And accountability. Both of which a new agent should want, right? I mean, dont they want to succeed? I know I did first-year agent training and post-license training when I first got in the biz. Why wouldn’t you want to learn about a career that you’ve chosen to enter? I truly believe, though, that new agents these days are going to HAVE to step up to the plate and educate themselves, otherwise they will be railroaded by smarter agents.

    Does the other agent have a broker you can contact to get involved? She has to hang her license with someone, right??

    Good luck, hopefully it all works out…

  6. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 14, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Louise – I think you would agree that even with all the new agent training out there, there’s nothing like hands on experience. That’s why I think a shadow program of some sort would be crucial. Don’t know how many agents would be willing to teach new agents so they can then walk away and compete with them though – never has been an easy answer.
    The other broker doesn’t care, it’s a small no name firm with 100% splits and only a transaction fee…..maybe THAT’s part of the problem

  7. Louise Scoggins

    July 14, 2009 at 12:10 pm

    You’re right, I learned everything I know from being a Buyer’s Agent on a successful team. I was mentored and able to shadow, and had people to turn to when I needed help. It really molded me into the agent I am today.

    I think the problem does lie within her agency…a place like that doesn’t do you any good unless you are an experienced, well established agent. Does your office offer some sort of new agent training or buddy system? Maybe you could recruit her over…

  8. Mike Galdi

    July 14, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    No company communication, every one is on their own now and the ones who have been in the business years have been dealing with the agents that come and go and most who do not further their education beyond the license. Everyone is to busy not being busy IMO

  9. Ruthmarie Hicks

    July 14, 2009 at 1:37 pm

    I can only speak to our local market – but it seems there are plenty of rodents running around.

    Problem 1: – Large Brokerages that claim they “back up” their new agents and do NOTHING. Plenty of that going around – and why not? Most agents come with a small SOI where they can grab a deal or two each and offer the brokerage a big fat split. Multiply by 30 agents a year and the brokerage makes some serious coin before the agent crashes and burns. Wash, rinse, repeat – and you’ve got a money machine.

    Brokerages that depend on a pyramid scheme where new agents offer fat splits for brokers in order to support the top producers are part of the problem. The model STINKS in terms of customer service.

    My current brokerage offers very comprehensive training. But I wasn’t there when I was new. When I first started I got some help from individual agents – but as far as office policy was concerned – I was pretty much on my own. Fortunately, I was smart enough to know that I didn’t know enough – and went to those who did for help. If I hadn’t been so aware of how precarious my knowledge base was – I would have been a danger to any client who had the misfortune to call me.

    Problem 2:
    Low barriers to entry for a license. Problem No. 1 would be partially mitigated by addressing problem No.2.

    Problem 3:
    Please stop saying the “good” and the “strong” survive. A lot of very dishonest agents do better than honest ones. We have both an education deficiency coupled with a rather large number of agents with rather flexible ethics. There are many within the ranks of the ethically challenged that exacerbate the situation. They can take advantage of the inexperienced agent and harm their client. Also, some of these people have been around for years and think they “know it all.” Guess what? They don’t.

  10. Brandie Young

    July 14, 2009 at 6:39 pm

    Ines – If it makes you feel better, it’s not just real estate. It happens in my line of work as well … ugh

  11. tomferry

    July 14, 2009 at 9:14 pm

    Ines,

    Just had a great conversation with @JimMarks who sung your praises …

    Wow, I hear your pain LOL. I hear 2-3 comments like this every week from many of my clients. The challenge is it has been simply too easy and too lucrative to get into real estate in the last decade. Call me crazy, but I am still hoping for a flush in the Indusrty so the people who are in it to win it can rise above.

    TF

  12. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 14, 2009 at 10:48 pm

    Louise – glad to hear from someone that has experienced a mentoring/shadowing program. I really don’t have the energy or the will to take someone under my wing. But you better believe that if I met someone with enough desire, I would go out of my way to help them.

    Mike – and you can add low goals to that list – if you have nothing to strive for, how can you ever get better?

    Ruthmarie – you are right, some large brokerages play a numbers game and ultimately don’t care about the agent or the client – they’re just there to make a buck and pay their overhead.
    Here’s a question for you – what’s so wrong about knowing better and actually asking for help? that’s what makes you better than the common agent, the fact that you wanted to improve and knew others would suffer the consequence. If more agents took that stance, I probably wouldn’t have to write this post. Totally agree with Problem 3 (been there, done that and know a couple in my direct market).

    Brandie – please say it isn’t so! 😉

    Hey Tom – Jim is da’bomb and glad he’s saying good things about me and I can definitely reciprocate 🙂 I don’t know about the flush in the industry though – tons of agents have had to quit, but there are still many out there (SIGH)

  13. Joe Loomer

    July 15, 2009 at 8:24 am

    Ines,

    I cut my teeth at a small local brokerage – albeit a national franchise, then joined a Keller Williams firm. Night and day.

