More, Better, Bigger, Best! Hurry!
With the rash of reality TV shows about real estate, one thing has stood out for me more than the fakery, absurdity, and out-and-out lies they present about our industry: It is the pressure for agents to do more, be “better," "bigger," more like performers than bona fide consultants who do a very necessary and meaningful service for their clients.
I am seeing videos where agents prance about like monkeys on a string to delight followers on social media and get media share—and I find it not to be about the houses and what they are actually doing.
As someone who consistently markets my brand, I understand that the public has a fascination with who the players are behind the scenes. My own marketing firm has told me that whenever my picture is in the marketing, the views go up. They ask me to do videos and to be present in my ads so they get more market share. OK, but what is getting lost are the houses themselves, which should matter to buyers, and how to present the property in the best light.
We are not supposed to be aspiring "influencers" or selling products other than houses. I remember in my very early days at a major company, they had us wear mustard-colored jackets and upsell home renovation products that "just happened" to be business partners with the company. I never did that, because I believe people should do exactly what they want to do, and as realtors we hold a sacred trust with our clients to give them meaningful, truthful information, and not assert or monetize any of the information we give them.
I watch videos my colleagues make and many of them are gorgeous presentations of the homes themselves. But when a friend who is a top-rated agent in Southern California is boasting he uses members of Steven Spielberg's film crew to shoot his videos, and he himself is tap dancing (literally) and singing along with actors he has hired for the video, yes, it is cute and funny, and he finally gets to utilize his film degree from USC, but it really ultimately does nothing to sell the house—just to garner a second's worth of attention—and that is the problem.
The short attention span, the shiny new object syndrome, the reckless, quick pace at which we are all forced to do things is actually detrimental to a home sale. Slapdash on the paint, dump large amounts of mulch in the yard, gloss over everything (including important disclosures) and distract focus—hocus-pocus over here, not over there. It becomes an unhealthy environment for our industry. I am sure you have seen the articles where people are decrying the condition of properties that had been renovated on those home shows. Well, when properties are being underrepresented in their actuality, and over-hyped in the media circus, we all lose.
A large part of home real estate representation is educating our buyers and sellers. It can be made fun and exciting, but content should be king. Not just evoking a mood. Not to mention, the heavy cost involved in marketing properties this way means that only agents with deep pockets can do this sort of advertising, which means the playing field is forever skewed against those with fewer means. It means only the top brokerages have the tools to compete, and perpetuates a very stratified real estate environment. One that I clearly benefit from, but not a fair one. It is a complicated thing to try to discuss, but I know a lot of really excellent agents who do not have the means to hire Steven Spielberg's film crew. Nor should they have to in order to succeed.
Making the difference between a good sale and a great one.