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Jan
24

The ‘Dual Career’ Agent: Heaven or Hell?

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Do you have lots of ‘dual career’ agents? In Stefan Swanepoela��s publication, Trends Report 2010, he calls the real estate licensee with another job the a�?dual careera�� agent. Thata��s what we used to call the a�?part-timera��. Although a�?dual careera�� sounds much more important than a�?part-timea��, the result is the same: Less time to devote to the consumer. The conflict that an agent feels when he has another job is causing the consumer to rate our service lower than ever before.

Dual Careerists Are a Growing Trend

More and more real estate agents are getting second jobs to make ends meet. In fact, the 2009 National Association of Realtorsa�� Member Profile says that 26% of Realtors stated that real estate was not their only occupation. (Ia��m sure that many more licensees that arena��t Realtors have other major sources of income). In addition, less than half of all Realtors surveyed reported that real estate was their primary source of household income.

Is the Dual Careerist Doing the Industry–and your Reputation–More Harm than Good?

Having been an agent, manager and owner a long time, I know how difficult it is at times for an agent to a�?hang in therea��, put their heads down, and keep working through tough times. Ita��s a great temptation, and a relief for many to take that other job just to a�?tide them overa��. From the brokera��s perspective, too, keeping the agent at least licensed with the brokerage to get that one transaction seems to be better than losing that one transaction.

Several problems accrue, when the agent gets another job:

  1. The agenta��s mind, energy, and dollars drift away from the needs of the consumer because the agent must focus on another job
  2. The agent cana��t keep up on the technical, legal, and business developments
  3. The consumer demands just cana��t be met when the agent is unavailable for large blocks of time
  4. The broker must carry a much bigger responsibility for the agenta��s transactions

Consumersa�� Trend: The Level of Satisfaction with Agent Services Keeps Declining

The recent survey by the California Association of Realtors shows some stunning and alarming trends.

In 2005, Internet consumers rated their overall satisfaction with their agent at almost 90%, while about traditional buyers rated their overall satisfaction at 37%. However, in the ensuing years, the ratings have plummeted. In 2009, both Internet and traditional buyers only rated their overall satisfaction with their agent at 4%!A� (The ratings of Internet and traditional buyers now are equal). In other words, consumer expectations of what an agent will do for them are just not being met. In fact, value received for what the consumer paid the real estate agent was at only 4% for all buyers.

Trends Collide: Consumer Expectations Rise While Agentsa�� Abilities to Meet Those Expectations Shrink

I know. Youa��re going to tell me that you met a part-timer once that did a great job. Of course. But, as you and I know, thata��s the exception, not the rule. And, leta��s not think a�?inside-outa��. The consumera��s satisfaction here is the only one that counts. They pay our commissions. And, commission rates are falling because they dona��t feel theya��re receiving value from what they are paying.

So, are ‘dual career’ agents doing our industry good–or are they harming our reputations–which then leads to lower commissions–and possibly alternatives to using traditional real estate agents?

What do you think?

In my next blog, I’ll give you what I think is the answer.

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