Residential real estate touches on almost every aspect of business and life. It is about where and how people will live, how that way of life will be achieved, and each and every part of that journey. Personal finance, plumbing and electrical systems, school districts and kitchen storage all are important and relevant to the purchase of a primary residence.
Given this, it is no surprise that the most successful real estate offices often have individuals from a wide variety of backgrounds. The simple fact is that most real estate agents have some other professional occupation in their background. According to the National Association of Realtors, only 4% of realtors went straight into real estate as a primary occupation. And yet 82% are very certain they will remain active in the real estate market for at least the next 2 years.
Valuing Real Estate Employee Diversity
It is inaccurate to refer to real estate agents as employees, since 9 out of 10 members of the National Association of Realtors are independent contractors of their affiliated firms. A majority of those firms are also independent. This means that creating a “dream team” of real estate agents in an office with a diverse range of backgrounds is easier in real estate than in other service occupations where employment is beginning to replace independence.
Although there are few barriers to building a diverse real estate agency, the right balance is not achieved on its own. Both the management and the real estate agents themselves need to see the value in diversity. These benefits are not only financial. Working at a real estate agency with agents of other professional backgrounds makes for better real estate agents for a several reasons.
Specialized Knowledge To Close More Deals
One of the most obvious ways is that real estate agents get to work with someone who is “on the same side of the table”, that is to say, someone who is trying to make a living on commissions from selling real estate. These fellow agents know the importance of every transaction. They know the challenges in getting listings, finding buyers, overcoming obstacles and closing deals.
This desire to get to a successful closing with happy buyers and sellers is combined in fellow agents with an insider’s understanding of one of the specialized fields involved in residential real estate. It is a potent combination. Rather than just seeing reasons why a sale won’t go through, these agents can provide a path to solving problems.
Experience Translates Into Power
Someone who has worked on something like HVAC systems is much better equipped to solve an HVAC problem than someone who has read a home inspection report about a HVAC system. A fellow agent is likely to be more motivated to finding a less expensive solution to a problem than someone who is hired to solve the problem. They may also have connections to others still active in that field who will be willing to do enough work to solve the problem without going any farther.
These connections can be extremely valuable. Sometimes a small job is too small even for tradesmen who claim otherwise in marketing materials. Besides, every good self-employed tradesman is a salesman looking for additional work at the same job site. A tradesman who is an acquaintance of someone formerly in that trade stands to garner additional work from the entire real estate agency if they are willing to solve small problems at a reasonable cost.
Diverse Employees Create A More Collaborative Environment
Even problems that are not serious enough to require bringing in a tradesman or other professional can derail a real estate transaction. Sometimes all that is necessary is a second-opinion from someone experienced in the field. The value of an in-house expert is that they can provide a quick answer to “Does this sound right to you?”
The answer to that question is sometimes “yes”. Sometimes a report or inspection uncovers real problems that are expensive and difficult to fix. This can lead to tough choices for a buyer or a seller, and a real estate agent who can help those parties with the facts of a situation brings value to the table. Even a decision not to move forward with a transaction builds a stronger relationship, planting the seeds of future transactions.