JEFF GEOGHAN is a wise person.I am all for those our brokerage services and assists in real estate transactions to be "clued in"...and here in the post that follows, JEFF makes excellent points along those lines...
JEFF says..."The question is "how to get the Consumer law into the consumer's hands and understood by them ahead of time, as well as the opening presentation of the agent's services so as to pique the consumer's interest in talking some more...
There's nothing so empowered as a home buyer who knows exactly what' going on and why. That's my goal from moment one when I meet a prospective client...."
Consumers in Pennsylvania are protected in a myriad of ways from potential frauds and dangers. State licensing and regulation make it all but impossible for a real estate practitioner to “get away” with an offense against a consumer. New licensees are indoctrinated into this matrix, and must undergo biannual ethics training to reinforce the state policy. Lastly, all practitioners who are members of the National Association of Realtors MUST subscribe to it’s NAR Code of Ethics (one of the first of it’s kind in the nation) and local branches of the NAR are aggressive in prosecuting reported violations.
So why is it that Real Estate agents are still considered one of the most “shady” people in business?
In a nutshell, it’s because the typical consumer has no idea about the process by which they engage the real estate community for the purpose of purchasing a house. And as a result of that ignorance combined with poor communication from real estate practitioners, the public finds that their expectations have not been met.
Not a week goes by when I don’t interact with a consumer (not a client) who has found me on the internet. In most cases, they are in the initial stages of looking at homes, mostly online. Often they declare their intention “not to sign with anyone” and “check out open houses”, etc. When I question what the problem is with hiring a buyer’s agent they become either a) confused or b)suspicious (OK, sometimes both). This is the conversation where I’m supposed to explain the role of a buyer’s agent (per PA law – known as the “first substantive discussion about real estate”). Most consumers will tend to view this as a thinly-veiled sales pitch. It’s frustrating to me as a professional agent on several levels:
a) I HATE being considered a sales pitchman. Not to mention the fact that buyers aren’t financially obligated to a buyer’s agent anyway!
b) I’m REQUIRED to take the time to explain the law in Pennsylvania (BTW this is known as the PA Consumer Notice). I know it can be boring.
c) I just KNOW that the consumer isn’t going to retain any of what I’m saying. I know I wouldn’t myself…legaleze is sooo dry.
What’s worse, it does make perfect sense to use this juncture of my new relationship to promote my services over those of my competitors, right? Would would you do, if you were just told by a prospective customer that they intended to go look at homes without you, thereby exposing them to your competitors without you having “fired a shot”? Hence the title of this post.
The question is “how to get the Consumer law into the consumer’s hands and understood by them ahead of time, as well as the opening presentation of the agent’s services so as to pique the consumer’s interest in talking some more…
There’s nothing so empowered as a home buyer who knows exactly what’ going on and why. That’s my goal from moment one when I meet a prospective client.
So, the challenge the real estate industry faces is educating the public about the process of home sales and the necessary relationships that arise from it, as well as the points at which a consumer can elect to retain a pro on their behalf. Educated customers can spot the experienced agents and avoid getting stuck in a business relationship they regret. Agents are held to a higher standard by the consumer. Everyone knows where they stand. I like it! How to make that happen….hmm.
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