This March, I am celebrating 20 years of being a real estate agent. I have learned a lot in this business about real estate, finance, and more importantly, about people. One thing that is clear; real estate agents are a different type of animal. For the most part, I have met and been able to cooperate with many fine individuals in this industry who have also become my friends. However, with the perception that TV shows portray, and the thinking that this career path is easy & lucrative to anyone who can get their license, there are a few agents that I have come across that just seem to give the rest of us a bad name. Here are a few examples of what I am referring to.
The Glamour Shot! – First of all…is real estate the ONLY profession that uses a photo on their business cards? Next time you head to the doctor, the accountant, the financial planner, the attorney, the hairdresser, or any other profession that partakes in business cards, check for a photo. I’m pretty sure that if the dentist handed you a business card with a photo of them on it, you would run around laughing in hysterics. So why does every real estate agent have their photo plastered everywhere? Branding; they want you to associate their picture with real estate so that that photo pops in your head when you hear someone talking about real estate or asking if you know of anyone in real estate. I get it, but it is still cheesy. I used to do it too, until my photo became 15 years old like everyone else’s. That’s another thing. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I met someone in person that looks absolutely nothing like their photo in their advertising! And my favorite, the actual glamour shot. Glamour shots consisted of a professional photographer getting you all “gussied up” with big hair, tons of makeup, soft lighting, and if you were lucky, maybe a boa or a hat. And they all had that signature move with the subject grabbing their shirt collar!?! Keep it classy sweetheart!
The Million Dollar Club – “Whoa, you made the Million Dollar Club? Impressive!” But is it? This marketing phrase is sometimes handed out by agencies to their agents
who have sold $1 million worth of real estate. I think they feel it sounds impressive to the general public, but let’s look at the numbers. In Montgomery County, the average sale price in 2013, as per my previous blog post, is $311,325. So if you were to sell 3-4 houses in a year, that would equal $1 million in sales, more or less. Well that’s not many is it! Not only that, but $1 million in sales is approximately $30,000 in gross commissions. Now if you are on a split with your broker, which accounts for majority of the agents out there, the broker will most likely take 30% or more of that gross commission. That leaves that million dollar agent with a whopping $21,000 in gross income before expenses. Not really deserving of an award now, do you think? So if you see an agent with this phrase on their business card, it is most likely going to be under their glamour shot photo and I suggest you run away!
The Social Media Hog – I think that real estate is one of the only professions that has a presence on absolutely every social media site. Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google Plus, Pinterest, Instagram, Foursquare, Vine, Flickr, everywhere! Yes, I am guilty too! But, it appears to me that Facebook is the one that seems to be taken advantage of most by real estate agents. Again, it is not everyone, but their are a few that are just horrible! Like the agent that posts nothing but their listings without anything personal ever being mentioned. And to top it off, the post of their listing takes you to a Trulia or Zillow page where 4 other agents show up next to it! Great marketing, genius! Or the agent that posts how awesome they are every day: “Just sold another one, two new buyers, writing contracts all night, yay me!”. I have a plastic surgeon friend of mine that has yet to post: “Two boob jobs and a tummy tuck consult, yay me!” And then there is the company cheerleading agent: “My company is so awesome that all the new agents are joining us!” Really? Thank you, I will now associate your company with a plethera of brand new agents to handle one of the most important transactions of my life. There is a place for all of this; it is called Facebook business pages. Now if you cannot get your friends to like your page, maybe they are just not interested in what you are putting out there! So, stop doing it on your personal page too!
For the most part, I am proud to be among professional people who treat real estate as a full time business, and I know that if I were not in the business, any one of those agents would have my best interest in mind when using their services. I will not name names, but there are plenty of agents out there that are just annoying! No wonder we have such a bad reputaion to the general public. I think we are right under car salesman in regards to respect from the public. But we are also the second oldest profession, so we do have that going for us!