September 23rd - 2014

Serving as a resource and a mediator

The consumer perception of what we do in our line of work is very different from the reality of my daily activities.

Brian Wilson

Brian Wilson

by Brian Wilhelm

The consumer perception of what we do in our line of work is very different from the reality of my daily activities.

Having been a REALTOR® for 30 years, I find that members of the public do not always have a complete understanding of how we bring value to a real estate transaction. They often think that the biggest part of our job is to find them a house, but that is only a small fraction of how our time is spent. My tasks and activities on a daily basis involve dealing with surveyors, lawyers and bankers, along with my clients. We as an industry need to do more to help the public understand how we can help them and to address the gaps in their perception of what we do. I’ve met people who thought that MLS® stood for Major League Soccer rather than the Multiple Listing System!

In my view, REALTORS® can be both a resource and a mediator to help the public navigate their way through a transaction. The more we can educate the public about the impact we can have on their real estate experience, the stronger we will be as an industry and the better they will perceive us after having reported a smooth and seamless experience at their end.

Most members of the public buy or sell property only a handful of times in their lives, whereas we deal with the forms, clauses and issues related to those transactions every week. There is no substitute for the knowledge that these experiences give us. Our role is to help them through the process, to discuss what they’re signing, to explain the paperwork and legal forms, and raise issues or questions that they may not even think to ask. We are here to save them time and prevent grief.

When my clients see a property they love, I tell them that I’m happy to help them get it, but first I have questions about the lot, the drainage, and the taxes. I want to deal with those bigger issues first.  A REALTOR® can also serve as a valuable go-between. Sometimes the buyers may hate the wall colours at a property, but a REALTOR® can serve as a buffer so that this opinion is not shared with the sellers, who might then feel slighted.

I’ve heard comments such as, ‘Well you sure got paid well for a few days’ worth of work on that deal.’ My response is that my role is to help to speed up the process so that things get done more quickly rather than dragging them out unnecessarily. When you go to the car repair, an experienced mechanic does not take your whole vehicle apart to address the problem. Through years of experience, that person knows how to pinpoint the relevant issues and correct them quickly, saving you time and grief. Their value comes from their knowledge, experience and skills. The same goes for a real estate professional. I will say to my buyers, ‘I will help you to get this house but I want to put a condition in your offer that deals with this particular issue in order to protect you down the road.’

Our job is to inform and protect consumers through this process and to do all of our due diligence so that the process appears smooth to them -- even though we know there were many steps involved. The more the public understands and appreciates our role, the better off they will be and the stronger our profession will be.

Brian Wilhelm is a Stratford REALTOR® and the former president of the Huron Perth Association of REALTORS®. 

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