Real estate and the way people buy and sell homes has been going through a dramatic change of tidal wave proportions. For several years now, even before the real estate and national economy fell from its perch, this has been true. Consumers have been voting with their checkbooks, and consumers have been voting based on how and who they retain as their Realtor, if they use one.
The change has taken many traditional real estate brokers off guard, although it has been a slow and consistent change, and has been obvious to some of us for several years. I’m reminded of a phrase we used as children, “Ready or not here I come.” Like playing hide ‘n’ go seek, consumers have been saying to the real estate profession, “Ready or not, this is what I want and how I want it.”
Here’s what my clients and prospective clients tell me they want, and I think this is a national trend:
I want the convenience of being able to search for homes using an online MLS search.
I don’t want to be harassed by an aggressive and obnoxious agent.
I want to be able to use the Internet to further my research, and I am not willing to pay a fee to use the Internet to do my MLS searches and my research.
I get turned off when I am forced to register to search the MLS.
I truly do not care about a brick and mortar building or a plush conference room at a Realtor’s office, because I am interested in finding my home, and I don’t see that as essential to helping me find my home.
When I look for a Realtor, I do not fixate on a franchise name. I don’t even think of saying to my spouse, “Honey, let’s hire a franchise to help us find our next home.” I’m hiring one agent, not a corporation and not a building. It always boils down to one agent helping me.
Like over 80% of other home buyers, I start my search on the Internet.
When I do need or want a Realtor, I am thinking about finding a Realtor who is actually knowledgeable, experienced, and professional. Not to sound harsh, but this is a huge investment for me, and I want to get it right, so I’m not interested in hiring a man who previously was a janitor for a school district and was recently licensed, or a female agent who got her real estate license recently after being a housewife for 20 years. Nothing wrong with being a housewife, but I need a professional, not a housewife, to help me find and negotiate the best deal on my home. So I will want to know what my agent has been doing all these years. I feel I’m entitled to know before I retain him or her.
I don’t expect my Realtor to wear a $2,000 pin-stripped suit, but I’m not going to hire someone who is unkempt, wears shabby clothes, and doesn’t give me warm fuzzies with his or her demeanor. Appearance is an indication of professionalism to me.
The Realtor I hire must be competent and trustworthy. I expect that he or she will be able to answer every question I have, including every aspect of a real estate transaction. If I know more than my Realtor, I have the wrong Realtor.
I expect and demand total loyalty and honesty from my Realtor. I am not willing to do what 95% of all consumers have done in the past: ASSUME that the first Realtor they talk to on the phone is “the one.” I will do some due diligence and interview a Realtor, and maybe more than one Realtor. The truth is, I want to find the best Realtor out there who can do the best possible job for me.
Consumers are taking control, and they should. I applaud this kind of thinking, and I hope and expect that anyone who is considering retaining me as their Realtor would also do this kind of due diligence. Any prospective client can learn more about me on the Internet (at no cost and with no required registration and no obligation) than any other agent or broker in all of Sequim or Port Angeles. I give away more information on real estate (after almost 30 years in real estate, 20 as a real estate attorney) than any other agent I know of anywhere. Why? I believe people deserve information and honesty. And if I can help to improve the quality of someone’s life by freely sharing what I have learned and experienced, I think it will eventually come back to me in clients, friends, and even commissions.
As a close to this argument, here is a 2002 video of a traditional brokerage approach, which is definitely so outdated, one would think it was made by cavemen back when dinosaurs still roamed the earth.
Chuck grew up in remote Alaska, graduated from the University of Alaska with a degree in Economics and Teacher Certification, and after teaching high school for two years, went to law school at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. He served four years as a Captain and JAG in the USAF at Nellis AFB in Las Vegas. After practicing real estate law for 20 years in Washington, Chuck founded iRealty Virtual Brokers covering Sequim and the beautiful Olympic Peninsula. He is the author of 2,200 real estate articles and a dozen real estate books, and he produced over 100 real estate videos. Chuck combined his love for real estate and technology to create a massive Internet presence, and his articles and videos and books have been viewed by millions. Chuck is a well recognized real estate expert and his counsel is sought by other brokers and practicing attorneys around the country. Buyers from New York to Hawaii and from Florida to Alaska seek him out to retain him as their buyer's agent, and home owners around the State of Washington seek him out because of his new Flat Fee Listing Service.
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