Back in 2002, loans were easy to get, house prices were high, and buyers were plentiful. The economy was really good. As a result, pre-licensure classes were full and the number of Realtors in our area swelled.
As one of the newbies, I didn’t realize exactly what this meant to the seasoned agents in our office. Of course, I heard the grumblings… “These new agents are taking deals from me and as soon as the market slows, they’ll be gone” or the long sigh followed by “Oh, you must be new” when asking a basic question.
Back then, my feelings were hurt. I had just left a three year teaching career where the goal was to Educate! Motivate! and Support! during the learning process. But as a new agent, I felt like I had just entered the field as a leper. You could see it in the hallways at work. A seasoned agent would see my confused expression, and instantly think “New person + questions = time away from my own job. Get me out of here!”
Besides all the new licensees in real estate, there were also newbies at the title companies and lending institutions. Like me, they were learning the basics in the business, which made for frustrating transactions. I remember complaining that I barely knew my own job, let alone how to do theirs, too.
During the recession, half the Realtors quit or retired, fly by night lenders left town, and title companies downsized their staff. And as terrible as the market was, things were a little easier to deal with. We cherished the few clients we had. Lenders had time to better qualify the buyers before issuing the pre-approval, and title companies held our hand as we solved title issues together. But then as the economy got better, everyone got busier, more people entered the industry, and we are once again flooded with new people learning their jobs.
And just like before, it seems that time is too limited to hold hands and work through a problem together. Less time means less focus on writing tight contracts, thoroughly explaining the complex loan process, and addressing title issues in a timely fashion. Less time means less help for the newbies.
Even with my newbie empathy, my role as a former teacher, and now manager, I still fluctuate between just wanting to do my own job and helping someone else. It’s easier to take on the “every man for himself” mentality, but we need to remember that we all have an obligation to help our industry as a whole.
If together we are all under fire in the trenches and only one of us makes it out alive, is that a success? Or is our unit stronger, fitter, and more revered if we all work together to ensure our survival? As busy as we are with our own jobs, our own to-do lists, and our own challenges, we need to remind ourselves that the reputation of our industry is a burden we all must bear.
The more patience and help we offer, the easier our job will be in the long run. We all need to take some time to help our newbies. Answer some questions, give some sage advice, and offer a little encouragement. We all need to take a moment to help the leper in the hallway.
Amy Gilpin, Realtor, Associate Broker, Manager, ABR.
Fourteen years of helping clients. Six years of helping agents. All for this crazy thing we call real estate.
Production Realty 517-879-4141 Jackson, MI Amy@ProductionRealty.com