Inman News recently published an article titled "Opinion: Why consumer behavior will eliminate the part-time agent," written by Tyler Smith (Founder & CEO of Skyslope and a former real estate agent).
I thought this was a great article as so many people will hand what is usually the largest financial investment to someone who is not a career real estate agent, and might only complete a few transactions a year. Real estate is ever changing and as a full-time, career REALTOR® I study changes in real estate and mortgage lending on a daily basis. My team and I are out in the field almost every day of the week. Even on vacation or attending out-of-town seminars, my team and I handle phone calls, e-mails, etc. and do what's needed to keep our transactions running smoothly.
I'd like to go over some of the points brought up in the Inman article. I am not copying and pasting so my headings will be different than the article. I am also not linking to it as it's more of an "insider" article geared towards agents and I believe you have to be a paid subscriber to access it.
Part-time agents aren't available for buyer's immediate needs
When an agent has a full-time job and sells real estate on the side, they simply can't be available for showings when you might
have time off from your job. Maybe you work a different shift than your agent or you have different days off.
I can't tell you how many times buyers call me to show them one of my Orland Park listings (or other agent's listings) because their agent isn't available. Depending on the circumstances, I might show one of my listings, but only after speaking to their agent and finding out the circumstances. But I cannot show other agent's listings to another agent's buyers. This is my team's and my jobs/business. This is how we pay the bills. If I'm working with another agent's buyers I am not getting paid a penny!
It's not just home showings for buyers. I had an agent call me to show him an Orland Park home I have listed. My seller wasn't available and she doesn't want a lock box. Because I was available I was able to meet the agent with the key I have so his out-of-town buyer was able to see the home. If this happened during a part-time agent's "regular" job, that would have been a lost showing.
You might love your real estate agent friend or relative, but do you want to miss viewing a home you might love (that could sell before your part-time agent has time to show it) or as a seller would you like to miss a showing by what might be the perfect buyer? Many times when buyers can't get into a particular property, they end up liking something else and instead of waiting to get into your home, they make an offer on the other one. Or your home gets pushed down the list and they focus on newly listed homes and forget about yours because it wasn't available when they were.
Buyers and sellers might know more about the current market than their part-time agent does
Buyers and sellers develop a deep interest in real estate when they're in the market. There's tons of information and data online. A part-time agent doesn't have the time or desire to study current markets and trends, especially hyper-local changes that might be occurring in the area you're buying and/or selling in.
Although I leave mortgage pre-qualification to the lenders since things have changed so much in that industry, I can still answer some basic questions that pertain to today's mortgage market. A part-time agent might not be aware of basic mortgage changes.
Not knowing updates for the industry can lose a buyer and seller thousands of dollars! Do you love your friend or relative agent enough to lose money?
What is your part-time agent's value proposition?
As I mentioned above, if your agent isn't up on things, instead of saving you money, they can cost you. If they don't understand the local market they might not be able to fight for your realistic offer. On the other hand, they can lose the house you love against another buyer because of lack of knowledge, lack of negotiating skills, etc.
They might not be aware of certain rules regarding new building/village codes or required inspections. They might not know about currently available buyer grants. They also might not understand the timing of current financing. If they put incorrect dates on a contract, you could lose out on the home if your financing isn't ready by the contract date. A seller won't always grant an extension if you're not ready to close by the contract date that was agreed on.
I'm dealing with an agent that is either part-time or otherwise out-of-touch. We have specific real estate contracts that are updated when needed. They are written to best protect both parties. This agent just sent me an offer on a contract that was used years ago. Unfortunately, she is not protecting her buyer using this contract. She is obviously not trained in our normal, updated contract, which we've been using for many years and that went through a recent revamp.
The part-timers I've had to deal with
Let me begin with the fact that not all part-time agents are bad. Many are semi-retired yet keep up-to-date. They just don't have as many sales as they used to, or they got into real estate after retiring from another job and they want to keep working at something. Maybe real estate was always something they wanted to do.
There are agents that can handle a full-time job and still sell real estate. They keep up-to-date and usually have another agent that can fill in for them if necessary, or they're part of a team. Many agents with full-time jobs are starting out part-time and trying to save enough money to get into real estate full-time, like I did back in 1983. Because they are so interested in real estate, they usually keep up on the industry.
I do have to say that a couple of the worst agents I've dealt with were part-timers. The part-time male agent that presented a contract on one of my listings spoke to me in a way that I had to bite my lip not to lash out at him. He was very condescending. My seller did not accept his offer but I was able to sell his Lockport townhouse to another buyer.
I wrote about another agent that acted like she knew everything - she was right and I was wrong - in her mind. She "knew" that the price my sellers wanted for their Orland Park townhouse was too high and would not appraise. She insisted on a face-to-face presentation, which we granted. She then attempted to throw me under the bus by making it look like I didn't know about area prices. My sellers kept their cool and stood their ground. The buyers accepted my seller's counter-offer and it appraised just fine. This agent had 2 sales the prior 2 years plus she was out of our area, yet she came across as a know-it-all. It was one of the worst transactions I ever went through and I finally had to put her in her place. I couldn't wait for that one to close. Loved my sellers, but the part-time agent made things miserable.
I'm not trying to bash part-time agents, but it really pains me to see buyers and sellers not being treated with complete experience and professionalism. I became a REALTOR® back in 1983 because as a For Sale By Owner on my first house that ended up listing with a brokerage, I saw the need for using a real estate agent. I love helping people and protecting their best interests when making such a huge financial investment.
If you'd like to work for full-time, career agents that will offer you our full fiduciary duty, knowledge and experience with complete honesty, give The Judy Orr team a call at 708-536-8200.