Ever been out with friends at the local bar filled with 20 and 30-something’s having a drink and you notice the old horny dude in the back just sitting, watching? He’s probably a nice guy and has a lot of great stories about the “good old days” when he actually belonged at this college hangout, but he doesn’t quite fit in with the vibe and environment.
Many Realtors are that old dude. Experience is good. Knowledge is good. Stories wrapped in nostalgia can be good. Being outdated and unwilling to evolve and offer effective service because you’re too (old, lazy, experienced, busy, set in your ways, dumb, etc) whatever - that is bad.
I’m not a fan of the blogging movement that seems to be happening where agents simply bitch and whine about everything just to gain some sort of credibility with consumers, as if to say, “See I’m complaining- I’m on your side, so give me business!”
I am not complaining to get business- I am complaining so that hopefully 100 of the old agents who read this will leave the business immediately. And by old I don’t necessarily mean age, it’s more the attitude and approach. But it usually does correlate to age. The average age of Realtors today in America is like 87 or 104 or something. It’s just really old.
Let’s look at some of the reasons for this…
People enter into real estate at a much older age than other professions. They rarely gradute high school thinking they want a career in real estate and then immediately pursure that dream. There aren’t many kids running around dreaming about being a Realtor. Usually people enter real estate after years spent in some other career in some other field. They decide they want something
easy different and give real estate a try. And then some make it, but most do not (90% of people who get a real estate license do not renew their license).
Older people know a lot of people. After ten years on the city bingo league and twelve years as soccer-mom and six years in the PTA and a lifetime going to church, some have a big sphere of friends and family and associates to
beg network from. So some of these agents just hang around waiting for somebody to call them and don’t think about enhancing their service to attract new business.
Older people seem more trustworthy. Every generation seems to have this belief that people from past generations were better workers, more trustworthy, more wholesome, better dressers, better people, more dignified, more educated, more spiritual, and just plain better people. This is not true. Every generation is just as good as the last and just as bad as the last. Just because someone is older does not make them anything necessarily, except older.
Some older people have nothing better to do. There aren’t a lot of job opportunities for a 54 year old real estate agent who used to be the vice president of PaperDolls,inc. They don’t have anywhere else to go, so they stick around, passively. Without having a real drive, they don’t work to be the best or even be better. Many times they are content to just be there at all.
It’s tough to fire an older person. If 23 year-old Justin doesn’t cut it or learn the new stuff it’s easy to kick him out and tell him he needs to find another job. But good ole’ Betsy who’s got all the great stories and knits everyone sweaters and has no other job prospects, that’s tough. So noone kicks her out. She just hangs around doing nothing and not learning anything new and not giving her clients the best service and not making any money.
I’m not saying that everyone older than me should leave the business. I’m saying about 85% of the people older than me should leave the business. There are 9000 agents in Salt lake and 8000 of them are older than me. If 85% of them (6800) left the business there would still be 2200 agents in Salt Lake, which would still be 1000 too many, but it would be a good start. It’s been no secret that I think there are way too many agents and it’s too easy to enter the real estate field.
People unwilling to learn new things=bad.
I know, I should respect my elders. And being young doesn’t make someone more tech savvy or have more energy or better. That is why I’m not saying everyone older should leave- only 85% of them. There are 15% who continue to learn and evolve and understand new trends and have enough energy to work more than 2 hours a day and actually return phone calls. And I agree that just being young does not make someone more tech-savvy, but younger people can be slapped-around and molded more easily. And if they don’t cut it nobody really cares about kicking them out of the business so there’s less guilt when they leave.
Like it or not, admit it or not- real estate is in a state of flux right now. The industry is being forced to evolve and those who lead the charge and accept the new protocol of constant change will be those who lead. Others will follow, and others will be pushed out of the way. This is not only acceptable, this is healthy. Evolution is all about making way for newer, and more evolved breeds.
Technology does not take the place of a relationship and it shouldn’t. Technology, when used properly, should enhance it. I remember when I first got into the business they were just switching the MLS onto a computer. Previously it was just a big book. And I remember how much resistance there was to the change. They kept the book around for a while to help with the transition and I remember how most agents thought they book would always be around because nobody would want to drive to the office to look on a computer to find homes when they could just look in the book that they carried with them everywhere. This was only fourteen or fifteen years ago.
Tomorrow’s successful breed of Realtor will be heavily equipped with technology, a forward-thinking attitude, and a willingness to grow as they work diligently toward adding value for their clients. 85% of agents today do not want to grow and adapt and diligently work toward anything. 85% of agents today want to take their past or their extensive list of friends or their 40 hours of real estate schooling and sell enough homes in 2 hours/day to be successful. There are a lot of good people in the real estate business and hopefully those good people will evolve and stay in the business as it changes.
Prudential Utah just made it mandatory for every listing to have a virtual tour because 60% of the agents weren’t taking photos of their listings or having any sort of photo tour posted. When I search for homes on the MLS many listings don’t have any photos other than the drive-by snapshot the MLS takes.
Consumer expectations are changing. There is more dicussion taking place between consumers and between consumers and agents. People demand value, and value is not the commission rate. Value is what someone gets in return for the price. It’s the whole experience. Consumer’s are moving online more and more every day and older techniques for marketing are becoming less effective. Those who want to be successful in this industry in ten years need to begin growing toward that today. Or move out of the way and watch as some of us lead the evolution.