By Alex Goering, 2022 Heartland MLS President
As REALTORS®, we’ve all had those conversations with people who don’t really understand what we do. They assume that we only look at perfectly pristine and Instagram-ready homes. They figure we binge Selling Sunset episodes to stay inspired and educated. We obviously all make millions of dollars, and we all enjoy a perfect work-life balance. We know these people are delusional, but I’ve got news for you: This is a pretty widely held misunderstanding. The public, our politicians, and even some people within our profession don’t understand what we do. They think we make a lot of money to dress up and look at pretty houses. Sure, it’s more than that. But it’s more than hard work, late nights, inconsistent paychecks, and filing tax extensions too. Let’s look at some ways that we can tell our stories more effectively.
One of my favorite reports that NAR provides each year is the State-by-State Economic Impact report. Stay with me. I know that sounds boring. It’s actually incredible. Did you know that in Kansas and Missouri, the economic impact of one typical home sale is right around $80,000? You should look at the report to see a breakdown of the math, but I think that we can agree that this is a staggering number.
In 2021, our activities contributed $34.6 billion to the Kansas economy (18% of the entire gross state product) and $56.7 billion to the Missouri economy (15.7% of the entire gross state product). When we sell a home, it doesn’t just benefit the people involved in the transaction. It causes a ripple effect that impacts movers, contractors, home goods stores, and even all the small businesses at which income resulting from the transaction is spent. Think of all the lives impacted by each of the smaller transactions that result from the sale of a home.
Even more staggering than the economic impact of our profession is the impact we have on the wellbeing of those we work with. We spend a lot of time with our clients, so it’s easy to put our blinders on and forget that introducing your client to a new environment changes lives beyond those within that household. After moving in, your client’s child may meet a life-long best friend living in a neighboring home. Another client may be a first-generation homeowner, someone whose parents never owned a home, potentially increasing the wealth potential of generations to follow. Perhaps a client could no longer care for the home they owned. Their move provided a sense of relief for your client and their friends and family, resulting in a renewed focus on enjoying their time together. What we do is life-changing, and that is not an exaggeration. Every sale has a story beyond the transaction, and that story is often more rewarding than the commission itself.
Beyond the impact of our transactions, REALTORS® understand that a well-nurtured community fosters a healthier marketplace for real estate. Being a REALTOR® has opened my eyes to a number of ways in which I can better care for my neighbors, simply because I am surrounded by so many incredible colleagues who have inspired me to get involved. Whether it’s volunteering for a pantry, financially supporting a shelter, providing housing for homeless Veterans, or participating in a Habitat for Humanity project… REALTORS® are there. You are part of an organization full of amazing people who actively seek opportunities to make a positive impact on their community. I know that transactions pay the bills, but I hope you’re involved in this part of our story as well.
When you’re tempted to tell your friends who glamorize real estate about an unidentifiable smell during a showing, or a boring online CE class, or a client you’ve been working with for months who dropped out of the market — keep the big picture in mind. Make sure you tell them about the lives you impact. What we do is important, and in many cases it is outright beautiful. It may not be the glamour that the public imagines, but the reality is better than glamour. You make the world a more prosperous place. You change lives, both as an individual and as an association. You do it every day.
I know you’re not shy. Tell that story.