Today we bring you an anonymous weekly column about real estate by one of the most experienced agents in Brooklyn:
I’ve written before about there being no barriers to entry to becoming a real estate agent. Virtually no capital is required. The New York State required education is pathetic — when I took the state test, there were hordes of people taking it who needed instructions on filling out a bubble answer sheet. Really? Did they not complete 4th grade? And getting hired is easy since no one has to pay you a cent until you produce. Little wonder that the quality of agents varies widely, to say the least.
Might that be changing? One can only hope. In brownstone Brooklyn the buyers and sellers should certainly demand the same level of professionalism from their agent that they do from the other professionals in their lives — accountants, lawyers, architects, etc. That means an agent needs to be knowledgeable, focused and available. Most of all, a good agent views the job as a career, and their long-term reputation is the only thing that really matters. I have seen colleagues burn bridges over and over again to maximize the commission on a given deal. Senseless.
An agent also must be absolutely clear about who she represents in every single case. Blurring those lines only confuses the clients and generates distrust. The New York State law requiring this disclosure is a very positive step in that direction; sadly, the form they came up with is not clear at all. There’s no harm in stating who you represent so the buyer or seller will always know. Yes, it means you will share more commissions, but in the long run that will get you more referrals.
On a positive note, I have observed that college graduates are calling to talk to me about going into the business. I have even seem some lawyers decide to switch to real estate agency. As prices rise, the business becomes more attractive. Call me foolishly optimistic, but I see improvement in agent quality on the horizon.