Club Chaos Agents - All Things Hollish, Wacked, and Jacked

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The Real Estate Mystery

I've been selling homes full-time in Austin since 1997. I've trained dozens of local agents, and coached many others around the country. As a broker and owner of my own independent real estate firm, I've helped with hundreds of transactions. Through my online networking efforts and "in person" conferences, I'm thankful that I've met hundreds (maybe thousands) of agents. 

 Why do I mention this?

Well, it's pretty straightforward. Having encountered agents and clients of all types, I've noticed one trend:

Real estate is neither as easy as clients think, nor as hard as agents think.

Allow me to explain:By and large, I think the general perception from the public at large is that we real estate agents have it pretty easy. Show a home or two, help with some paperwork, then coast into commission town. I'm oversimplifying things, of course, but I know that I'm not far off here. I wish it were true that my job was that simple. It involves being really patient and diplomatic even in the face of major adversity, often from your own colleagues. Sometimes, clients aren't loyal. Often, lenders make mistakes that jeopardize sales. Frankly, there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to real estate sales, and a lot of juggling has to occur.

Having said that, real estate isn't rocket science, either. When agents are struggling (I've been there), it's easy to blame outside factors:

"The economy is in the tank."

"Banks have tightened guidelines, so no one can get a loan anymore."

"The media won't quit talking about how bad things are."

Believe me, I've had the same thoughts myself at times, but the bottom line is this: In any given market on any given month, people are buying homes. They might be buying fewer homes than they were 5 years ago, but there is business to be had everywhere. 

If you're a consumer reading this post, know that most agents work hard and a solid number of us are good at what we do and conduct business in a professional manner. If you're an agent, grab your share of the pie. The pie may not be as large, but neither is the number of people who want a piece anymore. Too much analogy? 

There's the paradox as I see it, and of course it's just my opinion. I've always found it interesting how different the perspective is from the outside vs. the inside of our industry. In my own naive way, I think it's probably the opposite of how doctors are perceived by others ("Wow, being a brain surgeon has to be a really hard job.") compared with their self-perception ("Brain surgery ain't hard."). Alright, in fairness, they probably don't say "ain't".  

What are your thoughts? I welcome your feedback.

Photo: rrenzoo Creative Commons 2.0

 

If you're looking for a home in the Austin area, you can also visit my primary website at www.austintexashomes.com.  Thanks!

Comment balloon 58 commentsJason Crouch • September 28 2011 05:35PM

Comments

hi Jason - good to see your blog!! it's funny that you say that about people thinking our job is a piece of cake.  All we do is ride around and eat bonbons right?  I guess the stats speak for themselves when I say only 17% of Real Estate agents make it past the 1st year in business. It is wonderful career but you have to be a hard worker to stay there. Great post!

Posted by Suzanne Gantner, GRI, E-Pro, SRES, SRS, ABR (Sky Realty, Central Texas Real Estate ) over 7 years ago

Jason you are 100% right. In one of the Keller-Williams books (MREA or SHIFT?) there is a quote that there are always people ready to buy and sell. The question is, are we doing the right things to find them. Emphasis on finding them not waiting for them to walk in or call in. Of course that is where most of us hope our hyper-local blogging will help.

Posted by David Gibson CNE, 719-304-4684 ~ Colorado Springs Relocation, Relocation, Luxury & Lifestyle residential (Colorado Real Estate Advisers LLC ) over 7 years ago

I agree Jason, no matter the economy, people are always buying homes, despite what people on the outside say.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 7 years ago

Hi Suzanne - Thanks so much! I have been truly busy with real estate this year (thankfully), so I haven't had nearly as much time to devote to blogging. :) I need more bonbons, I think. I hear the stories about our "luxury" lifestyle often. I didn't even know that statistic about the 17% survival rate. Hard work definitely makes a big difference.

David - I haven't read "Shift", but I read part of MREA, and I think it does mention something along those lines. Being proactive (even if it sounds a bit trite to use this phrase) is the way to go.

Gary - Right you are, sir.  :)

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jason, how cool is this to see your face and find your wisdom and insight again! okay...MHO is that yes the numbers are down. It is what it is. Real Estate is forever changing and it will be a while, if ever, that we will see the boom as it was again.

