Why real estate agents AREN’T trusted.

You only need to Google ‘least trusted professions’. Real Estate will no doubt be on that list.

So.. What are we DOING about it – what are we GOING to do about it?

How can we create a better name for our industry?

I don’t know about you, but I think it’s sad when the profession you love gets such a bad rating from the outside world.

In the past when I have told people that I worked in real estate, I’ve actually had people say to me… Oh I thought you were honest!

It’s also sad when you go to someones house and they don’t trust you….even before you walk in the door. Although in this scenario, it also makes it that much better when you do win over their trust.

Whilst many professions have rogues, why is it that real estate is always at the bottom of the list? Why do we have such a bad reputation?

Firstly let’s analyse why real estate is one of the least trusted professions.


1) Dishonesty

Not telling the truth.

How do we fix it?

Tell the truth, it’s a simple concept.

2) Underquoting 

When buyers believe they are going to be able to buy a property and they have been given the wrong price. They proceed to spend money on inspections etc, only to find out that they can’t afford the property.

How do we fix it?

NSW Fair Trading and Consumer Affairs Victoria have brought in strict rules about Underquoting. This has helped greatly with strict penalties imposed.

What else can we do… Don’t underquote! Refer to number one.

3) Property Management

NSW Fair Trading now release statistics regarding complaints from consumers on businesses in NSW. The statistics recorded against real estate agents shows that a large majority of complaints are to do with property management.

I will say though, that in property management there are many things that can go wrong that are out of an agent’s hands.

A lot of the time it’s not the agents fault, for example if an owner refuses to fix things around the property, the agent gets blamed.

If a tenant doesn’t look after a property the agent gets blamed.

As a property manager you need to make sure you have good quality properties, good quality owners AND that you source great tenants.

Some agents may look at short term gains in rental commissions however you need to weigh up that you may take on many many other associated problems.

How can we fix it?

Do your best to look after the tenant and the owner’s property. Try and build relationships built on trust. Make sure you only take on good properties and good owners. Do not take on landlords that make you look bad. Source great tenants.

4) Emotions

When people are buying and selling a property it’s an emotional time. There are all sorts of reasons why they are buying or selling and sometimes their emotions are directed at the person that’s in the firing line. Normally that’s us.

How can we fix it?

We have to be understanding and be very aware of people’s emotions.

5) When there are 2 buyers that want to buy a property

Someone is going to miss out and sometimes one of those will blame the agent.

How can we fix it?

Be transparent with each buyer. Let them know what’s happening each step of the way. That’s all you can do.

6) Trust account fraud

There have been many instances of trust account fraud.

How can we fix it?

NSW Fair trading are bringing in strict new rules about trust accounts and in NSW you will need to have 2 trust accounts with the licensee in charge having sole responsibility for disbursements and its operation.

And.. it goes without saying… Don’t ever dip into trust accounts. Have procedures in place that makes it difficult for anyone to commit trust account fraud.

7) Bad Blood

When people have had a bad experience with a real estate agent and they generalise that all agents are the same.

How can we fix it?

We can only change how people see us one experience at a time.

8) Incompetent and dishonest agents

Agents that don’t know what they are doing or agents that don’t care.

How can we fix it?

Every profession has those that don’t do the right thing.

There are many procedures that are already in place that will eventually highlight the ‘bad ones’ in all industries.

As mentioned earlier, NSW Fair trading has adopted the complaints register. NSW Fair trading has also brought in, and continues to make, stricter licensing laws, making the licensee more accountable for the actions of their staff and the office as a whole, along with stricter CPD points control.

With these things already in place, plus more public interaction on social media with what actually happens, it’s only a matter of time before the rogue agents get sorted.

9) Hiring and monitoring staff

Make sure your staff are doing the right thing. If not, it’s not only your reputation that suffers. It’s the whole industry.

How can we fix the way we are seen by the public?

We can all help – with the things listed above and…

At the end of the day we are all responsible for our own actions. We can only control our own actions and our own integrity.

We can fix this one agent at a time.

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