Warning! Not All Agents are Created Equal
I was in a Broker class yesterday. It was led by a Tennessee Real Estate Commission Board member. In my own paraphrase, the class was a warning that not all agents are created equal. And, while the attendees already knew that, the point was driven home even more by what we learned.
The Tennessee Real Estate Commission or, TREC, receives complaints from consumers against real estate licensees. They, along with their counsel, determine the outcome of those complaints. Results range from dismissal of the complaint to revocation of licenses. In some cases, agents may only receive a written warning. In other cases, agents must pay a fine and/or attend a certain number of hours of continuing education. We were given examples of actual complaints and how they were handled.
What was most interesting to the attendees (all attendees were Brokers, therefore, everyone had been licensed for a minimum of 3 years and most have been licensed for many more than that) is the lack of professionalism in the real estate industry today. I hate to say that out loud since that is my career, however, I think it’s important to acknowledge in the spirit of protecting the consumer. It is very easy to get a real estate license. And though there are requirements for continuing education, it may not be enough. The industry is changing so rapidly, that agents need to be educating themselves constantly. They need to attend events where they learn about products, industry changes, etc. and they need to become an expert. That is what consumers pay us for.
I would warn that not all agents are created equal. When you are hiring an agent, here are some questions you can ask. You may also want to ask if they have ever had a complaint filed against them. Like any industry, there are bad apples, but also, good intending people make mistakes. If an agent has had a complaint filed against them, find out what the outcome was. It may not be a deal breaker. Most of all, it is likely that they learned from that mistake and it won’t happen again. Make sure they are a Broker or have a Broker they can go to for help. And don’t be afraid to ask questions along the way. Agents should protect you and should help take the stress out of buying or selling real estate, not cause more anxiety in the process!
Michelle Froedge is a residential Realtor and Principal Broker in the Greater Nashville and Williamson County areas of Tennessee. “Mom” to four-legged fur babies, Tyler and Livvie, Auntie to Zelamie, she is a vegetarian and sings in her spare time. Michelle has lived in Nashville and Franklin since 1997 and has been selling homes since 2004.