At this point we, as RE pros are not just facing the economy. We are also facing major suffering from natural factors such as Huricanes, Drought and Fires! All of this also affects the economy locally and the jobs and the ability to purchase even if they wanted to. I learned yesterday that in Bandera there were 1200 insurance claims from people that have destroyed homesteads.

The lake is down to the point that all tourism has stopped. Stores, marinas, rentals, restaurants and gas stations, boat sales and more are all hurting.

Gee, I had better stop here as I am depressing myself.

I am just feeling blessed that we just had a closing and have another coming up next week. It could be worse now matter how we look at it as long as we are alive to do so. Love seeing you here. Hugs,

FEATURED

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) over 7 years ago

Deb - So happy to see a comment from you, my friend. I hope we can hang out again in person at some point in the near future.  :)

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jason:  There's always the same comments being made whether we are in a good market or a bad market...and whether you are a super star or a part-timer - you still have to find clients to help that commission check finally come your way.  Thanks for your perspective on this topic.

Posted by Gwynn Carpenter, : Broker, Home & Hearth Realty (512)467-6191 (Gwynn Teal Carpenter-Broker: Home and Hearth Realty (Austin)) over 7 years ago

I have found here at least Jason that the ones that work 8 hours a day are making a living all the time and the ones playing solitaire from 10 to 12 are not.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) over 7 years ago

Jason, 

Well said.  There will always be opportunities, how you make the best of them in any given market is HUGE!  

Real estate isn't easy or hard.  Today's economy is challenging.  You can choose to take up the challenge or find a new career.  If you don't love what you do in real estate, this environment probably won't help

Find your niche, whether it's an area - location or an expertise - short sale, reo, leasing, property management, there are opportunities.

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 7 years ago

Jason - you are absolutely right. I think the majority of people stereotyping professions until they have been somehow involved. There are always buyers and sellers :)

Posted by Petra Norris, Realtor, Lakeland FL Homes for Sale (Lakeland Real Estate Group, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Nice to see your smiling face on my blog roll today Jason.

You hit the nail on the head with your post today. The pie is smaller, but people are still "eating it".

If you work hard, you'll get your share... no matter what the market conditions are.

I had a blog all set for tomorrow (still in draft) that addressed this situation almost to a T.

But yours is so much better, I might just re-blog it and ride your wave!

Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 7 years ago

Hello, Jason! My 24-year-old neice just told me last week that she was thinking about getting into real estate as a "side job".  LOL - I think she changed her mind after I told her how my average day goes! Glad to see you back!

Posted by Rose King, Friendswood / Pearland / Houston Bay Area (David Tracy Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Perhaps some of us who are seasoned, have a system in place, listen well to get what clients want, had made it into translation: EASY...? I think it has something to do with it.

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) over 7 years ago

Hi Jason

"nor as hard as agents think..."  I'm not so sure about that. Not everyone is a self starter, nor are some willing to do what it takes even when you don't feel like it, things that we know from being self-employed.  I think that's why some people are better suited for a more traditional job/paycheck that living on commission.

 As for "When agents are struggling (I've been there), it's easy to blame outside factors..."  I'd agree with that 100%.

Posted by Lynda Eisenmann, Broker-Owner,CRS,CDPE,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co (Preferred Home Brokers) over 7 years ago

My head is spinning here.  Is our job hard?  I think it is hard if you don't like the business.  But if you do, what makes it hard also makes it rewarding. The economy aside, we are helping people through one of the most important transactions of their lives.  It get a lot of satisfaction out of that in the end.

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 7 years ago

There will always be the 4 D's of Real Esate which keep us all ticking along:

Divorce, Death, Debt and Downsizing.   People will continue to buy and sell property and we simply need to learn to recognize them when they are all around us.

Posted by Susan Emo, Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area (Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage) over 7 years ago

Jason - I agree with a lot of this.  I think that many think it's easier than it is, and still don't understand how we earn our commission.

Posted by Christine Donovan, Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M (Donovan Blatt Realty) over 7 years ago

   If you think selling real estate looks easy think about opening a real estate school, people tell me all the time how easy that looks. It does look easy but we have a lot less competitors  today.  You are correct. Do the basic stuff that always works.