    The focus is on positive, engaged, training. We have a comprehensive mentorship program and discuss real-life issues with contracts (in a non-atributional fashion) at training sessions and weekly team meetings. We train, train, train, and then train some more. Our Associated Leadership Council members – myself included – are available almost 24-7 to guide newer agents through contract negotiations (especially those done with those long-in-the-tooth know-it-all local firms with questionable ethics). We take our Fiduciary Duty as a sacred vow, and our Operating Principal – who owns over 40 KW offices – holds us accountable to ourselves.

    I’ll get off my soap box here, but I stated the above to let you know that I believe that there may be the real estate edict of “underneath all is the land” – but “above all is the client.”

    Since every agent is worth pretty much exactly the same amount to the broker and OP due to the unique business model of KW, this obviates the need to cater to the top producers, and the gains in income end up motivating the leaders of the market center to devote what would normally be perceived as an inordinate amount of time to mentoring and teaching. We focus on getting to the closing table – even if it involves taking on the added responsibilities you mention due to the other side of the transaction’s intransigence or flat out stupidity.

    Yes, I’m obviously “drinking the kool aid,” but I see our model – and others like it – as the future of real estate and the vessel through which the layman’s opinion of the average agent will gradually increase from it’s current “about a mole hair above used car dealers” to “they rock and roll.”

    No, you can’t fix stupid, but you can sure train it sometimes.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  14. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 15, 2009 at 9:46 am

    Joe,
    It’s all about the individual culture of the office, whether KW or not. I did a bit of squirming when I read your comment because Rick and I started at a KW office and none of what you describe or the business model we read so much about was evident there. The atmosphere was thick with uncomfortable competition and the trainings offered were always very superficial and dissenting.

    I’ve talked to many KW agents across the nation and some offices are amazing, and others not so much. Even offices in close proximity may not have the business culture one is looking for. So please drink the kool aid, but realize it may not be so easily accessible as you think and watered down quite a bit in many places.

  15. Joe Loomer

    July 15, 2009 at 10:01 am

    Ines,

    Completely agree – our own office was mired in the situation you describe until the new OP bought out the old guard and changed the culture to the true model Gary Keller and Mo Anderson envision. I don’t know when you and Rick where with a KW firm, but perhaps they’ve changed with the times too.

    This all happened before my wife and I switched to KW, so our experience has been positive. I met several agents at Family Reunion who spoke of similar experiences to your own, but for the most part the culture transcended borders. DANG IT – I am not the PR guy for KW – I’ll shut up about that.

    Your post was about the stupid, the dishonest, the untrainable, and the other agents who have no business in this business. I’ve met them too, and abhor the phone calls when they come to show my listings or God forbid – bring me a contract I then have to fix for them. I’ve taken to just making the corrections, and returning the contract to the other agent with my client’s appropriate concerns, initials, and signatures. It’s then their job to have to go back to their own clients and explain how they did not include the proper forms, exhibits, or other sundry items required to consumate the transaction. I’ve found that over time the majority of these agents actually fix themselves when required to do so.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  16. Louise Scoggins

    July 15, 2009 at 10:02 am

    Ines, I think you stated the real problem in your second to last post. I also touched on it in my first post The problem is, why does this agent NOT want to learn what this business is all about? Why wouldn’t she want to be somewhere that offers her SOME sort of training? Bless her heart, she is reaching out to you, but you are not her broker and in no way responsible for making her a better agent. Where is the motivation here? Doesn’t she feel like a fish out of water? I would be mortified if I was so blindly guiding my clients through something…where’s the fiduciary duty? Isn’t she afraid of a lawsuit?? There’s so many questions here but no real answer. You can lead a horse to water…

  17. Joe Loomer

    July 15, 2009 at 10:04 am

    Also meant to add that I recommended to Gwen Banta that she write her next hilarious post about examples of actual agent-to-agent exchanges – the things the agents you describe actually have the stupidity or gall to mutter to the agent on the other side of their transactions. Hope she does it – it’ll make us all pee our pants!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  18. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    July 15, 2009 at 12:53 pm

    Without a doubt will be a laughable post 😀 there are soooo many stories

  19. Missy Caulk

    July 17, 2009 at 9:26 am

    Part of our Code is to not practice in an area you are not familiar with. In saying that we come across it all the time in dealing with agents who don’t have a clue how to do a short sale, so we coach them through it. Hope they are following the process.

    We should not be doing this, their broker should not let them list a short sale if they don’t know how to get er done.

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