This past December I interviewed Anne Randolph of Murray Consulting, and I must say she gave me much food for thought. My primary question for Anne: What is the number one thing consumers want from their transaction with real estate agents? I was sure that getting the highest possible price for their home would be consumers’ top desire. Or maybe moving their property quickly would take the pinnacle spot. I was wrong, on both counts. According to Anne’s research, 89 percent of people surveyed since 2000 say the most important thing for them is “to feel like the real estate agent completely represents their interests.” Those same respondents added that they need to feel the agent is trustworthy. Interesting. Here’s a related tidbit that also got my attention. Ann adds that according to a recent Harris poll, real estate agents have sunk to a new low in trustworthiness. Used car salesmen had the lowest ranking for years, but just recently real estate agents have taken over that dubious honor.

On the heels of representing their interests and being trustworthy, good communication was consumers’ third strongest desire. Getting the highest price for their home and selling it quickly were still further down the list. So what does all this say about agents and their relationship with clients? Apparently, we have a lot of deceitful agents running around not communicating and not yielding results since they fail to fight hard for client interests. Even if this is a flawed perception, we, as agents, have a serious image problem that requires correction tout de suite.

The start of a new year in the real estate industry usually means new production goals and revisited business plans. Some agents speak of working the foreclosure arena. Others plan to farm their specific territory, while still others have shifted their focus to the Internet. If you ask me, I’d say the plan for ‘08 is crystal clear. Every consumer that closes a real estate transaction should be able to say that their agent is a trustworthy professional with superb communication skills who works hard to protect their interest. Dan Polimino is a realtor with Fuller Towne and Country Properties. He can be reached at and