Mythbusting: Is Real Estate a Cut-Throat Business?

Careers,  Buyers and sellers

There’s a preconceived notion that the world of real estate is a dog-eat-dog, cut-throat environment where only the fittest survive and a single bad month can end your career. There’s no denying that real estate is competitive – there are a finite number of properties to be sold at any one time and each agent wants to be the one listing as many as possible. There’s a stark difference, however, between competition and outright hostility.

However, it still begs the question: is real estate a cut-throat business?

If you peel back the competitive nature of sales, you’ll find an underlying mutual respect and appreciation. On the day, an agent will use all their experience to secure that listing ahead of any competitors the vendor is in talks with, but the respect remains. As Rebecca Herbst, Sales Manager at BeesNees City Realty says, “it always reflects poorly on yourself if you put another agent down, it shows you’re not a very nice person.” But on top of refusing to disparage one another, agents are also open to being supportive and working together. “I go out for drinks and have lunch with Angela [Stergou] from Leo Tsimpikas, or she’ll call me looking for another opinion – we help each other with that kind of thing,” she says. “Also Ben [Jackson] from MetroCity will often call me regarding the managing side of things just to ask for advice or to bounce ideas off each other, so we know we can always call other agents for help and support.”

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That isn’t to say there isn’t still a healthy amount of competition between them, but ultimately there’s a level of friendship and respect that transcends winning a single listing. “Ben and I just went for the same house in South Brisbane, he got it and he gave me a call to say ‘hey look, I’ll conjuct with you 50/50 on this one’, which is really nice of him.” Her friend and competitor Angela Stergou says you aren’t going to give money away to other agents, but ultimately you do all share the same goals. “Business is business, and while we’re not going to give each other leads, it is really good to communicate regularly because we’re all in the same boat – and I look up to Rebecca [Herbst] a lot.”

Within Bees Nees, Herbst’s agents are all about collaboration. “If we have an appraisal we’ll often have two people go along, and the second person is solely there for support,” she says. “At open homes we always have two agents, we’ll do all the showings on that day taking turns who’s on the door who’s inside the property, so we’re just always helping each other out regardless of whose property it is. We can all get in there and get the property sold for the owner, because that’s what it’s about at the end of the day.”

There’s no sense denying that some agents and agencies are out there working as if they’re on an episode of Million Dollar Listing: Los Angeles, but that kind of individualist approach is not how the entire industry operates and it isn’t even the norm. So, while real estate is competitive, the answer to “is real estate a cut-throat business?” is apparent – it’s not. Those who are drawn to the flexibility and autonomy offered by real estate shouldn’t be deterred by unrealistic reputations. There’s a great deal of respect among agents both within their agency and beyond it, and agents looking for support and camaraderie will find a place to feel right at home in real estate.

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