Posted by Ron Climer (Keller Williams Realty Mountain Partners) over 7 years ago

Great insight, Jason.   I think this is true of most industries right now.  The pie is smaller, but it's still there, and we just need to be more creative about how we get a larger slice.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 7 years ago

Is our chosen profession. .and we better make sure that is a fact. .and not allow the profession to choose us and hate every minute of it.

Good to see you again Jason. . 

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 7 years ago

Jason,

Regardless of the economy, news we as agents have buyers and sellers. Like you said not as many as before but not as many agents either.

Posted by Tom Meyer (Exit Advantage Realty) over 7 years ago

Love Susan's comment on the 4 D's, but it's true.  Our job is to help as many people as we can at the highest level. There will always be buyers and sellers, what morphs and changes is how we are able to get in front of them.  Despite the many changes, the telephone still works best.

Posted by Tamara Inzunza, Close-In Alexandria and Arlington Living (RE/MAX Executives) over 7 years ago

Jason:

No matter how you slice the pie, real estate is a numbers game. Yes, we can all stand on our heads, and dance a jig, when it comes down to when the rubber meets the road, it takes approximately 49+ new conversations to get a solid lead,(that turns into a transaction) courtesy of Tom Ferry.(These stats come from agents that are producing --these numbers come from his Elite coaching program).

Yes, the numbers get better if you are working your SOI, but all the same it is a numbers game. Many agents do not realize in their local market what the numbers are to stay in the game.

 

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) over 7 years ago

An athlete, a musician, a doctor makes their talent shine, their skill to be effortless and they stand out. There technique does not show and mishaps, miscues don't happen with consistency, day in and out. A real estate professional is the same. It starts with hard work ethic hard wired in to the guy or gal wearing the dark blue and gold "R". Then a passionate, fun, creative spirit that radiates because you actually are built to list, market, sell and deal with all types of real estate buyers and seller in the public we serve. It is not just homes, houses we plant a sign, show a few times and wait for the call for when the closing at the long table happens.

Any buyer who spends lots of time on line surfing can quickly tell you whoa, there is a major difference in the marketing. This guy has three images, two lines of copy and all the ads sound, look alike. This broker uses real video, has 25 or more images, lots of descriptive, time and gas saving copy in putting the picture between the ears, behind the eyes of the buyer. Using all the media forces, streams. Same with seller when they compare how we market, the volume we sell and for good reason. Walk a 100 acre wood lot a Saturday afternoon with a buyer and the information you share as you hike, point out the acreage features and they know you work hard and don't just have closings land in your lap either.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 7 years ago

Jason, you are absolutely right! When I taught real estate classes the number one reason for people coming into the business was because they thought it was easy money. Little did they know until after they got their license.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA over 7 years ago

There are always three sides to every story = yours, mine and the truth.

Posted by Yvette Chisholm, Associate Broker - Rockville, MD 301-758-9500 (Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jason. I used to wait tables in a high end extremely busy restaurant. THAT was hard!!! Real Estate is challenging...not hard. Real Estate is basically just learning and going through a process. The hardest part (if we have to use that word) is staying motivated to do what needs to be done.

I completely agree that someone is always buying or selling real estate. We just just have to figure out who, where and what and then get in front of them.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 7 years ago

Jason...

Another factor is the price of real estate which directly affects the agents business. While we have a bigger piece of the "pie," we are generating less revenue and expenses (such as fuel) have skyrocketed.

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 7 years ago

Hi, Jason - Just two words "Right-On," a wonderful post and oh so true! Thank you for sharing your insight, John. 

 

 

 

 

Posted by John M. Caputo - Broker/Owner, ABR, SRES (Housescapes Prime Properties, Inc.) over 7 years ago

Jason,

Excellent post! I will be re-blogging this one for sure. Love the brain surgery analogy! I'll bet brain surgeons aren't often asked to cut their professional fees!

Posted by Scotti Jowers, Realtor - West Monroe, Louisiana Homes for Sale (CENTURY 21 Shackelford French, Search West Monroe Homes ) over 7 years ago
Most of the buyers that we select to work with, know that a transaction here in Manhattan New York is not easy. Even though the market is strong here, we often hear from buyers tell us that this big city is not immune to the bad economy...etc.
Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 7 years ago

"In any given market on any given month, people are buying homes."

