What is an “Agent”, and are real estate agents really agents?

It depends on who you’re working with.   Most real estate sales training instructs students and new agents to carry a contract in the house and be ready to start filling it out on the kitchen counter.  Most real estate sales training says to try to show as few homes as possible…no more than seven and preferably less.  So, if it seems like the agents with whom you’re working seem a little old school, it’s both because they are, and because most real estate training given today is still pretty old school.  Ongoing real Estate sales training also minimizes the implications of dual agency.  And ongoing real estate sales training addresses why it’s a good time to buy. 

An “Agent” by definition and according to South Carolina’s buyers agency agreement is supposed to be someone that’s looking out for your best interests, putting your interests before not only the other parties, but theirs as well. 

I’m not sure how one could consider it in a buyer’s best interest to rush to fill out a contract, even in the hottest of markets.  I always recommend to my clients to consider their choices carefully.  To me, that means they need to sleep on it…or at a minimum, go have a cup of coffee before coming back to the office. 

And the only way that I could see showing less than about 15 homes is that if I had been out previewing about 30-40 homes before narrowing it down.  In my experience, people are a lot clearer about what they want after they’ve looked at 5-10 and see what some of the possibilities are.  So even if I did do the work to preveiw all those homes, I’d be concerned that I mistakenly eliminated one that would either be right, or highlight a feature the buyer wasn’t aware of that they’d really enjoy. 

Having said all that, I do believe it’s important to be efficient.  All the people with whom we work are busy….do you know anyone who isn’t.   And so our team members strive to make the best possible use of everyone’s time.  But that doesn’t mean taking shortcuts.  And it never means pressuring people.  If it’s time to decide, I find that people generally already know it without me telling them. 

Listen very carefully to what your “agent” says to you over the phone and in your first meeting.  If, after the first day, you feel like you’re being sold, you’re not working with an agent, you’re working with a salesperson…and there is a huge difference.  When push comes to shove, a salesperson will put themselves first, no matter what their agreement says.  An “agent” thinks long-term, wants you to be a raving fan after you’ve completed the process, and never pressures people.  Not only do they desire to protect you every step of the way, they are capable of doing so.  They may or may not be the most “likeable” personality you come across, and may even run across the grain from time to time, because they don’t ever want you to be surprised because they weren’t up front with you.  Or because they allowed you to believe something that wasn’t true. 

One last note, since we’re on this subject.  It requires no “training” to become a real estate agent in South Carolina, you don’t have to actually know how to do anything.  You have to recieve about 60 hours of instruction, none of which is training.  If you want to become a cosmetologist, you recieve training so you can cut and dye hair and do other things cosmetologists do.  You have to perform and demonstrate proficiency in many techniques.  You see, the haircut industry couldn’t survive if they didn’t they didn’t have a labor force on which to draw that they knew could cut hair. 

In real estate, the real estate commission allows salespeople to represent the public as agents.  There is no “agent” license.  So be careful out there. 

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