Real estate agents routinely get bashed by buyers and sellers for being too pushy, not pushy enough, out for themselves and the almighty dollar. In fact, often consumers will equate real estate agents with the persona of the car salesman. You know, the guy who dresses a little too nice and talks a little too fast…all the while pushing you toward something you might not be able to afford or even like. While there might be a small handful of real estate agents who fall under those descriptions (as there are in any profession), the majority of real estate agents are honest, hard-working professionals who live and breathe real estate. Here are reasons why a real estate agent outclasses a car salesman any day of the week:
1 – In a word: education. Real estate agents must take hours of classroom instruction in order to become licensed. This isn’t a week’s worth of sales training. A licensed real estate agent has to learn about the laws and procedures regarding the state in which he intends to sell real estate. A licensed real estate agent is then tested on that knowledge via an intensive state exam. And the education is not over once the agent gets his license. Every state has renewal requirements, requiring the real estate agent to take continuing education classes to ensure that every agent is up to date on the latest news and policy in the real estate profession.
2 – Another difference is oversight. Real estate professionals are kept in check by their state’s Department of Real Estate (sometimes known as a Commission or Board). Not only are there many license requirements that each state has but there are also disciplinary actions that can be implemented by each state’s real estate department. Real estate agents can get their licenses suspended or revoked by the department.
3 – Did you know that the National Association of REALTORS(R) (NAR) is the largest professional organization in the world? Each and every real estate agent who joins the association agrees to adhere to the Code of Ethics, which is geared toward protecting consumers and ensuring that real estate professionals act within ethical standards. Think you can find a car salesman with membership in a similar organization?
4 – In real estate there is also a requirement of disclosure. A real estate agent must disclose material facts known about any home. An agent can’t misrepresent a home to you, its condition, etc. in the hopes that you won’t find out until it’s too late (and you’ve rolled off the lot). There is no crossing of fingers and hoping all works out because not only is the real estate agent’s reputation on the line, but also his status as a licensed agent. With every single real estate transaction, an agent is putting himself at risk of legal and financial consequences. Why would any reputable agent risk losing his career and possibly a lot of money in court? He wouldn’t. So the real estate agent will err on the side of caution and disclose everything he ethically and legally must disclose.
5 – A home is the single most important financial transaction of your life. Real estate agents understand this. They understand that there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to helping you purchase your home. While a car salesman might hear how much you make and steer you to the vehicle that will take advantage of that fact, a real estate professional will also take into account your monthly expenses to help you determine what you can truly afford to pay. From there, the real estate professional will encourage you to speak with a mortgage professional to obtain the most accurate picture of your financial ability to buy. Only then will the real estate agent start to narrow down your home search. Because the real estate agent understands that it’s not only a financial issue. You have wants and needs that the real estate agent will evaluate in order to find you a home; you’re not looking merely for a roof over your head.
While it’s easy to make jokes and compare real estate agents to car salesmen, they have little to nothing in common. While both help you out with a purchase, the motivations and the expertise behind that help differs vastly. A real estate agent is continually educated, adheres to ethical and legal standards and is looking to build a life-long successful real estate business, not just sell you any old car off the lot.