This post started as a comment to Matthew Rathbun’s brilliant post. At the end I decided to make it a post
Truly a great post, Matthew!
I believe that the bulk of the clamor for “more professionalism” that emanates from agents is mostly self-serving gibberish. A person gets into real estate and then observes that the public does not tend to hold Realtors in extremely high regard. Personally, they want to be held in extremely high regard but can’t really see how they can differentiate themselves in the eyes of the public from all the other Realtors – so naturally, establish how “professional” they are by endlessly talking about how “unprofessional” some other Realtors are.
All the while, without once ever bothering to even trying to define “professionalism”.
You hit the nail on the head here with regard to more education: lawyers, for example, are all “highly educated” and yet are not much more highly regarded than Realtors. Why?
Professions that are “highly regarded” tend to be professions where the advice being given is *exclusively* for the benefit of the public or the person receiving that advice: a librarian, for example. The librarian’s personal biases and preferences may well be part of their recommendations – but few people would suggest that certain books get recommended for reading so the librarian can get extra money. The same “high regard” holds true for professions like nursing but tends to fall off a bit when it comes to physicians (they *are* sometimes thought of as money motivated).
We are all salespeople and therefore will always be – rightly – regarded by the public as salespeople. Some of us are quite “professional” at selling, some aren’t. No set of rules or regulations is going to cause people who have low or questionable morals to suddenly act right. Enforcement alone does that.
What would have to change is the complaint procedure – so that agents (who are in a *much* better position to observe wrongdoing) can easily, and in a very short amount of time, file a complaint (sort of like calling 911). Then the investigation and enforcement unit would have to be able to actually look – instantly dismiss complaints without merit or grudge motivated complaints – and take swift action. In short, we would have *real* justice. As we don’t have such a thing (real justice) anywhere else in our society – in this country or any other – I’m not holding my breath waiting on that one.
The most effective thing one can do is to BE the change they hope to see in others. That isn’t an original thought of mine. But I don’t know a better one.