And another thing…

Life is never dull, particularly if you engage and pay attention.  You see good and bad everywhere and you see things that make you go hmmmm….or make blood spurt out of your ears.

Like the other day:  I was having a conversation with a mortgage banker branch manager, who talked about how, sometimes, people don’t want him to earn a living.  Really?  Well he didn’t say it like THAT.  But I understood.  People want bankers and realtors to work for nothing.  They think we are cheating snakes out to drain their wallets.  That we need to pay our bills matters not, and that our time and training makes us valuable experts and worthy of an income…matters naught.  When you need an expert and don’t want to pay them for expertise…makes my head explode.

We have taken HUNDREDS of hours of classes…and paid for them…, we are licensed by the state, we are held to strict legal and ethical standards, and we stand between YOU and LAWSUITS, every…single…day.  What do you think it’s worth to be protected from lawsuits and guided through the minefield of home purchase or sale?  Well it’s not free.  You wouldn’t work for nothing and you should not expect your real estate agent to either.

I don’t know of an other profession where earning a living is so resented.  First of all real estate agents do not get 6% of your gross sale price. Please read that again.  THE AGENCY gets that, or whatever rate is negotiated, and the AGENT gets a little sliver of that amount. I’m working a really nice deal right now, quarter of a million dollar sale.  Know what I will make?  About ten bucks an hour.  You try to pay your bills on that kind of salary!  Oh and by the way? I worked JUST as hard on this transaction as I do on all the rest!  That’s what we do.

Please read this carefully.  IF YOU ARE A SELLER, YOU PAY BOTH COMMISSIONS; YOU PAY THE BUY SIDE AND YOU PAY THE LIST SIDE.  But when you BUY, YOU PAY NOTHING.  And again, you are NOT PAYING THE AGENT; you are paying the agency, who market your home, manage the transaction, coordinate the closing, manage the cash flow, keep things on track so nobody gets SUED.  These things are done by people who work very hard for YOU and who deserve to EARN A LIVING…just…like…you.  And then there’s the closing attorney who is never asked for a discount.  hmmmm….

So let’s go back to the ‘sliver’ of pay.  Now, if there is a REFERRAL fee, MY part of the deal gets cut.  If I give YOU a discount on your listing commission, MY fee gets cut.  In other words you are asking me to put my household budget at risk, while I am at your beck and call 24/7.  Do you work 24/7 at your job, and if you DID, what would you expect to get paid?  More than 1o bucks an hour, I am sure.  And…will you please put your household budget at risk for me?  Just this once?  No?  Well I’m shocked.  Please don’t ask me to do that for you.

Real estate agents have to pay HUNDREDS of dollars a year just to BE agents, and then we pay for marketing, gas, wear and tear on our cars, we wear out our tires and we’re out driving you around in ice and snow,  floods, rain and hail.  And if we are not driving YOU around we’re driving OURSELVES somewhere to deliver something for you or on your behalf!  Where did everyone get the idea that we just let you look at a house and then we go eat bonbons?  I get calls at 11 pm sometimes.  I rarely eat dinner without being called away for a text, phone call or email.  Sometimes I don’t even bother to sit down to eat and I’m so busy I can’t remember what I ate.  I don’t take vacations and if I DO get away at all, I work throughout.  24/7.  For you.  Do you work on your vacations?  I bet not. I even worked during my mother’s funeral days.  24.7.

I ROUTINELY have people who know the listing fee and then ask me to give them a discount.  Answer this: When you go to your job, does ANYBODY ask you to work for less pay today?  Just this once?  Just for me?  NO!  And if they did you might deck them.  But we get asked that question…every day!!  If you hire a divorce lawyer do you ask him to give you a discount?  No! Do you ask your pastor to work for nothing but be at your beck and call 24/7?  Nope.  Do you ask your surgeon to give you just a little break on his fee?  NO!  Do you ask the checkout person at the grocery store to work for less pay just for you? No!  So….why do you do that to us?

Here’s a good one.  Do you call a realtor to drive you around the world looking at houses, taking up our time, running out our gas, keeping us from actually making a living, and then go behind us and try to buy directly from the seller?  JUST TO SAVE A FEE THAT YOU DO NOT PAY ANYWAY?  Listen.  If you do that, the seller wins, not you.  Because, the seller does not have to tell you that the house has leaking polybutylene pipes in ALL OF THE WALLS.  The seller does not have to disclose that the cute addition was not permitted and has substandard wiring that could burn the house down around your ears.  The seller does not have to reveal that the septic system has collapsed and the cost to fix it is ten grand or more.  So you save …uh…NOTHING…but you end up buying tens of thousands of dollars worth of problems that you will have to repair before YOU can sell, or even before you can enjoy living in the house.  If you do that, you are screwed.  You have NO legal recourse, and you saved the SELLER thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars.  And that’s the person who just screwed you!  But you think you got one over on the real estate agent.  Well, the only one you hurt is that guy you see when you look in the mirror!  Which, by the way….is the realtors’ revenge.

And by the way, the only way you can get out from under that nightmare is to BE the dishonest seller who screwed you.  Then you screw another uninformed buyer who thinks he is getting one over on the real estate agent.  Do you want to be that guy?  Yeah, probably.  If you went that route initially you probably do.  And you would remove the head of anyone who tried to tell you that you don’t deserve to be paid for YOUR job.  Amazing.

The bottom line is that in these cases it is not the real estate agents who are greedy.  If you get my DRIFT. I don’t know anybody who works harder than realtors for less pay and less appreciation. Why do we do it?  For the ones who are wonderful people that we are incredibly glad we met and whom we were honored to serve.

And one more thing:  I helped a couple look for a townhouse when they wanted to downsize and sell their house.  There just wasn’t anything on the market in their price range that was as nice as what they had, so they decided not to sell.  I was relieved they made that decision because there just wasn’t anything on the market that would be right for them.  I had spent days with them and other hours on their behalf that they didn’t know about.  Know what they did?  They paid me for my time.  I was shocked and amazed.  And grateful, I might add, that fairness does still exist.

And I was reminded that there are good folks out there who don’t begrudge anyone who works hard, the right to earn a living.