The most common complaint expressed within the real estate profession is a lack of meaning or sense of fulfillment from work.
This is stated more directly by older practitioners as boredom, lack of job satisfaction, just getting through each day, turning out work without time to contemplate, turning out product for clients like a machine, and lack of connection to clients, which is often expressed as lack of client loyalty. Real estate professionalism has been eroded by the need for volume, speed and uniformity of work product.
The younger agents tend to express this lack of meaning or sense of fulfillment differently. They ask, “What am I doing?” They express a lack of control over work or life. They worry about the demands of clients and finding leads. They often have too much thrown at them trying to do everything all at once. The busy agent also ask if they can have a life and be a Realtor, or is their practice all-consuming?
Even though many agents aren’t making much money, not one person has had lack of money as the number one complaint. Some mention it as an indication of hard work for low return and frustration.
A common statement is that people don't like the process of finding work or leads, but enjoy things such as research, marketing, networking, preparing documents and advising clients. Often, though, they feel overwhelmed by the business and by the procedural details or paper trail exercises required.
There is increased distress among Realtors resulting from a sense of loss of control regarding their own work and life.
There seems to be a sense that they are locked in as Realtors or Property Managers. We are on the phone all the time and have a sense that we are required to be available 24/7 to our clients. This leads to a belief of lack of control over their lives.
There seems to be a reluctance for Realtors to try new methods or ideas in regard to their real estate practice. I think this is partly because of the type of person who goes into real estate, and partly because the nature of realty is to always be available looking for that next lead and answering our client's demands.
There is a general idea that with today's technology, agents should always be on the clock and must respond within seconds or we will lose that deal. They do not generally feel supported against clients or against public antipathy. They feel alone.
Most Realtors I speak with have little or no financial planning and many older realtors have no significant retirement plans. This contributes to the sense of powerlessness and being trapped.
Loss of control is exacerbated by Agents when the competition offers a variety of different commission rates and business practices. Realtor's experience a loss of control over finances by spending on marketing before the income starts to come in, and how to meet overhead and manage cash flow to personal income. This creates great uncertainty and that uncertainty for a Realtor's future.
Many Realtors have difficulty setting boundaries.
They end up with too much work, frequently with unreasonable expectations for time or volume. They take clients they don’t really want, or work they are not suited for. They have difficulty creating balance in their lives. They often have trouble knowing when enough is enough. We let our clients set our schedule and are always trying to please everyone else so that we forget about ourselves and what our personal needs are. It's in our nature. We need to learn to set times for when we are working and when we are on personal time. Your clients will understand if you need to take a day off or if you are going on vacation.
On a particularly positive note I think there is a tremendous, underlying, sense of good will by our indusrty. They want to be of service and they want to help. Many have lost the knowledge of how to do that. In dealing with clients they are mired in the technical details of producing a product and of managing a practice and billing. With some coaching and encouragement, the enthusiasm, dedication and good will that most members exhibit is encouraging.
I hope you will take the opportunity to discuss some of these observations with your colleagues. It may be interesting to find out how relevant these issues are for many within the profession, how much we all have in common, and how good it feels to share our concerns and personal thoughts with each other.
The BCRW is taking initiatives that promote more “personal” interactions between individuals are very important. The BCRW will be promoting workshops and support groups to get Realtors meeting and interacting more personally.
We are available and look forward to the opportunity to talk with you or others to explore the nature of the real estate in these changing times and how we can help.
Several articles might be of interest: