Agent Professionalism | Let's Raise the Bar | Milwaukee Real Estate
As a broker owner and trainer of real estate agents since 2010, I am concerned about the exploding untrained population of agents flooding into real estate. It appears many agents in the industry have little to no education on the mechanics of an offer, or they are getting creative beyond the common good and it is leading to consumer frustration in the process of buying a home.
I have a unique window into my concerns because I lead a company of 25 agents and practice real estate daily. I am in the trenches of the business day in and day out, so I see and practice real estate uniquely as a broker owner. This window, especially in the last two years, has given way to improved checklists and systems for our agents internally. We have built into our system a checklist for the cooperating side of every transaction implementing calendar tasks and reminders of important dates and deadlines so nothing is missed. Our system involves communicating with lenders and appraisers to make sure the buyer’s financing meets the contingency period deadline and coordinating reliable vendor relationships to help buyers and sellers through the home inspection process.
For the cooperating agents, it is more than missing deadlines on a contract; that unfortunately seems to be happening at an alarming rate. We have a system to help them with that, but it is the lack of education and understanding of the mechanics of an offer to purchase that concerns me most. Many agents simply do not understand the offer to purchase. With the rise of teams, agents have become disabled in their practice. The team structure by some firms has a system where the buyer’s agent finds the property for the buyer and then the agent turns over the remaining responsibilities to a transaction coordinator who handles the rest of the process. That sounds good in theory, but in some team practices, the coordinator has never been in the home the buyer is purchasing which can lead to mis-understanding on condition and risk.
I recently hired an agent who had been on a large team. The agent had performed 15 transactions before they joined us. I was shocked that they could not do the offer to purchase from beginning to end. They did not understand loan commitment or delivery of loan commitment, they had never accompanied a home inspector, and could not advise the buyer properly at the conclusion of the inspection period. I realized quickly that the team structure they had come from did not equip them to practice real estate thoroughly. The transaction coordinator replaced their ability to exercise all the responsibilities of the buyer’s offer from beginning to end with great understanding. Passing the baton to a coordinator might be a gray area on the offer to purchase in practicing great skill and care. Anyone advising a buyer on inspection items needs to have viewed the physical property not just the inspection report. Systems are great. I built a whole brokerage on systems, but real estate is not a manufacturing assembly line and some aspects of this human experience cannot be applied using LEAD manufacturing principles. This is an aggressive market where the human touch is so important to professionalism and success. We, as professionals, need to help buyers, and it starts with a sit-down consultation before an offer is ever written to understand the process.
The Buyer Consultation:
A buyer should have a consultation period where they sit down and discuss the process of making an offer before they ever see a home. This important first meeting prepares the buyer for what is to come and gives an opportunity to both the agent and buyer to review the contracts, required checklists that might be needed, the mechanics of a home inspection, a review of recommended lenders, and how dates and deadlines of important contingencies are processed. This is the time to educate the buyer discussing market conditions, your process of winning them their dream home, and your systems to help them through the process once you have an accepted offer. Transparency and understanding is the key to having a smooth and successful transaction. Without the necessary step of a buyer consultation, agents are practicing on accident. Buyers need to have a proven process so they can be successful. Lack of understanding and practicing the basic tenants of real estate without preparedness, jeopardizes the transaction and agent credibility.
The grim reality is that there are more real estate agents in the country than there are homes to sell. Any agent being licensed in the last two years has been trained through webinars instead of in-person mentorship training programs. The forecast for housing Inventory, is that shortages will continue for years. At the end of January, home closings were down 26 percent from a year ago. The figure is the lowest on record since 1982, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing the National Association of Realtors. In the same month, the NAR had 1.45 million members, up 4.8 percent.
These statistics give me great concern as a broker. Clearly, the lack of housing supply impacts proper agent in-field training and mentorship. Many agents will be forced to leave the industry due to a lack of inventory and training. Powers Realty Group restructured earlier in the year to focus on our current agent’s business within our organization. We will remain at 25 agents through this low housing inventory period so that we are focused on agent training and that our agents have enough business to sustain themselves. The changing market will be good for the consumer long term. This restricted market will weed out the uneducated and unprepared, the best agents will remain renewing the level of admiration and professionalism the Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors is known for throughout the country.
Powers Realty Group is a distinctive boutique real estate broker focused on the needs of customers delivering exceptional results. We are the trusted local experts. Call us today about buying or selling your home.Call Suzanne Powers