Monday, April 23, 2012

The Truth About Realtors

Everybody knows at least one.  Whether it's your uncle's college roommate, your boss' daughter, or a sketchy, second cousin, everybody knows somebody in the real estate business.  Realtors are hard to miss, simply because we're always in the business of reminding the public that we're in the business.  We want to be "top of mind" whenever you or someone you know is thinking of buying or selling a home.  It's as simple as that.  Some Realtors can really go over the top with self promotion, beating it into your head, and others let their success, accomplishments and involvement in the community do the talking for them.  There are a lot of misconceptions about Realtors as well.  The public tends to generalize Realtors as super perky, money-hungry, "salesy" folks.  I'm here to shed some light on the subject.  I aim to show you the truth about Realtors and help you understand how life as a Realtor is much different than you might have thought.

All Realtors are NOT created equally...
Just like the rest of society, Realtors come in all sorts of shapes and sizes.  There are benefits and disadvantages to each type of realtor you work with, it's up to you to find a good fit.  Below are some of the differences you'll find:
  • Personable vs. Introverts:  Contrary to popular belief there are several introverted Realtors out there who do just as much business as the personable folks.  "People-persons" are experts in feeling out a client and truly understanding their needs, but when it comes to detail work and back end expertise, some fall short.  More reserved realtors may lack some people skills but more than make up for that in being dilgent in the details while managing your entire transaction. 
  • Commercial vs. Residential:  Predominately, there are two types of properties out there:  commercial and residential.  Some realtors can do a little bit of both, but that doesn't mean they are an expert in both. 
We love talking real estate...
Let's face it, our business is knowing our market and knowing our inventory.  Just like any other business, our product and our customers are consistently changing.  Trends develop, markets shift, demand wanes, economies develop...your Realtor will be monitoring these changes and interpreting data consistently so that you can be up to date.  We don't hoard opinions, we love to get them out to you.  When you leave the office, the last thing you'll want to do is talk shop, but realtors love it!  If you're at a party, at church, or maybe even a sporting event, if you know a realtor, ask them how the market is doing.  A true professional will be on top of their numbers and could give you great advice without blinking.

Not all Realtors are wealthy...
Not all Realtors are wealthy because not all Realtors are successful.  In most markets, Realtors are paid on a commission basis, which means, their income is largely based on their ambition, aptitude and sphere of influence.  The average income for a Realtor nationally is about $37,000 per year.  Subtract expenses, and Realtors may just be getting by.  Another thing to keep in mind is Realtors rarely get any medical, dental, or vision benefits, nor retirement plan options.  So when you see those folks on "Selling New York" with their $350,000 commissions, keep in mind this is not the norm.

How and why they're in business...
Each Realtor has a different motivation for being in the business.  Some saw a huge opportunity to leverage their skills in particular market or situation, while others are casual weekenders.  That being said, not all Realtors are full-time realtors.  Some carry a license just for a few extra bucks here and there.  Not all realtors got in to the business to help people either.  There are a handful of folks out there who might have seen a hot market and hopped in to make as much money as possible.  They get out when times get tough and hop right back in if things begin to heat up again.  There are highly educated, trained and qualified Realtors, and there are those without a high school diploma who backed in to real estate because they had few other options.  Some just love being in the business because they are in control of their time and their income, and that affords them opportunities typical 9-5 workers couldn't take advantage of.  Rest assured, the majority of Realtors are in business for the right reasons and have your best interests in mind.  They have a passion for what they do and they have the experience to get the job done right.  They are the true real estate professionals.

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