Leave your hummer at home: A story about the good and bad agents over the years

Ok, so I kind of want to put a disclaimer here. This post is not going to sugar coat things. Some of you may have a problem with what I am about to say. But I will say…I just don’t give AF anymore. I’ve been here long enough and maybe I have become a bit jaded.

I have been in the real estate industry since 1999. I’ve seen my share of agents over the years. I am also a constant observer of people. I can’t help but feel like I am studying human nature. It’s a reflex. I am the kind of person who sits in a bar and just watches people and tries to figure people out. It’s a habit and I honestly enjoy it.

It’s no secret that our industry is often put in the same category as used car sales people. We are sometimes perceived as smarmy, blood sucking and soulless. Half of the reason I got my license in the first place came from my days in the title side of the industry, sitting in closings with agents, that were absolute douchebags. At a time when so many people were unknowingly getting screwed by things like the “World Savings pick a payment program”, these agents were easily raking in the dough without a care in the world. It felt so impersonal.

Hummers were popular back then and there was no lack of agents driving around in them. I even had the wonderful delight of an agent crashing by wedding by parking his hummer in front of my reception hall. It was filled with a bunch of random women, bumping Sisqo like he’s some sort of wanna-be gangster. Never in my life did I think I would spend a huge chunk of time at my wedding dealing with trying to remove someone from my wedding. This was a picture of what many real estate agents looked like at the time. It was depressing. I felt my youthful innocence slipping away by being in the industry. I feared being tainted by the agents around me.

I thought, if these parasites can do this, then so can I. I could actually do something for these people that was a little more meaningful. I soon obtained my license and not too much later, the market crashed. Many of those “I’m here cause I can be” agents left. Those of us that remained were forced to actually work hard and do something more than throwing on a designer suit. We were thrown into a time of despair. Our clients were bawling their eyes out as they handed the keys to their dream home to a buyer after a year-long short sale process. I remember showing a home that had been foreclosed. It was a beautiful historic home that the previous owners had purchased. They had been it the process of restoring it and must have gone under before completing it. The homeowners painted on the wall before they left “We are sorry. The______ family, 2000-2007”. Things like this tugged at my heart-strings. It was awful. There was no such thing as making a quick buck. But things like this helped me as an agent. I wanted to be better. I wanted to help my clients feel educated enough to make good decisions. If it came down to it and they needed to sell, I wanted them to feel like I understood them.

Years went by and it seemed like many of these vile human beings were gone. Things started to turn around to where we are now. Now I don’t want to speculate about anything here. I’d rather be optimistic. For those of you that were not in the industry prior to the market crash, the movie The Big Short is exactly what it was like. This scene in particular:

Very few people thought about the outcome of total fricken greed. Once caring people hearts were gone to everything superficial. Agents spent all their time trying to keep up appearances and when the market tanked, they were just as screwed as many of their clients were. Years went by and it seemed like many of these vile human beings were gone. Things started to turn around to where we are now.

Now I don’t want to speculate about anything here. I’d rather be optimistic. However, have you noticed all the “Hey! Look at me” that is going around? The market is hot. Agents are getting licensed left and right. Billboards are getting bigger and more excessive. Many agents spend their days proclaiming their glory to others. Agents are spending more money than I could have ever imagined marketing themselves. It’s complete insanity. The CFPB and the Minnesota Department of Commerce has had no problem finding agents to throw fines down on (whether they are valid or not). Why? because of the amount of excess. I can’t go a day without being spammed by an agent….and I am an agent. WTF.

Luckily, there are some of us there that are doing this simply because we love the people we serve. We value those relationships. Our clients are treated just as well as a family member or friend. For many of us, they become our friends. We are teachers and it’s our responsibility to give our clients enough information to figure out if a home purchase is right for them. I don’t care what anyone says, buying a home is not right for everyone. So there’s no reason to force the issue.

You need to listen and actually get to know your clients. It’s much harder to sell them when you don’t have a bond with them. Many agents come off as complete douchebags because all they do is talk about themselves. They disregard and discredit any input the prospect offers up in lieu of talking about themselves. You need to earn their business. Why ask before they’re ready? Put in the work. Agents make really good money for what they do. You are going to have easy clients and bad ones. Don’t complain. You are lucky you are here. You are lucky to find clients that actually want to work with you.  Your clients don’t care if you have a sports car or what brand of clothing you wear. They care that you have their back. It’s really that simple. Agents that have been here through the good times and bad have survived often becuase of one reason. They were actually good people.

On a positive note. I do just want to say that there are some amazing agents out there. Many I consider friends. Thanks to all the good ones out there.



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