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I love this question. I can’t speak for all agents, but I’ve been an agent for a long time, so I’ve had a long time to think about this.

The number one thing that I want professionally, is clients who respect my time and the professional boundaries of what I actually do. Clients who understand that I’m not your therapist, your maid, your groundskeeper, your home health care worker, or your friend (unless we were friends before you became my client, in which case, we both need to separate those roles somewhat during your transaction, for the sake of your purchase or sale). Yes, I do have clients that I grow to like a lot, and sometimes, we do become friends over time, but that typically happens over many months or longer. In short, respect is the number one thing I value from my clients. I give a whole lot to each client, and in return, I simply want a little respect. As an agent, and as a human being.

There really does seem to be a cultural angst in the U.S. when it comes to real estate agents, and for good reason I suppose. Most agents are part-time, have few credentials outside of a real estate license, and are not tuned in to what is happening in the local markets. And then people give them their business, and wonder why they aren’t happy with the service they’ve received. People need to remember that at least 80% of the agents in a given market aren’t prepared to give seasoned, professional advice. It’s easy to question the motivations of someone who hasn’t sold a house in a year’s time.

I really wish consumers would learn to choose their agent wisely, so that they have a positive experience, and then they don’t have to later complain about their agent to everyone they know. If you aren’t feeling that your agent did an outstanding job, chances are good that you made a poor choice of representative. It drives me crazy that consumers choose agents poorly, reward the agents who shouldn’t be in this business to begin with, with a large commission, and then complain later on. It perpetuates the notion that all real estate agents are greedy, don’t care about their clients, and can’t be trusted. But I know for a fact that there are highly professional, ethical, trustworthy and successful agents out there. Find one for goodness’ sake! Respect yourself and your large sale or purchase enough to look for an agent who has done more than meet the minimum standard for selling houses . . . which is having a pulse, and holding a real estate license!

The ethics of being a good real estate agent matter a whole lot to me. So much so, that I have spent the last nine years volunteering at the state and local board, on the Professional Standards committee. Through that experience, I’ve learned two things. 1) Consumers just don’t get it, and they are often the source of the problems that evolve in transactions because they lie at rates that far exceed the rates that Realtors lie; and 2) the barriers to entry in this business are just too low. There are markers for those who have far exceeded the minimal requirements to sell homes (education, business experience, sales experience, character, community standing, etc.), and those are the people who should be rewarded with the business. I guarantee, the respect levels for our profession would increase many times over, if the bad apples simply didn’t get any more business.

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