What an incredible post Sally from Hawaii wrote about us Real Estate Agents selling homes.
Before I got into the Real Estate Business, I was an employee for various companies here in Florida and in Germany. I also must admit that I was also stereotyping the real estate agents just like the little boy in the story.
Not only does the little boy acknowledge Real Estate Agents are rich, but where does his comment come from?
It is the buyers, sellers and the consumers who has never experienced the real estate business.
What do you consider rich?
Many people will tend to look at the success of others by their status, title, label or how financially stable they are. The career choice of an individual just starting out in the work force most likely is an employee who works for a monthly salary or paid by the hour.
During the course of our lives we settle in to a ‘job' (career) that we enjoy...or at the very least one that we make a good living so as to support ourselves and families. We may change paths frequently or we remain on the ladder of success or just a routine to pay the bills.
I'm getting to the story....bear with me.
The CEO of a company most likely makes a lot of money (right?) He/She has worked their way up the ladder and became so successful that they are head of the company and have many others working underneath them; therefore, they most likely have a BIG income.
On the other hand, there are the Independent Contractors who are Small Business Owners. Bob's Pizza's owner is Bob. Bob is well respected in the community for his deep dish pizza with homemade sausage on it. His status is OWNER so he of course he makes a bunch of money. Right?
I changed career paths a few times during the course of my life. I was Administrative Assistant for a Family Law Attorney for many years and did the same for a non-profit program for structured living. I've waitressed in fine dining and volunteered for youth centers.
And then I chose the path of Real Estate.
I remember often the five second conversation I had with a client's 10 year old boy a few years ago. He asked, "You're rich because you sell houses, right?" I politely said, "No, I'm not rich but I do get my bills paid." What else do I say to a young boy who ‘heard' that all real estate agents are rich?
Well, here's a bit of info for all:
- The market is slow, prices are up and down and there aren't as many closed sales as previous years. (I really wish I were "rich" like in those days lol)
- I live in Hawaii where cost of living is a bit higher than many other states. (But I go to Costco just like anyone else to ‘get a deal')
- Homes for sale or rent are higher than many states. Therefore, my morgage is higher than most too; so I'm not exempt from payments either.
- I have to pay federal, state and Hawaii General Excise Tax every quarter on all money I make. (So contrary to popular believe I am not exempt to taxes)
- I do not get that whole % commission you believe I get..... because both the buyer/seller brokerage get their cut (on top of franchise fees, Errors and Omissions Insurance and so on and so forth...not to mention if it's a short sale and the bank hacks the commission ....or else)
- ALL expenses come out of MY pocket and I do not get a salary or hourly rate to cover ANY of these expenses. (I've had a couple clients flat out tell me that I can stop and buy them lunch because I can deduct it)
- I can't really ‘afford' to hand out money, time and incur a lot of expenses (lunch, gas, gifts) to be your tour guide because you're bored that day. (or so you can get all the info you can to list your house FSBO...Good luck!)
So, in the end what am I left with?
Taking care of my client's needs and respected for a job well done.
I'll remember to tell that 10 year old boy the next time we meet.....
That yes..... I am rich.