Your Trusted Real Estate Agent

It really should be depressing.
People don't like and don't trust, real estate agents. Well according to some surveys anyway...
The New Zealand Readers Digest annual survey of professions again ranked real estate agents at the bottom of the list of most trusted people in 2010 (number 36 out of 40).  No surprise there, as real estate agents consistently appear at the bottom of pretty much any ranking of professions you can find.  And its not New Zealand specific either according to similar surveys in AustraliaUK, and India!  At least agents were ranked higher than sex workers, car salesmen, politicians, and telemarketers, I guess.

So, does it matter?  Just another survey that really means very little? 

Trust is a measure of belief in the honesty and fairness of another party. The law of agency is about placing a person in a position of trust. Real Estate Agents are hired and paid well $20,000, $30,000, $40,000 to do a job - placed in a position of trust by the homeowner to market and sell their home.

So any measure of poor trustworthiness has to be concerning. Why the lack of trust? The common theme in the least trusted professions is personal self interest outweighing responsibility or care for the person on the other side of the relationship.  Other than politicians (and lets not go there!) that self interest is driven by remuneration - how they get paid.  The view that the untrusted person will do whatever is needed in order to get paid, whether in the best interests of the other party or not.

So does the commission only structure make agents less trustworthy because they will “do anything” they have too in order to get paid? Surely the risk of no payment deserves a premium and what about all those times that the seller/buyer wastes time, effort, and resources?  Or perhaps an overhang from the boom market – where people were queuing up to buy and really there was little effort required.  It’s a very different world today.

Or is it an issue of the level of remuneration? The real estate industry struggles with the perception of being over-paid for what work is done, poor service (and don’t forget it is a service industry), and if not exactly being misleading, then commonly being somewhat judicious with the facts.

What are your thoughts?  Why do people love to hate real estate agents?  Are real estate agents really not trustworthy?  What has your experience been?  Does it matter?

Add your comment: