A cautionary tale of credentials vs professionalism

My wife and I have had our house on the market for 6 months with very little traffic into the house and no offers.

With the real estate market and economy the way it is today, its very easy to blame ‘the market’ for the length of time on market.  Its very easy to shrug it off and say “it will just take time to sell.”

While its easy to blame ‘the market’…I do think part of the problem is the local market. We live in a neighborhood that is still building out.  We live in a town that has very high taxes compared to our neighbors (although the town is considered a very good place to live in the Dallas Metroplex).  We have a nice house on a corner lot with a good layout and quite a bit of room (over 3000 square feet of space).  We feel the price is right when compared to the other houses in the neighborhood, including the new houses being built.

But…

Is the price right for this market? Is the price right for us to actually be able to attract a buyer to our town and our neighborhood?  Do we have the features in our house to be able to demand that price?  We feel the answer is “yes” to all those questions…but…we still haven’t sold our house.  Or even had an offer.

So…what’s the problem?

Just because we think our home price is reasonable, doesn’t mean it is. Just because we want $X for our home, doesn’t mean its worth it….and a Realtor should tell us that.

That’s where a professional comes in.  Not just a realtor…but a professional.  A professional will tell us if we are wrong. A realtor can list a home…but a professional will sell a home.  There’s a difference between being a licensed Realtor and being a professional Realtor. In a market like we are in today, you can tell the professionals from the license holders.

Our listing expires at the end of December. We’ve decided that we are not going to renew the contract with our current realtor.  Why? Because I don’t see the value in what she’s provided to us.  This Realtor hasn’t gone out of their way to market our home. Anything that we’ve done (open houses, listing on the web, etc) has been done at our insistence and/or by us).

We’ll be listing with another realtor in January.  Will it help? Who knows. The market isn’t that great (see…there i go blaming the market again).

Before listing this time, I’m going to do my homework. I’m going to find a realtor that is a professional. I’m going to find someone that will tell me the truth rather than what i want to hear.  I’m going to find someone that will work their tail off to get people into the house and sell it.  They find a way to build a level of trust with their client.

There’s a huge difference in having a credential and being a professional. A realtor isn’t necessarily a professional because of the credential.  A project manager isn’t a professional just because they gained some experience and passed a test.   Sure…you can call yourself a realtor, project manager, doctor or airline pilot if you ‘pass the test’ but you won’t be successful unless you do the hard work that it takes to be a professional.

Something to think about.  Are you a professional or just a credential?

  • Playsintraffic

    Professional or pandering to a clients needs/ego? Most Realtors know that if they don’t pander to a client’s ego they will most likely lose the listing. I like to think that I’m a “Professional” that helps educate and guide clients to successful outcomes. Have said that however, there have been (and will always be) plenty of clients that have hired me and have totally gone against my recommendations (some have even been right!) Sorry about your experience but I think unsuccessful outcomes are almost always a two way street. After all, Realtors don’t make money not selling homes.

    • http://ericbrown.com/ ericbrown

      @Playsintraffic If you pander, you aren’t a professional.

      I’ve met ‘panderers’ and I have no need for them.

      As a ‘professional’ realtor, do you take a listing and then do everything you can to sell a house? As a ‘professional’ realtor, do you keep in contact with your clients throughout the listing lifecycle and offer advice? If yes…kudos to you. My realtor hasn’t done these things.

      • Playsintraffic

        Absolutely Eric, communication with real time info is critical to developing a good relationship with clients. I guess my only point is this; most clients I work with are very savvy and know more about real estate than ever before. It is not unusual for a client to show me CMA’s from different websites and Realtors during our first meeting. I am sorry to hear about your poor service, just understand that not all agents have the backbone to knowledge to work with savvy clients. @ericbrown

  • jphilipfaranda

    I hear this almost every day in my business. When you interview your next agent, ask them if they have references. Ask how many homes they have personally sold in the past year-it doesn’t have to be a huge number, but they have to have a pulse. Ask to see where and how they market their listings. Make sure they have a strong online presence because that is where the buyers are.

    A professional agent, by the way, will have the backbone to disagree with you on matters of price and marketing.

    You sound like someone who has learned from this experience, as many people’s “first” agent was not vetted the way they look for that next agent. Good luck.

    • http://ericbrown.com/ ericbrown

      @jphilipfaranda I would much prefer someone that disagrees with me and tell me that I’m wrong and why I’m wrong then just agree with whatever I want. Thanks for the tips!

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  • http://www.youtube.com/user/AngRidley?feature=mhee AngieRidley

    Ask friends and family that have sold and what their experience was. Decide if you would like similar experience. As a real estate agent, most of my business is referral. Referrals are the best business as each person has a mutual respect going in. As a consumer, I ask friends and family what company do they use for what service. I only go where people have had positive experiences. Hope this helps…

    • http://ericbrown.com/ ericbrown

      @AngieRidley Thanks Angie!

  • ElizabethRamseyGolden

    Eric, I love your post! As I was reading along, my initial thought was “sure, YOU think your home is worth “X” amount, but a buyer determines the value”. As I read further, I was thrilled to read your statement about a Realtor being honest and telling you that it just may not be worth what you feel it is. AMEN. I couldn’t agree more.

    I think many agents really “like” their clients and want to please them so badly that they really don’t give them the service they need but more importantly deserve….honesty. Meaning, many are often afraid to tell them the fact based truth for fear of insulting them, while really, not being honest about the market is quite the insult.

    Lets face it. Before ’07, none of us really HAD to be professional…consumers didn’t demand it. Stick a sign in the yard and someone will buy it. Those days are gone, thank goodness. I think buyers and sellers are slowly but surely learning that a true professional is not always someone that you will agree with, but rather, will show you the facts so you can make an educated decision.

    I hope you’ll keep us all posted with your next listing adventure. I think we can all learn from your experience as to how we can better serve our clients!

    • http://ericbrown.com/ ericbrown

      @ElizabethRamseyGolden Thanks Elizabeth. I will keep everyone posted!

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  • movingtoftbragg

    Really enjoyed reading this post. Honesty, integrity and professionalism all go hand in hand with what a realtor should be. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes for you. I always align my profession with going to a doctor. No one wants to go to the doctor for a diagnosis of what they want to hear, rather they hired the doctor to tell them what’s wrong or not wrong with them. It’s the same in my profession, I’ve got to deliver the news to the client about their home, whether its what they want to hear or not. Best of luck to you Eric and family.

  • AmandaHall

    I’m curious to know how you found your agent and what made you hire her?

    • http://ericbrown.com/ ericbrown

      @AmandaHall Hello Amanda. We found our agent by chance actually. We attended an Open House and met her there. After a few months of conversations, we decided to hire her.

      • AmandaHall

        @ericbrown Did you find a new agent yet? I am local to DFW…I don’t work in your area because I am in the Fort Worth side of town, but I know 2 proven professionals that do work in your immediate area that will tell you like it is and tell it to you frequently.

        • http://ericbrown.com/ ericbrown

          @AmandaHall Hi Amanda – I’d love the recommendations. Drop me an email (eric at ericbrown dot com). Thanks!

        • AmandaHall

          @ericbrown Will do.

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