The High-Touch Business of Full-Service Real Estate
By Lennox Scott
In my travels to real estate events around the country, I hear from
agents and brokers that in the face of limited-service providers and
negative media, they are being asked more than ever by their clients
to justify their value as full-service real estate professionals.
Before I tackle this subject, I think a little historical perspective
is in order.
Limited-service providers are not new to our business. In 1995, the
real estate industry was quick to embrace the benefits of the Internet
and the enhancements it could make to our client's home-buying/-selling
experience. Soon thereafter, discount dot-coms began cropping up all
over the country, threatening that they would be the demise of the
full-service real estate model.
However, with time, most of these limited-service providers failed
because they underestimated the value of a full-service real estate
professional and the investment that is required to meet the unique
needs of each individual client. They thought they could revolutionize
the real estate industry without ever having to leave their computers.
But they were wrong.
Real estate is a "high-touch" business in which our clients
make one of the most significant financial and emotional purchases
of their lives. It is disrespectful to all involved to suggest that
the entirety of this experience can be limited to e-mail and phone
conversations. Full-service real estate professionals are out in the
neighborhoods, exploring communities, visiting listings, performing
marketing analyses and collecting all the information that our clients
need to make an informed, confident decision about their real estate
We have the long-term relationships with the lenders, inspectors,
appraisers and contractors, and we are fully trained in contract law
and negotiations. This level of service simply cannot be provided
by someone who sits behind a computer all day. Furthermore, home buyers/sellers
should expect more from their real estate agent than minimal effort.
I recently spoke with some John L. Scott brokers/agents and asked
them what sets full-service real estate providers apart from discount/limited-service
providers. As trite as it might sound to some, the overwhelming answer
was "we care." Not just about the transaction or the compensation
they receive for that transaction, but rather they care about the
long-term happiness and livelihood of their clients.
As real estate professionals, our value is defined by the investment
we make in each and every client. That's because we are about the
full experience of buying, selling and owning a piece of the American
Dream. Our hope is that the relationship does not end when the transaction
has closed, because for us, being a full-service real estate professional
means having valuable relationships with our clients for life.
At some point, every full-service real estate broker/agent is asked
to reduce their commission, but as I remind my agents, rarely are
doctors, lawyers or accountants asked to discount their services,
so why should we?
My advice to my full-service counterparts around the country is to
live and breathe the positive affirmation that we are all respected
real estate professionals that are valued for our experience, our
competency and our integrity. If you reflect this in all things that
you do, your value can never be diminished-or discounted.
Lennox Scott is the Chairman and CEO of John L. Scott Real Estate.
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