Posted by: Daryl & Wendy Ashby | December 1, 2011

Preconceptions

As humans, we form ill-conceived notions about people based on education, upbringing, and experience.  These notions, many of which on the surface appear to pose little threat, eventually stick to the signposts of our society becoming a sort of common knowledge.

Think about the used-car salesperson. What image did you conjure? Was it favourable? Likely not. Regretfully the same applies to a real estate profession. Matters not how professional Cheryl and I conduct ourselves. Change in thinking will only occur client by client.

For a multitude of reasons, there are a number of ill-conceived ideas about the industry and those in it.  “We’re rank slightly below lawyers and slightly above used car salesman.” That is a common joke and a lot of people fit us into that bracket with no humour intended.

It’s common for clients to think they are paying Realtor®s too much for the service they provide. There’s a saying in journalism, “that to get to the bottom of a story, you should follow the money”.  That saying could well be applied to our first misconception about Realtor®s.

What is not understood, is we’re responsible for everything. We pay our own taxes, do all our own advertising, personal marketing, inclusive of web design and hosting, and we pay for the marketing of our clients property; out of our pocket I must add and with no guarantee of an income. We bear the cost of all printing, whether it be the contracts needed to complete a task, marketing literature, business cards and we have to purchase all those signs and frames that the municipalities collect and throw in their dumpsters, plus we support a healthy insurance premium with extra insurance to protect those I drive around.

Now take into consideration we have no unemployment benefits, no company paid medical benefits, sick or holiday leave. There is no company pension plan and the risk of a lawsuit has increased with our countries poor economy and general attitude.

In fairness the industry has had a history of “less-than-ethical” characters, and this is an image that we are shedding with tougher professional regulations. Regretfully it’s a lot more cutthroat now, compared to when I first entered the industry. The freedom of information through the web has led to much of that.

I find it hard not to laugh at people who think a career in real estate is easy money. Unless those people have dealt with rejection, day in and day out, they have no concept of what’s involved to garner a commission.

I recall all to often the number of people who I have driven (my fuel, plus car’s wear and tear) all over hell’s half-acre, only to have them decide that some other realtor will be able to show them something that is not available to me. I’m still haunted by the young couple my wife and I drove around for close to three years, looking at over 100 homes and writing four offers, all of which they low-balled in a rising market. In the end they advised us that they felt we were unable to service them and turned to another unsuspecting Realtor.

Then there are the times when we receive an unexpected gift from a happy client. There is never any need for such kindness, but their delight in the results that we were able to provide overwhelmed them to generosity.

While we may trail behind the Lawyers of today, unlike them, our evenings, weekends and holidays are not our own (unless we chose to ignore our clients which is yet to happen) and our evenings don’t often represent valued family time. A 70-hour work week is not uncommon.  I even missed the birth of my grandson because work demanded such. Pretty hard to catch up on that moment lost.

For me, I’m drawn to this profession because it allows me to see and touch so many people, their lives, their passions, their personal causes. It’s because of this connectedness of the industry and how I am able to apply 47 years of experience in a way that my clients can benefit, that makes it all worth while for me.

 

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