The beginning of the end for the “taxi-driver” / “tourist guide” Real Estate agent?


“We went to this training on how to shoot correctly photos for Real Estate properties. Instead of teaching us, the trainer was narrating us about the history of photography and the components of a camera. What kind of joke is this?” I had sent two colleagues of mine to the above mentioned training, in order to learn something more from what I would teach them, but the results were not the expected ones. Good that they didn’t go to the training where someone with 0 experience in Real Estate was teaching the fascinated agents that “it is a waste of time to see the properties before you go there with the client”. (Yes, better to give a bank account and ask the client to send the money directly there, I would add, why bothering with site visits?)

Post Crisis Romanian Real Estate environment

Let us leave aside for a moment the period of 2004 – 2008, when Real Estate professionals had all sorts of excuses so as behave wrong. As of 2009 onwards, the crisis has been severe, forcing all people to change so as to survive, to adapt to the new reality where “we work twice as more for half the income we used to earn”. All people I said? I beg your pardon…

Unfortunately nothing has changed for 70 – 80% of the “professionals” active in the Romanian Real Estate world. They continue behaving in the “old traditional way”, a “sweet” mix of arrogance, ignorance, lack of knowledge and total indifference for the client’s needs. Although most of them have participated in all kinds of education programs, despite their declarations during trainings and gatherings, it is their nature that prevents them to change. They always have an excuse why to behave wrong, why they are not responsible for what they do and if they feel unable to pronounce a lie – excuse, they simply disappear.

These people are determined to be unserious and being the majority out there, they hurt the sector’s specific. They only care about money and many of them end up being able to do “whatever” for few Euro of income.

“Basic model”, like “taxi-drivers”, “Full extra”, like “tourist guides”

Unserious agents are split in two categories:

  • “The basic model”, whose only service to a client is to drive him around like a taxi driver, showing him properties. Usually they don’t really care to visit a property before and when they go with the investor, they try to find a way to step aside with the owner and introduce to him. If you push them too much asking to be serious, they redraw themselves to the mist of unknown and stop talking to you.
  • “Full extra model”, who offers advanced services. They have also learned the “poem” of the basic information regarding the property, have visited it before, spoken to the owner etc. They act like a tourist guide, who knows the basics about his work. But don’t ask them too much about papers, surfaces, advantages and disadvantages. When you may confront them with something (for example that the surface is much less than they said / published in the add), they will come up with all kinds of excuses and they will continue mentioning other opportunities, without feeling uncomfortable for their lack of seriousness.

Words, words, words, nothing really changes

Everyone knows about the problem above. This behavior not only hurts the sector, but has also “trained” a generation of clients who, expecting to be treated without respect, approach the Real Estate professionals accordingly. The internet is full of stories regarding wrong behaviors, most of them being real.

Everyone acknowledges that something has to happen but, as usual, 80% of people hate changes, measures and solutions. They prefer words, words and words, without something to really change.

So all the above mentioned lovely “taxi drivers” and “tourist agents” thought that they could go on like this forever (or maybe they don’t care, they just live for today. Tomorrow is too far away and it is not their fault if they think like this, Basescu / Ponta / Isarescu / Obama / World crisis / Greenpeace / Becali in prison is to blame)

Technology and evolution changes what people did not want to

All the above are well known and lots of “faux” entrepreneurs thought that the situation would never change. Well, nature hates idle situations. Combine its rules with technology and evolution and you have the perfect problem for the unserious people.

Life does not wait. I was explaining to a friend of mine, top player in the sector: “In maximum 3 years from now, the sites will be the interface between owners and clients, at least in some categories of properties like the very low cost transactions, either you prefer to work with agencies or not. In the end you will be obliged to add an application to your site that will allow me to walk on the street and be informed for the properties available for rent around me, it is an inevitable progress”.

This autumn 2 sites with general adds started an aggressive campaign promoting the idea that an owner of a property can post his add for free in their page and the client can contact him directly, bypassing the Real Estate agent. The success was tremendous, obviously. Who doesn’t like to avoid paying money, especially for “people who do nothing” as the whole sector is accused due to the unserious ones?

This is not going to be the end of the Real Estate consultant profession, only the ones who cannot justify their services will face problems. Why is that? Because if people don’t feel the need of paying for your services, when they find the chance to avoid them, they will do it happily. But this is not valid for all properties and all clients.

When one was asking a “taxi-driver” Real Estate agent why he behaves like this, his reply was that he does not do it, he has loyal clients and he is very successful. So now, I don’t think he should be upset if the clients call directly to the owners. His own clients will continue trusting him, no?

What is your opinion?


Next week: What will be the role of Real Estate Consultant in the near future?


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