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Not just Another Job: A Labor Day Editorial

Aug 28, 2018

Posted by

Charles Dahlheimer

Recognized as one of the industrys leading visionaries, Dahlheimer is publisher of The Real Estate Professional magazine and The Real Estate Executive Summary.  He co-authored Real Es Read more

Each year, the Labor Day holiday provides an opportunity for Americans to reflect on the labors of our lives.  For the average American, the holiday weekend means barbecues, family outings, several rounds of golf, or perhaps just a time to kick back and relax.

But for many in our profession, it’s just another working weekend—extended by one extra day!  Houses to show, contracts to review and present, listings to compete for.  Our work requires us to be available to meet the client’s and customer’s schedules, because there’s no such thing as a holiday in the mind of a serious seller or buyer.  Three days off gives them lots of time to work on their home-buying, home-selling projects.  And if we’re not available, they might just find someone who is.

Amid all that activity, we need to take some time to reflect on just what our “labor” involves.  For the masses of America’s work force, the “job” involves putting in a set number of hours each week and getting a set paycheck in return; doing that for a certain number of years, then retiring.

For the business owners and independent contractors, the “job” can be much bigger and the risks much larger, yet many find genuine delight in growing those businesses.  But even among that category of worker, a large percentage still see their workaday world as less than exciting.

So how does the Realtor’s job stack up?

If you see your daily work as just getting another seller to sign a listing contract or bringing another buyer to the closing table, your “job” can get as humdrum as any other.  After all, that’s what an automobile or shoe salesperson does:  Attract a customer.  Convince him to buy.  Ring up a sale.  Go after another one.

But a house is not just another commodity to be purchased or sold.  And your relationship with the homeowner is much more involved.  Unlike an ordinary commodity, the house represents the American homeowner’s ticket to building real wealth.  What other purchase will grow in value rather than depreciate?  Where can the average person find a leverage factor as high as that in homeownership:  With only a small percentage down, the homeowner reaps the appreciation on the entire 100 percent of the purchase price—and, for most, the gains are tax-free!  And unlike other investments, you can live in this one!  More than likely, the monthly house payment is roughly equivalent to what it would cost to rent similar accommodations!

So you are not just “selling houses” but shepherding folks through a process that, navigated successfully, will help them live well and retire securely—and allow them to pass real wealth along to their heirs in the process.

When you advise your clients on financing options, you are doing much more than just helping to move the transaction toward the closing table.  You are helping these new homeowners secure their futures. 

When you work with recent immigrants, introducing them to the ins and outs of homeownership in this nation and helping them navigate those very unfamiliar processes in a language that’s foreign to them, think of the long-term results of your efforts—not just for them as first-generation Americans, but for the many succeeding generations who will be able to claim ownership to their very own pieces of this great nation.

When you donate your time to your local schools to help educate youngsters about financial responsibility; or when you struggle with potential buyers whose credit is less than perfect, think of the impact you will have on the rest of their lives if they are able to pull themselves out of the financial maelstrom by holding onto the lifeline of property ownership that you have thrown to them.

When you shepherd elderly homeowners through the reverse mortgage process, you help them improve their lifestyles while assuring their opportunity to remain comfortably in place in their familiar surroundings.  And when you assist with the settlement of the real estate affairs of those who have gone to their final home, you help their families and heirs to make the most of the financial legacies they’ve spent their lifetimes building.

When you look at the end results of your labors, you will realize that you have a lot more than just a job!  When exercised with professional knowledge and integrity, the role of the Realtor becomes even more than just a “profession.”  It’s a vocation—a “calling”—and one that can have tremendous positive impact on our communities, our nation and our world.

So if you have to pass up a Labor Day picnic to show a home, or if you have to leave the barbecue behind to present an offer, don’t feel abused by your “job.”  Rather, remind yourself of the tremendous importance of your role, and of the collective value that all of us as Realtors are providing for our communities and our nation.

Happy Labor Day--all 365 of them!