Poor public perception of real estate agents could be improved if the public could see the industry working together in a professional manner, according to one agent.
Managing director of Jam Property Loretta Morgan told Real Estate Business that agents need to learn to be competitive in a sportsman-like manner, where competition is based on service.
“Some agents act in a childlike manner, where they don’t have the ability to just get along and simply act in a way that is professional and informative, with an exchange of ideas, exchange of information,” she said. “There are certain things you keep close to your chest and that’s fine, and you can do that in a very polite and professional manner.”
Ms Morgan said the community lacked respect for agents because they could often be pushy and only interested in the next deal and the commission.
“Why don’t we become more interested about the clients and the clients’ needs, and in fulfilling their requirements and their dreams," she said.
“I think that really pushing that message across and being the agent of choice, being the agent people want to deal with and being shown to be a really caring agent will really change that perception in the public eye."
Ms Morgan said she gave people information for free, even if they decided not to use her services.
“So if it’s a private landlord who refuses to use an agent, at least they’ve got some better tools so that their transactions are a bit more harmonious when dealing with their tenants or whatever it may be,” she said.
Ms Morgan said she believed public perception of the industry was improving as more agents become focused on the customer experience.
CEO of RE/MAX WA Geoff Baldwin agreed with Ms Morgan’s comments, saying agents needed to be more professional in the way they talked to one another, and about the profession.
He said from his experience, the negative image often came from the fact agents were commissioned workers, which contributed to people’s suspicion of their motives.
“They go, ‘You’re not normal. You don’t get a wage. You only get paid if you get a commission. You’re taking our money, and you get your pay from how much you get out of me’,” he explained.
However, Mr Baldwin said any lack of trust was a myth, as reality reflected something different.
“They allow agents to come into their homes, they show them the most private areas of their houses, they trust them with their most valued possession, they give them all of their personal information, they give them money to trust large deposits of money, and for the most point, 0.02 per cent of transactions have problems. So the reality is completely different to the level of distrust that’s out there,” he said.