Be Cautious in Picking your Downtown Boston Realtor
New York Times columnist Paul Sullivan a while back wrote about this DJ posing as a financial advisor. It was one of those setups like you see on TV. They removed his dreadlocks and body piercings, put him in a suit, taught him some basic scripts like “a 401K is the way to go“, and had him meet with actual financial clients to discuss their financial needs and how he can help.
When he went for the “close”, all but 1 client said they would work with him. He had zero experience, no qualifications (though I’ll bet his conversational skills helped). But since he looked the part and knew some buzz phrases and the prospective clients didn’t know the right questions to ask, he was able to win their trust just by being nice and personable.
The point of the experiment was to illustrate that the vast majority of financial clients do NOT know how to determine the suitability of the financial planner they are hiring. They just don’t hire well.
The Same Thing Can Be Said About Boston Downtown Real Estate Agents
Most prospective Boston high rise real estate buyers could sit down with an imposter “Buyer’s Agent” who knows some rehearsed scripts and be convinced that this person is the right agent to help them. And they would sign a Buyer Representation Agreement within 20-30 minutes. Even if it’s just an unemployed Barista dressed in khakis and a polo shirt, using some scripts I teach him, but with zero experience. Same with listing appointments.
A study on the problems facing the Real Estate industry resulted in what is called the DANGER Report. DANGER stands for Definitive Analysis of Negative Game changers Emerging in Real estate. This article isn’t about that report. But the #1, leadoff, main conclusion of the report was: “Masses of Marginal Agents Destroy Reputation”.
In other words, incompetence and unethical behavior by masses of Realtors. Which begs the question, how can we weed them out?
Advances in technology and Social Media are coming to the rescue. If I were an out-of-state buyer/renter or someone outside the country here’s what I would do:
First, check Google Reviews. The Google review format is such that it’s not easy for a downtown Boston real estate office to manipulate or remove negative comments, For example, my office we concentrate on the Midtown condo sales, Beacon Hill condos sales, and Beacon Hill apartment rentals.
For the purpose of this blog post lets review Beacon Hill apartments and the agents that represent them. Here is a list of Beacon Hill’s real estate offices and their reviews. As you go through the list you’ll see Beacon Hill real estate offices with high reviews and many clients and some are lacking both.
As you can see from this sample some have very high scores, but they all lack a large pool of clients. Below you can link on the Ford Realty Inc., Google Reviews and as you can see we have a large sample of clients both positive and negative reviews, thankfully mostly positive reviews from our clients in 2019 and 2020.
I’m not sure exactly. It’s a combination of things I think. The institutional organizations that support the real estate industry (Realtor Associations and State Licensing Boards) benefit from a big headcount because, to those entities, each licensee is equal due to paying members. More is better for them.
Also, making it harder to become a Realtor might draw scrutiny from the government, if it views “raising the bar” as some sort of anti-competitive, exclusionary or discriminatory action.
Personally, I wouldn’t complain if the annual Real Estate License renewal was upped to $10K per year. That would solve the entire problem. The actual producers, the 20% of us doing all the deals, would capture enough additional business to offset the increased overhead.
Then those entering the profession would have to put some skin in the game right up front, which might cause a more serious analysis of real estate as a career pursuit. At present, many just “jump in to give it a try” while keeping their full-time job. Then they get hired, screw up a few deals, give us all a bad reputation, then wash out after a year or two. That’s a really bad system and it needs to change now. I just don’t know if the industry is capable of bringing about that change. Perhaps an outside disrupter will just displace us all if we don’t get serious about the profession.
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