In the old days
Growing up in the cities of Los Angeles I’ve had a few jobs in my day, before I ended up as a real estate agent. I’ve groomed pets, worked as a receptionist, managed an office for a lawyer and yes, I even worked at Micky D’s. The odd thing about these jobs when compared to my present day career is that they were just that, jobs. I mean there was no real chance I’d ever see the day where I was have my own pet grooming business with the potential of making enough money to support myself and even buy a house. But, when I found real estate it opened doors which I didn’t even dream ever existed. All I had to do was to open a few doors, look on a computer screen for houses which were available to show and sell to my clients and bam, I was free to make as much money as I wanted.
Basically when an agent hatches, they are new to the whole “let me protect your investment and your future thing” unless of course it was interwoven as part of a previous career. But essentially as a new agent, they are fresh out of the “how to be a good little agent books” where they teach that being ethical is of the highest order and being a real estate agent means you are trusted with peoples futures, families and their money. So, no matter what happens within a transaction, we must protect our clients and their investment. Right?
So fast forward a few deals… to the the day I found out the hard way that there are ancillary services such as pest control services, chimney inspections, sewer inspections, home inspection services (or in the old days, appraisal services) who can either make it easy to close a deal or in some cases create havoc within a deal. All these services are, however, necessary in my business but don’t always help me or work with me to close the deal and get paid. It feels as if sometimes, it’s quite the opposite.
Because there is little uniformity in any of these industries, the operators of these services are individual in every way such as the manner in which they conduct themselves, the time it takes to perform their service, the objects which are inspected and with home inspection, the items reported on, their level of importance and even the report itself. One would expect these service providers to likewise, possess empathy towards the agent who is trying to make a living but this is rarely the case. Many seem hell-bent on making a name for themselves or pride themselves as “experts” and come across as pompous or even arrogant. I just wished that there was a way in which I had more control over my deal and who came out to perform these services.
Then I was introduced to the light
It wasn’t until after just a few months or so as an agent I was alerted to a very well known and highly practiced system which is really considered “hush-hush” or “taboo” in my line of work.
If you were to ask an agent, any agent, heck all agents for that matter if they are honest, trustworthy and work only to protect their client 100% will tell you they are. From what I’ve experienced over the years, it’s seems as if its actually more like 2%.HBA
It was explained to me by other colleges of mine that I was able to control some of these ancillary services to a certain extent and in a round about way, take better control my deal and therefore and ultimately my commission. How do I go about “controlling” or directing a service to work in a manner which is consistent with my end-goal and will help me to close more transactions? Easy, find and work only with companies who are not hard-liners, experts or are “superstars” and who will produce soft ball opinions of whatever service they provide, and only refer that company. Basically I just hand them money. No please,… I’m not talking about bribing these individuals heavens no, I talking about sending them all of my business, referring them to all my associates and basically headlining them to the end of Gods green earth.
Opinions are like buttholes…
If you’re an agent you’re reading this and probably coming unglued right about now. “How dare she make such wild and unsubstantiated accusations about the real estate community“? Well I do dare so spare me…, and this is my blog which focus’s on the unethical behavior of agents and inspectors, and this is my opinion primarily based on experience with you people as well as countless years of interaction with inspectors of all types as well as appraisers.
Lets face it, we’re all human and we all want to make money to take care of ourselves and families, but there will come a time where your integrity as an agent is tested. It’s how well you come through this test that determines which side of the real estate game you belong.
Are you a protector of people? Or are you a person who just wants the deal to close because you need money. What..? You think just because you scheduled a less-than stellar termite company to inspect your clients house or provided a list of 3 crappy home inspectors to your buyer which “you” personally vett (and I’m sure you’re all qualified to make these decisions of who’s the “best”) and hold to some lame real estate agent standard of what you think makes an inspector good or bad, that you are doing your clients a favor? Please, save it for that client you’re trying to screw over.
IMO you agents have no business, being in the business of home inspection or deciding who’s better than others based on how fast they inspect… the words they use to describe issues or what color the words are in a report. So really… you really just need to butt out and not refer anyone. If you want to do your clients a favor have them choose for themselves or if you absolutely have to choose a service provider, look to the real professionals such as code experts, General contractors, ICC combination building inspector certification, are DSA, or those who are an engineer.
Which camp will most agents reside?
So which camp do most agents in my opinion reside? I’d say that the overwhelming majority of agents reside in the “I need to get paid no matter what” camp. “Yea, Sharron, but my agent is my best friend… there’s no way my agent will screw me“. Really? Please, I’ve seen my share of close lifelong friendships end during a short 4 week escrow. Never underestimate the power money has over people.
You have to remember, the vast majority of agents I’ve been exposed to feel entitled to a paycheck and where most feel as if they “know it all“, but trust me, they do not. Agents who feel as if have their clients best interest in mind (controlled by their need to close a deal) will choose the pest control company, lenders, home warranty and the home inspection company on their clients behalf based on any number of criteria. For example, how well/long they are or have been friends, how fast an inspector can get through 3500 square feet, whether or not the inspector is labeled a deal killer by your colleagues, how cheap an affiliate is, how available an affiliate is, how many of the agents friends or business associates use /used them etc..
“Hey Mr. / Mrs. client, I hope you don’t mind that I chose an inspection company for you that is fast, cheap and are not deal killers“. “Sounds great Mr. agent, sounds like he’s my kind of guy”. Schedule them now! Right…
For the record, an affiliate is a company or service which agents use or refer out… AKA “their team” or those who
whore themselves out I mean offer services to the agents clients and understand they must fall in line with the agents expectations..
With that in mind agents will, however, probably NEVER refer any inspection company who is “thorough” because being thorough means the inspector will take a long time and likely produce a very lengthy report which creates work for the agent. What sort of work? Well, how about damage control for starters? Damage control, what’s that? Well, that is where a client gets a report and goes ballistic so then the agent goes into lockdown crisis mode in order to salvage their deal (notice here how I didn’t say your deal). You have to also take into consideration that the last thing they want aside from you walking from a deal is to look bad in front of their associates.
So is there collusion in the real estate game?
You bet, based on what I’ve witnessed. I think that the go-along to get-along, play by the rules crap that so many of these affiliates feel compelled to perpetuate by offering crappy services at a discount rate in order to keep in the good graces of those who line their pockets and refer them over, and over, and over again runs rampant in the real estate industry.
Who suffers? You do of course. You as a buyer or seller place all your trust into these individuals who do not reciprocate with empathy (to you agents that means actually giving a damn about everything except the commission). And so long as there are affiliates like inspection companies who are willing to do whatever it takes to remain in the good graces of such individuals, and as long as agents keep buying bigger cars… the cycle will continue.
As a home buyer it’s in your best interest do perform as much due-diligence as you can on your own and with no help from anyone involved in a transaction who stands to make a check from your selling or buying a house. Never go off an agents list for anything. Choose whatever service you require to protect yourself based on on-line reviews or referrals from anyone other than real estate agents, trust me. Use real estate agents for what they are good at, opening doors.