The First Time Always is Awkward

AvatarYou’ve always dreamed of being in this position, though you never had a clear understanding of how it feel once you here. Often it seemed more of a fantasy than anything tangible and now that you’re facing the reality, you’re not sure how to feel – exhilarated, self-conscious, nervous, relieved. Maybe a combination of all and then some. More than anything else, you don’t want your partner to know without your saying that you’ve never done this before, even though it’s obvious without every misstep you take.

The good news is improvement comes with time. And with experience, the nerves and the self-consciousness disappear. Like most things in life, the first real estate transaction that you complete often is the most difficult.

As much as anything, that is because there’s a sink or swim reality to real estate. Either you find clients and get some deals into escrow and find a way to earn a check, or you find another way of making a living. Many who entered the market in 2005, when one only needed to offer to list a home for the lowest amount so they could plant a sign in a yard and claim an early payday, are discovering that it takes effort to be successful.

There is no mentor program, at least for the most part. There is no trial run. Hang your shingle, get to work and see what happens.

Is this the best possible scenario for the public? Probably not. Most have little to no idea whether their agent is knowledgeable or experienced (as much as anything because they rarely ask the question, especially of a buyers’ agent.) Then again, it’s because the public rarely asks the important questions that I’m less inclined toward sympathy.

We can talk about increased standards and attaching value to what a buyers’ agent does by divorcing the commissions but at the end of the day, if people would rather higher their cousin who got their license three weeks ago because he always seemed like a nice kid, they’re beyond our reach for protection.

And this happens every day. Everyone has a cousin in real estate. Or a brother. A friend. A neighbor. A relative. Sometimes even a third-grade teacher. Whether they know what they’re doing is secondary to the fact they’re within the person’s inner circle. And since all real estate agents are alike … or so they believe.

Forcing buyers to pay for their own representation is a step toward ascribing value to what real estate professionals add to the transaction, but it’s only that – a step. If the public as a whole doesn’t see the value, they’re not going to pay for the representation. Imperfect as it may be, under the current system where buyers’ agents are paid out of a portion of the commission paid to the listing agent, at least the buyers are represented.

(Representation is not universally necessary. Last week I took a call from a buyer who had purchased several homes over the past few years and didn’t want/need to have a real estate agent represent him. He asked if I had an issue with this. Short answer? Of course not.)

Calling for divorced commissions is noble but also premature. Until we find a way to make the public value the work, they’ll never find a reason to pay for it. Simply ascribing a price will not necessarily create the value in the public’s mind.

[tags]real estate commissions, disintermediation[/tags]

Jonathan Dalton

Jonathan Dalton is a 40-plus-year resident of the Valley and has been helping folks buy and sell homes since 2004. He can be reached at 602-502-9693 or info at allphoenixrealestate.com.

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