Image credit: Marek Polakovic from Noun Project
Sigh*. Ok. Here we go. Please bare with me here for a moment of your time.
I sit here in Vienna, Austria, (no, NOT a holiday) reading newspaper articles about the current state of the British Columbia real estate market and the vicious comments from the public that seem to follow each one and I am sad. Just so terribly sad.
I do not speak for all Realtors. It is a very large organization and I would never be so arrogant as to grandstand with respect to such important issues. I also do not defend the behaviour of some of the 'professionals' in our industry nor their respective Brokerages, the ones who seem to support some of the appalling behaviour seen in our industry lately.
The public would be surprised how badly many of us want them punished. Severely.
They are making our lives, and the lives of our clients, to put it simply, miserable. But after 16 yrs as a proud Realtor, I feel I can say this.
We try to help people. It's all most of us want to do. It's why we do it. Sure, we want to make money. We have cars, mortgages, children, retirement... just like everyone else. But many, if not most, of us got into this business because we are 'people persons'. We like people.
Again, of course we want to earn a decent living. Our city, and others like it, have always been an expensive place to live but it's originally the people that brought us to the table.
We also found out very quickly that this can be a tough job if one likes people. A very tough, very gruelling and very, very emotional job.
These emotions, brought into the fold when a person(s) or family are buying or selling real estate can be extremely overwhelming. Often brutally so. I cannot stress this enough.
My own personal struggles over the last 16 yrs (some of which continue) can speak to this as I'm one of those types that can't just leave my work at the office. I've brought it home. I really care about people. And I know many Realtors just like me.
In my first year of real estate, as a happy go lucky kinda' guy, I was told not to enter a room during an 'Agent's Open'. When I asked why, they told me that the owner was within days of dying of cancer and the family was selling the home because they had bills to pay. I was stunned.
I had no idea this was the world I was entering.
I have had children screaming and wailing at me in their living room because Mommy & Daddy are divorcing and they know I'm the guy selling their house.
Those ones are probably the toughest for me & it's happened more than once.
I sold the home of a person who had been murdered, dealing with the devastating heartbreak of the remaining family. I've sat at the table with long time friends and their divorce papers, the bags under their eyes evidence of utter misery and personal hell.
Am I making a sale? Sure. Would I trade my commission for them to stay together? In a freakin' heartbeat.
I've had my own 'Open House' interrupted by a heroin addict at the front door, naked from the waist down, with a needle jutting from her arm and blood dripping off her fingers onto the hardwood.
911 was called. My open was cancelled. And all the while I never forget that this addict is someone's daughter, someone's sister, even perhaps someone's mother. I didn't sleep much that night. And yet obviously my sellers were worried about their home selling. Can you blame them?
And don't get me started on tenants. I was one for years, of course, and selling their home, while they are often powerless to stop it, can be horribly depressing and sad.
Where will they go? They've faithfully paid the rent for 25 yrs. but who cares. Right? Well, actually, I do.
But I gotta' do my job.
If the real estate market is too slow, it's our fault.
If the market's too hot, its our fault.
If a house sells too quick, we priced it too low.
If it fails to sell, we priced it too high.
If it sells really high, well, we only care about the commission so we don't care how much our buyers pay cause we make more money, right (this one is particularly ridiculous).
If we get multiple offers, we shoulda' got more of them and they aren't high enough anyhow.
If no offers come in, 'Uncle Joe, the guy who just got his licence' woulda' done a better job.
As a 100% commission-based salesperson (try it one day) we've worked with someone for years, literally YEARS, every weekend, without getting paid a dime, only to be told they bought without us one weekend 'because you were away', 'because you didn't return their call at 11:30pm one night', 'because you didn't work hard enough', 'because you only showed us 300 houses and we wanted to see more'.
PLEASE understand I certainly am not looking for sympathy, although my wife is also a Realtor AND my Managing Broker (Yes, I am literally married to my boss ). We are all adults and we knew what we were getting into.
It is also readily apparent that our industry is facing extreme challenges. Ones that need to be remedied to the full & complete satisfaction of the public. Our friends. Our families. Our customers. People are angry and they want results. I don't blame them.
But please remember the 'people persons'. The helpers. The Realtors who work with the young couples, the growing families, the new investors, the family downsizing, the families facing hardship, the divorces and, of course, the estate sales both expected and sudden, always reminding us of how short our time on this planet really is.
It not an easy job sometimes. Nope. Not one bit.
Thanks so much for reading. Sorry for the length.
Tom Everitt, REALTOR®