So you think that REALTORS(R) can’t understand?

Many perceive REALTORS (R) as high income earners who are far removed from the effects of the recession.  There are those who believe that REALTORS(R) work only 3 hours a day and spend several weeks on some tropical island, every year. Some believe that to be a REALTOR(R), one has to drive a Mercedes or a Lexus in order to be successful.

Let me put the record straight!

Firstly,  I drive a black Ford truck.  Yup,  I am a truck kind of gal and I bought local!  Made in the good ole US of A!  And you know what?  It’s not always as clean as I’d like because I live close to the ocean and the birds like to (shall we say ) ‘drop’ on my car?

Still,  even though I don’t drive a luxury vehicle,  it’s paid for!  IN FULL and I am extremely proud of that, considering that I settled the balance of almost $5000 in one check!

So,  that said, you’re probably thinking that REALTORS(R) are ‘flush’ with their cash flow and especially since I paid my truck off, I must be ‘in the money’?


I have not escaped the recession and for me,  the big black cloud looms just as truly for me as for you!  I wrote three Offers last week and none of them saw an Escrow opened, because the buyers either changed their minds (because they were just plain scared) or they had no intention of buying, anyway (we see a lot of that).

It’s understandable to be scared in this ecomony – I mean, none of us really knows what tomorrow will bring! Yet, that said, we have to understand what got us here in the first place:

When the economy shows signs of stress, people get nervous and they stop spending.  When consumers stop buying, retailers stop stocking and when retailers stop stocking, manufacturers stop producing.  With a dowturn in manufacturing, there are layoffs,  which create unemployment, which further curbs spending and the cycle begins again.

Thus is the nature of our recession.

REALTORS(R), while they are perceived as high income earners, are the target of recessionary thinking – “If I have to take a drop in sale price on my house, then you must take a drop in percentage”.  OK……  If the seller sold for a million dollars in good times, a regular brokerage fee (it doesn’t all go to the REALTOR, BTW), would be 3%, making the brokerage fee $30,000.  In the present market, that same house would probably sell for about $650,000 – a brokerage fee of 3% would be $19,500 – quite a difference, yes?  Yet STILL, we are being told that WE must tak a hit on our commission? WHY?

I say that with the lowered selling  price, we already are!

Still,  there are cut-prce REALTORS(R) out there, quite prepared to put a sign in the ground for 2.5% of a reduced list price and then do nothing!  Such is the way of the world, I guess.

But please don’t think that we don’t understand what is going on around us.  Please don’t think that because we see lowered prices, short sales and foreclosures everyday, means that we don’t care.  Some of us are living through what you are experiencing, too!

We completely understand that you have mouths to feed and one of you has been laid off.  That the kids need medical treatment and you can’t make your car payment and/or your mortgage payment and are facing foreclosure.  And you wonder why no-one understands?


You see,  I am a REALTOR(R) and I earn only only when I sell something.  My husband was laid off yesterday – yes,  his company made redundant everyone in his position … throughout the nation,  those top managers are now out of work.  After 12 years of loyal service, my husband was laid off – hey…  give me a couple of weeks to get my head around that, OK?  Still,  I don’t have a couple of weeks – my husband is a heart patient (3 heart attacks in two weeks, four years ago and another 2 just recently) and if he goes into another heart attack his surgery costs about $100,000!  We NEED medical insurance,  which pretty soon (like 2 weeks) we won’t have!  Right now,  I am working just to keep my husband alive!

No,  we don’t have children living at home, but we have one son who goes to college next year and 3 other dependants (as a result of a death in the family) who we have to support and one wonders, with buyers scared and sellers cutting commission, how we will manage.

Is this any different to the way that YOU are thinking?  Are my problems any different to yours?

I don’t have time to think of the ‘how’.  I am too busy trying to combat the fear in buyers and sellers and try as I might, I can’t seem to make people understand that I really DO care – I really CAN help them, because I understand what they are going through and I have the tools, skills and experience to assist them.

So,  if you believe that REALTORS(R) don’t understand what you are going through, think again!  I am not alone…..we’re right there with you, facing the same trials and tribulations – the same life’s challenges, health issues and financial burdens as you and we are also concerned as to how we will make ends meet.

I’m not going to pull the wool over your eyes – the economy is in a mess, but I’ll say this: it has to start somewhere and there really isn’t a better time to buy property than now when the interest rates are low and the property prices are pretty much bottomed out (see my next blog post from the CAR/NAR).  If you look at every other recession we have ever had,  the movement of cash started with the housing market, so the sooner we can get property moving,  the sooner we will get to freeing up some cash flow and people can get jobs again.

Unless we spend, this country will grind to a halt and if that happens,  the world economy will implode.  Is that what we want?  I agree that charity starts at home,  but to see the world starve because we are afraid to spend, is just plain short-sighted.

The December holiday spending was down on last year – January spending was up on the last 10 years!  Is this because consumers were buying on the sales?  Who cares!  Look at your budget and spend accordingly and if this means that you buy from the 99c Store,  that’s fine – just keep the money flowing!

Remember the stories of families eating beans 6 nights a week and as a treat, the seventh night was Spam, because that was the only meat they could afford?  Let’s get back to basics and do what is necessary to afford to pay our overheads and still keep the roof over our families heads. Keeping up with the Joneses is for those who want to go into foreclosure – let’s brainstorm as to how we can cut costs but still keep the economy flowing.

Any ideas?  I am looking forward to your input.


Althea Garner
Executive Real Estate
House Of Homes Online
(714) 264-3458

Search over 50,000 listings at my web site:

Women’s Council of REALTORS(R):
Treasurer – 2008 (Coastal-West)
Webmaster – 2009 (Long Beach)
Editor – 2009 (Long Beach)
Education Committee – 2009 (California State)

Orange County Association of REALTORS(R):
Education Chair – 2009


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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This is so true,since people are afraid of loosing more money.
    “When the economy shows signs of stress, people get nervous and they stop spending. “

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