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Can this industry really change?

I figured it is a good time to talk about what I do right now.. You know, my current “career” now that I am out of coffee. Back in 2018, my wife and I started a real estate team (then with Keller Williams Central OK). In July of 2019, we moved our group to the “new to Oklahoma” Engel & Volkers – a global luxury brand of real estate advisors and professionals that we felt like cared about details, people, and brand like we did.

The Duncan Group has enjoyed the national support of Engel & Volkers and the people we have met during this time. We had the opportunity to be a part of the opening of the Downtown Edmond branch office (which was hugely important to us after the years and years we have spent in this community) and it has gone really well despite opening basically the week COVID hit hard.

But, there has always just been a “thing” about calling myself a Realtor…. I don’t know if I can really put my finger on it but it seems that month after month, I’m beginning to understand what it is… First, though, I wanted to talk about about our team and foundation.

The Duncan Group – Engel & Völkers Edmond

Relationships matter. That is what we are built on and nothing will ever be more important. Ever. While we do need to pay our bills and feed our kids, we aren’t in this to always be measuring our ranks in the OKC market or our sales numbers. It is not about our numbers.

If real estate was about the houses, it would be easy – but it is not. It is about the PEOPLE. People who buy them. People who make them homes. People who see a bright future in them. Start families. Traditions. New Beginnings. It is about the PEOPLE that make memories there.

Our goal is to help people navigate the purchase of their memory maker. We work for them. Alongside them. With their best interest at heart.

We have built a team of other vendors (inspectors, lenders, title companies, handy workers, etc…) that feel the same way and, together, help our clients along the path towards their next place.

Our team is their team.

We like to ask this simple question: How can we help make your real estate journey easier?

My wife has been doing real estate for years now and when we joined forces and started the Duncan Group, we set out to “Do Real Estate Differently.” Do it in a way that really makes this career what it is – a matchmaker, tour guide, advisor, friend to the people actually buying and selling their homes. We just always felt like it wasn’t about us but about the people we have the opportunity to advise and represent as they dig into what is typically a nervous, anxious, and complicated time and transaction.

The other member of our team is Jenni’s mom, Patti. She has YEARS of real estate experience in several states as well as being a licensed appraiser in Oklahoma and Montana (maybe even Colorado – can’t remember for sure). It adds SO MUCH value to our clients (both buyers and sellers) to have her on the team and she is great with people, too, which is a magic fit. Not all real estate teams have a licensed appraisers “opinion” on pricing a listing or putting in a smart offer so we value her THIS much.

And this is where it gets tough for me….

It Just Isn’t About The Agent

I have learned over the past few years that many get into this business with the idea that it is easy money, and that once an agent that there is some sort of right to the money, the fame, and the credit. That there is this ownership of the client. Thats all just so crazy.

They are not “your buyers” or “your sellers.”

In fact, they hired you so you are THEIR agent. You work for them. They don’t owe anything to an agent that does a bad job or doesn’t do the work. Agents are fireable. Agents aren’t even a part of a real estate contract! People hire a professional in real estate because they know they will have questions. That they don’t know all the lines of the contract they will be signing. That they don’t have time in their day to be on the phone and email getting a tough transaction too close. They might not even know what a title company is or where a title company is located.

That is why they called you. That’s it. They believe you are the right person to represent them, tell the story of their home, act on their behalf, and be there when they need you. It isn’t vice versa. Ever (or at least it shouldn’t be).

This Industry Is Under Fire

The industry of real estate is under fire because these “professionals” are not doing their part. They are forgetting that it is the client that matters most. That they answer to. That is in control of the relationship.

We have professionals that are not doing their part to collaborate with others. To learn and keep educated on what those documents actually say. To do the work in the dark that isn’t glamorous or worthy of some HGTV reality show.

To keep up with trends. To take and make tough calls….

This industry is on fire because there are agents not doing their part to represent their clients and the word is out. It feels like I spend a good percentage of my time per week defending my role as a real estate advisor. Proving my worth of what I make and what I am asking clients to pay because they had a bad experience in the past.

It just shouldn’t be that way and it is time for this industry to change.

Can it change?

I believe it can. I want it too. I want to see a broad band of agents treating their business like a business. Knowing the numbers. Getting better everyday. Taking home state contracts several times a year to really read them, know them, be able to tell their clients line by line what they are signing if asked.

I want to see even more collaboration. I want to trust other agents.

We as an industry can do better. We must do better. Our clients deserve that or they will do it on their own and / or let companies like Zillow and Red Fin come in and buy / sell for them and just bypass us.

We have to give them the value of the dollars we make. There are lots of real estate professionals that work their asses off day in and day out on behalf of their clients and are worth every penny in the end. There are also so many that don’t even do that halfway (and still take home good pay).

So, what about me?

I don’t care as much for cute design, trendy houses, or fancy pictures as I do about the people that make these things even exist. I don’t really care about touring all the homes all the time as much as I do about really learning to be a better story teller and information bank for my clients.

I want to be better at celebrating THEIR wins.

In 2021, my goal in real estate is simply to be the best I can be for other agents, my clients, and anyone that has any sort of real estate question because the other agents in this market need that from me. I need to do my best to keep the good reputation of this career path for those that are working hard to make it their job. If there is one weak link in this chain, our industry and the PEOPLE WE SERVE all hurt from it.

Let’s do this together. No matter the commission. No matter the budget. No matter what.

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