Inexperienced Agents in Charlottesville

Record numbers of new real estate agents and a rising number of complaints – and worse – against the industry have veterans alarmed about whether these novices really know how to buy and sell a house. … “There’s an overwhelming number of new people with inadequate training and that means there are more ethics complaints and more lawsuits. None of this serves the public,” said Tom Hart, …

… the industry has an often-repeated standard that 20 percent of the agents do 80 percent of the work, which doesn’t leave a lot of business for newcomers.

“When the tide turns, it will separate the wheat from the chaff,” Harrington said. “But for now, it’s still a tremendously popular career. It looks easy, but it’s a lot of hard work and it’s expensive.”

The above is from an article in a California newspaper, but if one were to replace the names of the people, number of multiple-offer situations and the companies, it could very well have been written about the Charlottesville area. There are an unprecedented number of new agents, many of whom have very little training. This year alone, I have had three bad experiences with new agents, driven in part by (seemingly) lack of training, unbridled drive to get a transaction and greed. It saddens me, because this is my career by which I feed my family and pay my bills; one bad experience by a consumer reflects poorly on the vast majority of us who call this our profession.

My advice – do your due diligence in hiring a Realtor for representation. Often choosing your friend who happens to have his/her license can be very, very costly.

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4 Comments

  1. Jennifer Steele September 10, 2005 at 06:09

    Dear Unknown, I am a bit surprised by your comments about new agents. I am a new agent and I also plan on supporting my family through my new career. Not all new agents are as inept and incapable of representing their clients as you put it. Most new agents I know are eager, motivated and enthusiastic. I have 12 plus years experience as a real estate paralegal and let me tell you, I have worked with “seasoned” agents that have, to put it mildly, become lazy and incapable of going the extra mile. I have seen closings fall apart because the buyers needed to bring extra funds to the table and didn’t either know it or didn’t have the funds. Where was their “seasoned and experienced” agent in all this? Did that agent not present the settlement statement prior to closing and if so, why was it off so badly? Most new agents do use a checklist so they do not miss any steps and believe me, most “seasoned” agents would greatly benefit from using one. This is a tough business and most veteran agents are too greedy to let newcomers into the field. Reality check – most good agents will make it a priority to take new agents under their wing and teach them the ropes. Guess you aren’t in that category. The brokerage I went to work for prides itself in its training program for new agents. All seasoned agents are tremendously helpful and share their wisdom with the newer ones. I feel sorry for you that the market/location of your business is so poor that you do share your wisdom and experience with new agents for fear to loose a deal to them.

  2. Jim September 10, 2005 at 07:52

    Jennifer –

    1) Thank you for reading.
    2) My name is Jim Duncan
    3) I didn’t use the word “seasoned” and am not particularly fond of it.
    4) How did you come across my blog?

    You make an awful lot of good points, and I apologize if I included you with the broad brush I used. As you plan on supporting your family through this profession, welcome. Implicit in my remarks also were my feelings toward part-timers who look at our profession as a hobby.

    You are right in that many experienced agents have neither the time nor the inclination to go the extra mile; most however do.

    In my opinion there are at least two things that need to be improved with regards to our profession – The entry barrier should be higher. In Virginia, all one needs is 60 hours of education and to pass an exam and boom! you’re an agent! I don’t have the answers (yet) but know that too many see real estate as a good way to supplement his or her income on the side rather than treat it as a full-time job. Nor do they see this as a long-term profession. The numbers support this. Read this for anecdotal evidence. Nifty chart too.

    I am glad that you have found a company willing to train. The best companies have ongoing training for all agents. KW is one of them. If I were just starting my career I would try to work there; heck, I am tempted every few months by them due to their outstanding training and environment.

    The rest of your comment speaks for itself. I will however challenge your personal attack.

    Guess you aren’t in that category. … I feel sorry for you that the market/location of your business is so poor that you do share your wisdom and experience with new agents for fear to loose (sic) a deal to them.

    I am in that category. I enjoy working with new agents who are 1) willing to learn and 2) not arrogant and ignorant. One of the first things I tell new agents is to get their own website and domain name; it lends a little bit of credibility and conveys a feeling of permanence and is very inexpensive. If my office is full of good, eager and honest agents, we all win. IMHO, nobody can make it in this business without support, family and professional.

    There are still too many new agents who are untrained and put a bad light on our profession; there are also a lot of experienced agents who do the same but should know better. It is our responsibility to police our own and do the best job we can to ensure that we differentiate ourselves from the rest.

    Thank you again for taking the time to read and write.

  3. Jennifer Steele September 10, 2005 at 21:09

    Thank you for your response and clarification. I do agree with you on the agents that do a deal here and there, mostly for friends or family, on the side, ignorant of the changes, legal implications, etc. The law changes frequently and good agents should keep up with legal issues that have a direct impact on their clients (i.e., sometimes a seller would benefit from a 1031) or how to set up a land trust, etc. I am saddened to learn that a lot of agents, experienced or starting out, do not keep abreast with ever changing laws and are ignorant when to counsel their clients on seeking legal advice “before” putting the property up for sale. I am also astouned that a lot of agents do not take the time for proper marketing proposals, clear 30 day action plans, CMAs, etc. Just today I had a listing appointment for a large commercial deal. It took me a week to prepare, gather all documents from the court house, obtain aerial photos, gather market data, just so I could determine “the best and highest use” for the property so that I could prepare an accurate CMA. I was told by the client, who owns numerous acres and over 15 investment properties throughout Alabama, that this was the first time ever an agent was this prepared. I was astouned since most agents that represented this gentlemen before were experienced “20 years plus on the job” agents. I guess a lot of them loose focus and enthusiasm and take it for granted that their “name” speaks for them. I beg to differ. I am young, eager, hungry and make it a point to create a name for myself. Most young agents are. The problem is that most loose it along the way.
    I do agree we need more regulation, education, training, etc. for agents and I believe a minimum of 60 semester credit hours should be required as a prerequisite to taking the 60 hour prelicense course (also only 60 hours in Alabama). We require 3 exams – a 60 hour prelicense exam, the state exam, and a 35 hour post license exam within 6 months. Then your continuing education credits.
    I believe there is room for growth in this business and being the go-getter that I am – the sky is the limit.
    Take care and if you are ever in my neck of the woods, look me up. I’ll take you out for coffee.

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