"Opinions of value” from Realtors should be nothing but free; they aren’t worth anything...

The articles by Boris J. Bubas and Jennifer Rockburne about real estate retainers in the November edition of REM got me to thinking. Some in our business seem to think that the public should be compelled to pay up (a retainer) before actually engaging our services (sort of a pre-contract payment) for such things as “opinions of value”.

These “opinions of value” from Realtors should be nothing but free; they aren’t worth anything due to the fact that they are provided by folks with a vested interest. How is it that some in our business think that the world owes us a living, that folks out there who ask questions of real estate sales representatives should somehow be obliged to pay for our opinions? We should be happy that we have been asked at all, to have been given the opportunity to talk with these folks, to impress upon them that we have the experience, expertise and character to best serve their interests versus other Realtors who they may have contacted or will have contact with.

If we want to stop cheapening our image as Realtors because some offer FREE opinions, FREE this and FREE that, then stop advertising the FREE aspect. Simply offer to help folks out with their real estate issues. If asked if there is a charge, simply say, “No, I provide these complimentary services for potential clients who request them as a goodwill gesture. Should you decide to choose me as your representative after comparison shopping other Realtors, I will be pleased to provide as much service as possible to fulfill my obligations to you as a professional Realtor. You should expect no less.”

We live in a country where virtually anyone can pay some money to take/pass the courses necessary to be licensed as a real estate sales rep. We immediately thereafter hold peoples’ financial lives in our hands. We are here for them, they are not here for us.

The real problem, as I see it with our industry, is that there are too many in our business who have an underlying poor attitude toward the public. Some of us expect the public to treat us as professionals when we may not act professionally. We should not be upset when some of the public treat us as expendable; perhaps that is how they have been treated by Realtors in the past (by those who have only one thing in mind…commissions). For those of you who don’t like members of the public who “use” you, look at it this way: These folks are asking you for help: give them your best! Forget about the end game; concentrate on providing what they need to know without thoughts of “What’s in it for me?”. The end will justify the means often enough if you practice this philosophy often enough.

Brian Martindale

Sales Representative

Century 21 United Realty Inc.

Peterborough, Ont.


Posted: 2009-12-21 07:14:07

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