The invention of the internet has had a positive impact on the world, on the whole. Information has become far more readily available, making it easier than ever to learn and share knowledge. Everyone on the face of the earth has gotten a little bit closer together, as the space between us is narrowed by the ease with which we can communicate.
As with any other great invention, however, the internet has brought with it some unfortunate downsides. Not the least of these downsides is, of course, misinformation. One person shares flawed information, the next person shares a distorted version of that, and before you know it you’ve got a community that vehemently argues that the earth is flat and birds aren’t real.
Much as it has affected every other profession and trade, misinformation has done a number on the public’s perception of real estate. Myths and misconceptions spread a lot faster on the internet than they do via word-of-mouth, and the professionals who work in real estate have to bear their fair share of the consequences that result from this misinformation. So what are some of the most common misconceptions about real estate, and what is the truth? Let’s find out!
1: Real Estate Professionals Get Rich Quick
This is a belief that seems to be quite common among rookie real estate professionals and clients alike. The idea that real estate is a field in which you can earn a fortune as soon as you get your realtor’s license is appealing, but it is also patently false. Much the same as in any other profession, those who reach the top of the ladder in the real estate world work to earn their place there.
This isn’t to say that you can achieve stellar goals as a real estate professional; on the contrary, in fact! A determined, ambitious realtor can go further than they could in virtually any other profession, potentially opening up the possibility of unbelievable wealth. This, however, only comes with hard work, commitment and consistent self improvement.
2. All Real Estate Professionals are Opportunists
Despite the fact they serve an important role in the modern business world, real estate professionals have garnered a somewhat negative reputation among the general populace. Wild stories about conniving realtors are passed from person to person, getting wilder every time they’re told. This leads many to believe that all realtors operate disingenuously or unethically.
This, for the most part, is simply not true. As with every profession, there are bad examples of realtors and real estate agents who mistreat or exploit their clients but this is far from representative of the real estate community as a whole. Most real estate agents are upstanding individuals who simply want the best for their clients and everyone involved.
3. The Standard Commission is Six Percent
Don’t ask us why, but there are quite a few common misconceptions about real estate agent commissions. One of the most common is the fabled “six percent standard” that many buyers and sellers believe to be a legislatively regulated standard commission. The simple fact of the matter is that there is no standard commission.
Real estate agents and brokerages have the freedom to set their own commission rates, and you’ll find a reasonable amount of variety from real estate agent to real estate agent. As long as the commission isn’t so low that it violates anti-competitive pricing legislation, your real estate agent is free to be flexible with their pricing!
4. All Expenses are Comped
While this one certainly isn’t the case, we can guarantee you that every real estate agent wishes it were! This common misconception about real estate agents dictates that their expenses – fuel, food, hotels and other costs – are covered by their brokerages. They aren’t! Real estate agents are expected to cover all these expenses themselves, out of pocket.
It might not seem like a lot to the uninitiated, but real estate agents spend fortunes on travel, hospitality, food and all the other costs associated with selling real estate and helping people buy it. Between sales that fall through and clients that are “still not sure”, the average real estate agent has a lot of financial weight on their shoulders and theirs alone.
5. Home Inspections are pass/fail
Come on guys; we’re not in middle school anymore! While it’s completely preposterous once you give it some thought, the idea that homes simply pass or fail inspection is surprisingly common among both homebuyers and homeowners. In reality, homes are rated for their safety on a topical basis, with note made of damage or causes for concern wherever they appear.
Home inspections are typically done by a third party firm that provides an objective, unbiased evaluation of the home being sold and any damage it may have sustained. There’s generally very little interaction between the sellers or the buyers and the inspector, as their job is simply to inform all parties of issues that may have gone unnoticed or unmentioned.
6. Realtors don’t have to work as Hard as those in Other Fields
You’ve heard it a million times if you’ve heard it once: “Guys, this new job is amazing! I get to choose my own hours, so I’m basically getting paid twice as much for half the work!” As anyone who’s ever had a job with a “flexible schedule” can confirm, realtors don’t work less just because they have more control over their personal timetable.
Sure, in theory a realtor can work as few hours as they like. However, real estate is a career in which you get exactly as much as you give. If you’re slothful and unmotivated, you’ll earn less; if you spend all your time working, you’ll earn more. Making your own schedule doesn’t mean working less, at least not in the world of real estate. If anything, it means working more!
7. One Real Estate agent is as Good as any Another
Of all the myths and misconceptions on this list, this one really takes the cake. It’s not hard to see why someone might believe this, if you think about it. From the perspective of someone on the outside, real estate can seem like a simple straightforward profession. “I’ll just go with the cheapest option” a homebuyer might think “after all, why is this realtor so much more expensive than that one?”
Differences in price often reflect a difference in quality of service or experience. All men may be created equal, but real estate professionals are most certainly not. By paying for a more costly realtor, you secure a wealth of experience, knowledge and skill that a cheaper real estate agent likely just doesn’t have. As in many other fields, you get what you pay for!