True that and there are always challenges noi matter what the market but a fuul time professional who approaches real estate as a business. You knew that and that why you are so successful!

Good to see you here again, let's have lunch soon! 

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 7 years ago

Real estate is like dancing, eveyone can get on the floor, but only a few are really good. They work hard at perfecting their skills.

 

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 7 years ago

It is partially our own fault as we do not do a good job of communicating/illustrating all the behind the scenes activities we perform once a property goes UA !!!

Posted by Michael J. Perry, Lancaster, PA Relo Specialist (KW Elite ) over 7 years ago
As property managers, and thus the unpopular cousin of Realtors, I understand what your describing. In particular, many have a perception of property managers as nothing more than a sitcom Building Super that fixes your toilet. That may be why, in our office, we go to the other extreme in dress code, office decor, gracious treatment of clients/residents etc. We surprise many and change their stereotype.
Posted by Mark Delgado, Benicia and Vallejo, Property Management, rental h (houses for rent, Solano County & Glen Cove) over 7 years ago

I couldn't agree with you more.  Been in this industry for over twenty years, but can say when I am doing well it is usually because of the amount I put into it.  It is easy to slack off when times are great and get into bad habits - okay time to play scrabble on Facebook.  Just kidding.  BTW I see comment #25 frequently.  Thanks for the post.

Posted by Lawrence Evans (Team Limejuicer/Remax) over 7 years ago

Hi Jason,  I so agree with everything you said.  It's all in our perspective. :)

Posted by Ricki Eichler McCallum, Broker,GRI,ABR, e-Pro, TAHS (CastNet Realty) over 7 years ago

I like Missy's analogy the best.  Very few are indeed good.

Posted by Justin Dibbs, REALTOR® - Ashburn Virginia Homes for Sale (Pearson Smith Realty) over 7 years ago

Jason, I just had a conversation yesterday with a builder. He has been in the business since 1980. He said even back in the early 80's when interest rates were about 14% people were building homes. The interest rates now are hovering around 4.5% and people aren't builiding. He asked how I was doing. Like you said, the pie is smaller but I'm still getting my share of it.

Posted by Tammie White, Broker, Franklin TN Homes for Sale (Franklin Homes Realty LLC) over 7 years ago

Ohhh...I love Missy's analogy!  Excellent post, Jason and I have to say that I agree wholeheartedly, as usual!  You get from this what you put into it.  Many aren't willing to put in the time and effort these days, leaving a good deal for those who are.  I don't think it's a 'hard' business but, these days, it's harder to get to the Closing table but, your Realtor®, if good at what they do, will take that burden on themselves, leaving the consumer with the same non-stressful transaction as 5 years ago.

Okay, I will disagree with you on one thing---neurosurgeons will tell you that what they do is hard!  The ones that I know have LARGE egos!!  LOL

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods (www.iCharlotteHomes.com | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 7 years ago

For Sale By Owner real estate is generally not like "For Sale by Owner" of other assets.  Ask yourself: Why do banks use Realtors to dispose of their assets instead of selling themselves?  If maximizing the profit from the sale is the goal, all options should be explored, including discount, flat fee and other brokerages.

Posted by Daniel H. Fisher, MCRP - Charlotte Real Estate, NC or SC (www.FisherHermanRealty.com (704) 617-3544) over 7 years ago

This is a good and timely post that helps us all to be reminded we are so full of excuses.  I am upset with agents un our industry making our piece of the pie smaller by reducing their commissions to ridiculous levels that will only hurt all of us in the long run.

Posted by Heather Littrell, ABR,GRI,SRES Cabarrus County NC (Keller Williams) over 7 years ago

It is a business built around people and for people and if you like people, Real Estate just compliments the journey and delivers a paycheck as well. Helping people with large purchases remains hugely rewarding

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) over 7 years ago

Even during the Great Depression people bought and sold homes. I remind myself of this during particularly nasty days in the business.

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 7 years ago

Nice star.  Let's be honest.  Any of these potentially really rewarding fields are hard.  We all know the rules, but we can't control a lot.  All we can do is master it the best that we can and make sure that we create a good, honest, servant leader mentality when representing clients.  Good question!

