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Monday, December 20, 2010

Here Today, Gone Tomorrow

I've been thinking about something that struck me the other day. Actually, it's struck me several times in the fifteen years I've been in real estate. What is it, you ask? Read on.....

There are many different types of people that choose to go into real estate. Many people get into real estate as a second career. Very few people start their professional career as a real estate agent. So, we get people from all walks of life. Some are the business-minded types, you know, the ones with MBA's that want to "start a business venture." There are the "salespeople," those who have had success with selling something else and want to try their hand at real estate. There are the "investors" who decide if they're going to make ongoing investments they might as well get their real estate license. And then, there are what I call the "opportunists." One can only imagine how their eyes widen and they begin to salivate as they run through their "business model" with their friend as they sip a grande latte at Starbucks. It all seems pretty easy: start with a giant, blazing marketing plan, position yourself as an "expert," get all the tools in place, jump in, and get rich quickly. Have you seen them? I have. What bothers me most about these types? They are all about slick marketing. They have the look, the style, and the confidence. Their websites are spot-on. They speak the lingo, they look the part. But in the end, they have no substance. And many times, they're gone as fast as they appear. Truly, many of these "opportunists" are nothing more than flashes in the pan. Maybe you need some help spotting one of them. Here are some things to watch out for:

First, they come on the scene out of nowhere. They seem to have a huge presence but it doesn't appear that they've been around very long. They seem to have answers for everything, how it all works. They seem very sharp and they are well-connected to technology. They use a lot of real estate buzzwords in their advertising and when they talk. They are usually young and tech-savvy. They have an err of impersonalness, very business-like. They might talk a previous "successful venture" that they were involved in. They seem to change companies a lot. They like to talk about "systems" and "investment potential" and things like that. They seem confident but always moving around, not satisfied with what they are currently doing. They position themselves as the ones who "know the tricks of the trade" and they talk about how they are "the top Realtor" in town. Don't get me wrong. Many of the previous attributes are good ones to have in a career like real estate. But there is a certain type, one who seems to possesses all those qualities and more. There's just something about them....

You can call it jealousy if you'd like. But honestly, I have a couple of issues with these types. First, they tend to attract unsuspecting buyers and sellers by their pitch. It sounds real good but when you get down to it there isn't a lot of substance. They don't back up what they say. Unfortunately, these types of Realtors do appeal to some people. Second, they are opportunists of the worst kind. Is there anything wrong with chasing an opportunity? Not at all. But those of us who have done this for a while know that the successful people in the business are in for the long haul. Many of these "opportunist" types have a short-term plan. Get in, make money, get out. Move on to the "next big thing." And in the meantime they seem to lack attention to detail and care little about service to their customer or their client. After all, everybody else is really just a means-to-and. You've seen these types, whether you know it, or not. You can't miss them. Because I am so unlike them, and because I've been around a while, I can spot them from a mile away. People in my profession who are committed to their craft and have chosen a career rather than a "money-making venture" know who these types are. We see them when they come, we watch them and then we see them go. And we're not surprised when they go. Some go unwilling via loosing their licenses and others just go, looking for the "next big thing" out there. But for the most part, they flash, and then they're gone. And our industry is better when they leave. Not only that, but the public at large is much better off.

If you are a buyer, or a seller, do your homework. Don't be a victim of one of these slickmeisters just trying to make a buck at your expense. Find out how long they've been around. Ask them if they've switched real estate companies and ask them why, if they did. Ask them what they did before they got into real estate. If they say they are the "best" Realtor, or "most successful," or that they've won awards, ask them how many transactions they've done. I checked on a couple of these opportunists and they had very average numbers, at best. Ask for references, many of them. Ask they whey they are in real estate and ask them what their philosophy is when it comes to buyers and sellers. I can tell you from experience if you ask them these questions and something doesn't feel right it probably isn't. Trust your instincts. Happy hunting!

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