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How’s Our Reputation These Days?

January 21, 2015

Realtors are often called upon to enter dicey personal territory where the stakes are high, the wins and losses potentially great, sometimes life-changing, and where the scope of emotional turmoil is so wide open that only the steely need navigate.

No, they’re not super heroes but they are constantly fighting to uphold a place of honour and respect alongside other professional counterparts.

“That old image of realtors ranking on the same level as used-car salespersons has faded somewhat thanks to tighter regulations and higher consumer standards,” says Rob Golfi, a sales representative with Remax Escarpment Realty. “But there are still plenty of people who think we don’t earn our commissions or that we’re out-and-out shysters.”

At one time, agents would double end a lot of deals, charge full price on both ends and walk away with thousands of dollars. That’s far less likely today. Given that the average agent only performs one part of the transaction, and given that the average home price hovers around $300,000, the actual income per transaction is about $5,000 to $7,000. Some studies have shown that this equates to about $30 an hour for the average agent. Add to that, the fact that realtors are self-employed and not receiving employee benefits or pensions.

Generally speaking, realtors get a bad rap because they over promise and under deliver. Take the realtor who guarantees you a much higher price for your property than what competing agents have come in at. An offer comes in substantially below the list price, but the seller refuses it even though the offer is right in line with its current market value. What happens? The house sits and sits on the marketplace. Eventually it becomes stale and buyers become suspicious as to why it hasn’t sold yet.

Some agents use this technique to gain listings. They over inflate your property appraisal and then hit you with a request for a price reduction a short while later. This is particularly harmful if you’ve already purchased another house and are counting on a certain dollar amount from yours.

“Beware agents who promise you a set dollar amount for your listing,” says Golfi. “You need to think twice when the number you’re hearing sounds too good to be true. Remember the old saying that it probably is.”
Be leery of realtors who try to discourage you from buying without a home inspection. While this clearly makes the transaction cleaner for the agent and the seller, this does a complete disservice for the buyer.
“We always recommend that our buyers get a home inspection,” Golfi says. “It’s just one more qualified assessment of a property that’s well worth the $300 cost. If anything, it gives the buyer confidence that they’ve made a sound decision.”

Since 1997, the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) has been working on righting the reputation of realtors and increasing consumer confidence in the real estate marketplace with public information campaigns and other means.

But many still aren’t aware what real estate professionals go through – the various courses, exams and all that’s involved in becoming a realtor.

“At one time agents generally had a pretty bad reputation but I hope that’s a thing of the past now,” Golfi says. “Most of us work really hard for our clients and I think that’s changing how the public sees us for the positive.”

Rob Golfi of The Golfi Team is a Sales Representative with Remax Escarpment Realty Inc, your real estate expert servicing the Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Grimsby and surrounding areas. You can contact Rob at robgolfi@golfiteam.com

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