7 misconceptions people have about REALTORS®

  • February 14, 2017
  • Stephanie Lai

You’re in the real estate business. You know what is what. But for potential clients, and even some skeptical ones you may currently have, there are many misconceptions of REALTORS®. Knowing the kinds of stereotypes and misinformation that’s out there will better serve you in tackling them. Here are seven misconceptions people have about Realtors, and how you can show potential clients you are the right agent for them:

1.You must be getting kickbacks.
Refer a lawyer. Suggest a mortgage broker or specialist. Maybe a house inspector. Perhaps even a contractor for a much-needed renovation. Some clients think that if you recommend a company or a professional that you are somehow making money if they use them. That’s a misconception. But the fact may be that you have established relationships with people you trust with your clients.

What you can do about it: You are connected and you have experience in dealing with others in the real estate business. Don’t sell yourself short (or other professionals you like) by not recommending someone because you think it might look bad. Instead, provide two or three recommendations and allow your clients to do their own research and come to their own conclusions. Besides, if you do get paid for a referral, that must be communicated to your client in writing, according to RECO.

2.You make loads of money for doing nothing.
If only! You know the hours you put in, and you know the payoff. But clients might not see everything you do behind the scenes to make sure their house sells or that they can buy their dream home.

What you can do about it: Especially for first-time buyers and sellers, it’s tough to know what goes on behind the scenes with a real estate transaction. Be sure you communicate your role and the process to them. It’s not that you need to log your hours for them, as much as they need to understand your purpose. They don’t need to hear about how you maintain your website or do follow-up calls with past clients. It could be as simple as giving them information for your next meeting, such as, “Next time we chat, I’ll have a list of 10 houses for you to look at. It’s my job to do this research for you.” Or it could be, “Since we last spoke, I met with such-and-such agent, whose clients seem like a perfect fit for your home.” Also, spend time educating your clients on the real estate climate, property taxes, city services, etc., in the area they’re looking to move to.

3.Realtors only care about making money.
Doesn’t everybody care about making enough money to support themselves and their families? Don’t get too caught up in this misconception. Of course, you care about making money – that is why you work.

What you can do about it: Focus on customer service. Show them what services you offer that differentiate you from other salespeople. And work hard to make your clients’ dreams a reality. If your client always feels you have their best interests in mind, no one will question your motivation.

4. Realtors aren’t worth the commission.
Technology may have made the world more efficient, and it has certainly opened-up access to listings with, but it can diminish what some people think your services are worth. Gone are the days you would research homes for your clients, without them knowing a thing about the market. With listings going online, everybody thinks they’ve got the research skills of a Realtor.

What you can do about it: You know that your services go far beyond creating a list of homes for your client to look at. It’s about the entire process of buying and selling homes. When you first meet with a client, and before you get them to sign an agreement, eliminate this misconception. Outline to them how you will guide them and let them know about your integral skills, whether that is negotiating, integrity or whatever you think makes you the best agent.

5. Realtors don’t always reveal what they know about a house.
This is a terrible situation to be in, and a big misconception that gets in the way of your new relationship. When they don’t trust you, it can make your job difficult. But you are in control of the situation from the get-go by establishing open communication.

What you can do about it: When you learn about their “want” and “don’t want” lists for their new home, you can be honest about what they can expect to find in the market. That honesty is key. You are a real estate expert, so they will want your insight. And even if you have something negative to say about their dream home, it may help them decide to move on or it might not be a deal breaker. Either way, you are on track to helping them find their home.

6. It doesn’t take much to become an agent, anyone can do it.
The real estate industry is a crowded place with agents. But that’s not to say it’s easy. And when a “friend” suggests your job isn’t a “real” career or that there are no skills required to become a Realtor, keep your cool.

What you can do about it: Fight the misconception, by remaining calm. First of all, getting a real estate license isn’t cheap. The number of newbies who drop out in a year is an indication that the job isn’t easy. So, you know it’s not true that anyone can become a Realtor. But, don’t be angry with your response. You could ignore them. But if you have to react, get them to repeat themselves. Sometimes that works. And if it doesn’t, psychologists suggest being self-deprecating. Humour not only lightens the situation, but it shows you’re not affected by it. Try this joke: What's the difference between a Realtor and an accountant? The accountant [or insert another job] knows he is boring.

7. All Realtor services are the same.
This is a misconception believed by clients who don’t know much about the industry or your role. They likely don’t have friends or family in the biz. You’ll have to educate them.

What you can do about it: When you meet with a potential client, you can show them how your services separate you from the rest. Every Realtor has his/her spiel, whether it’s customer service, quick sales, well-researched home searches, guided processes and more. Marketing specialists suggest you pick one thing and focus on it. Customer testimonials will also help. That said, if you have a client whose misinformation is getting in the way of you doing your job effectively, then you are perfectly in the right to split ways. The business of real estate is based on referrals. And if they are a hard sell on you, then they’re not likely going to be a good referral. It is up to you to decide.