This is a follow-up article to my recent post about the 10 things I Wish They Taught in Real Estate School. The response I got to the article has gotten me to thinking about our industry at large and some of the disparity between the industry image that NAR projects and the reality of how Realtors are really perceived.
Take a look at NAR’s Mission and Vision Statement:
The core purpose of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is to help its members become more profitable and successful.
The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® strives to be the collective force influencing and shaping the real estate industry. It seeks to be the leading advocate of the right to own, use, and transfer real property; the acknowledged leader in developing standards for efficient, effective, and ethical real estate business practices; and valued by highly skilled real estate professionals and viewed by them as crucial to their success.
Working on behalf of America’s property owners, the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® provides a facility for professional development, research and exchange of information among its members and to the public and government for the purpose of preserving the free enterprise system, and the right to own, use, and transfer real property.
It’s a great theory. Part of their vision is to be “valued by highly skilled real estate professionals and viewed by them as crucial to their success”. I believe in the concept of NAR, but not the reality. NAR is crucial to my success because I need their forms, MLS access, and my office demands it. I do not believe that NAR is really moving their membership forward, however, because in my mind I see NAR as an organization with very low standards.
For all of their talk/want/desire to be creating minimum standards of practice, do they really practice what they preach? Do you know what the minimum standard is to join NAR? 40 hours of training, a completion certificate, and $115 in your pocket. certainly sounds like a great way to develop effective business practices to me! Practically anyone with a pulse and some spare time can become a Realtor! How can it take years of training and apprenticeship for a guy to fix my plumbing, HVAC, etc; 1400 hours of training for my barber to be able to cut my hair, but I can sell real estate because I spent a week in some class?? Standards don’t get much lower than that, folks.!
The problem is that if you let anyone with a pulse join, the lowest common denominator is going to drag the average down. “All it take is one bad apple”, right? It’s awfully easy to find a bad apple when income potential for Realtors is seen as $100k+, and becoming a Realtor is so darn easy!
FIX THIS PROBLEM!
NAR needs to raise the minimum number of hours in training required to become a Realtor. Why not 100 hours of minimum education? Maybe 400 hours? Raise the cost of the course and membership if need be, there’s nothing wrong with that, but require more education! Until NAR requires stricter regulation and training of agents, this entire industry will continue to suffer. It should be criminal that such lax requirements allow people to handle such large financial transactions!
NAR may not be able to control local state to state licensing, but they CAN lobby for change, or modify their own entry standards. Think about how much the image of our industry would improve if we showed the public that we’re working to create a higher standard! NAR also bills itself as a consumer advocacy group for home owners. What better way to protect consumer interests than to require higher standards for their own members?
If NAR really wants to support it’s members, then it NEEDS to help prepare it’s members for success, not let them sink or swim on their own accord. When agents are set up for failure like they are now, every single failed agent reinforces the public’s negative view of our industry. How much longer are we as agents willing to watch this revolving door make a punchline out of us, our industry, and our trade organization??