Posted by Larry Bettag, Vice-President of National Production (Cherry Creek Mortgage Illinois Residential Mortgage License LMB #0005759 Cherry Creek Mortgage NMLS #: 3001) over 7 years ago

Jason, Pat Kennedy made a great quote on my blog the other day that I just have to share along this line, "What's that old saying, that real estate is the highest paid hard work and the lowest paid easy work?"

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) over 7 years ago

Jason, such a delight to see your post on my blogroll this morning!  And you're right...  things are sometimes perceived in odd ways.  It has been tougher this year I've found though.  People seem to be more on edge... Or maybe it's just my attitude.  In any event, it is what it is.  Period. 


Pamela

P. S. Don't stay away so long this time my friend...

Posted by Lee & Pamela St. Peter, Making Connections to Success in Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522) over 7 years ago
Jason, you make so many great points, it's hard to pick out the best of. If it was as easy as a lot of people think it is, we wouldn't get paid as much for doing it.
Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 7 years ago
Hi Jason, Love your analogy. There may not be as much pie as there once was, but ther IS pie. We just have to work a lot harder for the slice we get. If whining were considered work, a lot more agents could have slices. But whining gets us nowhere. We need to work hard to find the business we get and just as hard to keep the business we have. Thanks for sharing!
Posted by Coleen DeGroff, Haile Plantation Real Estate - Gainesville FL (eXp Realty) over 7 years ago

As with most professions, some real estate agents make it look easier than others because they are buttoned up and professional on the outside no matter what is churning on the inside! I totally agree that there are still pie slices to be had, and always seeing the glass half empty is self fulfilling. Many people do think real estate agents don't work that hard...some of those people decide to try it (since it's so 'easy') and fall flat. Just keep positive, be conscientious and go with the flow...some transactions will always be easier than others and things have a way of balancing out over time...if you're in the game for the long haul!

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) over 7 years ago

Hey jason,  Terrific reduction to simplest terms : Real estate is neither as easy as clients think, nor as hard as agents think.

Both sides need to walk a mile in the ...

Well done !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 7 years ago

I has to go back to read Missy's analogy since everyone liked it so much. :-)  And I have to say, I like it too. You make some great points Jason. There is a lot to be said about perception. Clients are going to think what they want before the transaction happens. Its up to you to show them why they hired you and why they should refer you to their family and friends.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 http://TexasLoanGuy.com) over 7 years ago

Glad to see this post featured. It is a bit like ice skating. The better the skater the easier it looks! Those that do not glide with ease make it look like a difficult task! There have been numerous people who have gotten into RE because it looked so easy...very few of them stayed.

Margaret

 

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 7 years ago

Hi Jason - The grass is not greener on the other side.

Posted by Conrad Allen, Webster, Ma, Realtor (Re/Max Professional Associates) over 7 years ago

Jason, Thanks for the inspiration...my latest post has a link back here....Jason Crouch's Real Estate Mystery.

Margaret

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 7 years ago

Jason, it's so ironic that I happened to read this right this very minute. I just got off the phone with a seller and it's been a complete nightmare. It just keeps comin', too. Anyway, thank you for the feeling that I'm not alone out here.

And this is one of those things I tell people ALL OF THE TIME. It's NOT like the "reality shows" where the client looks at 3 homes, chooses one and VOILA! six months later, they're all settled in with no apparent glitches.

Not so, folks!

Posted by Gayle Rich-Boxman Fishhawk Lake Real Estate, "Your Local Expert!" 503-755-2905 (John L Scott Market Center) over 7 years ago

Looks like a beautiful home!  I wouldn't mind selling that....I'll let you know if I find a buyer moving to Texas, looking for a 4.2 million dollar home :-) Kasey

Posted by Kasey & John Boles, Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties (Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com) over 7 years ago

I think it's a great macro perspective.  Short sales and the banking fraud are throwing this macro view off quite a bit.  We are really skilled in short sales, and it still is A LOT of extra work whether you are representing sellers or buyers.  Otherwise you are spot on.  Kristine :)

Posted by Kim & Kristine Halverson, Realtors (www.LiveWorkSiliconBeach.com, Santa Monica Real Estate :) ) over 7 years ago

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