Now that I’ve been stuffed like the turkey I ate and had a chance to reflect on the many things I need to be thankful for it’s time for the next holiday to begin. Parties galore and, best of all, I get to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what I want for [insert name for hugely successful December holiday here].
This year, I know the economy is in the doldrums and, heck, even membership in our beloved National Association of Realtors is down a tad. So I don’t want to seem selfish. I just have a few little things I’d like Santa NAR to put under my tree this year.
1. Put the REALTOR back in the National Association of REALTORS
All those nice tax breaks for the home buying public are nice and all. I understand that they do have an indirect effect on Realtors (especially those that are really working their business) but I would much rather have some direct benefits of membership coming my way.
For example, you know those nice “discounts” you get from the Realtor Benefits® Program. A little leg work and web surfing can make those discounts look like price gouging. Hey, get your negotiators in there to make those things really worthwhile. Make them something other than glorified and targeted advertising for the “partners”.
Another little thing you might do is explain to me how I can explain to anyone who asks what a Realtor is other than “a member of the National Association of Realtors.” I’ve been doing this for 10 years now and I still haven’t figured it out. And, yes, I know about the Code of Ethics.
Santa NAR, help me believe that being a Realtor means something other than paying my dues.
2. Get Real With Your Our Advertising Dollars
Can we talk, here? Showing ads on TV with the picture perfect family straight from Hollywood Central Casting sitting on the metaphorical (and literal) white picket fence looking wistfully at a house doesn’t do jack. The Hollywood model who is supposed to be “the Realtor” doesn’t look nearly as beat up enough to be anywhere near real.
Look. I know you guys only have 30 seconds or 60 seconds to get a message across. Why don’t you try getting the message across that Realtors are an important and necessary part of the real estate home buyer and home selling process. “Now is the time to buy” and all the similar message are worthless and fall on deaf ears. Of course, it’s time to buy and if anyone who can possibly arrange to get a mortgage and has the slightest inclination toward buying will buy a house. These buyers and their seller counterparts need to know why their first call needs to be to their local Realtor.
3. Get Some Real and Affordable Health Care for Realtors
Forget all that crap about health care reform. The public option. Death panels. Abortion funding. Fogedaboutit. Just get something so we don’t have to go out looking for spouses that have real health insurance. Supposedly the NAR is the largest trade association in North America (source: Wikipedia) with its one million plus members. Why can’t someone sit done with a money hungry, profit driven, super capitalist, Fox News watching insurance company and tell them point blank that you can deliver 1,000,000 premium paying customers if they’re willing to play ball?
When I was a single (i.e, unmarried) Realtor I had to get a health insurance policy that was bare bones, expensive as hell and had premiums that increased 10% per year if I so much as filled a ‘script for a generic antibiotic that grocery store pharmacies now give away for free.
4. Stay Out of the Commission Discussion
Hey, guys, we’re paying our dues which are paying your salaries and all the nice perks and nice buildings. Can you do us all a favor and shutta your face when it come to our compensation? It’s obvious from Gift Requests 1,2 and 3 that you really consider us as independent contractors and not much of a cohesive group. I understand that it’s sometimes like herding cats. However, since you really don’t see much value in providing members with serious, direct benefits, the least you can do is let us set our own compensation. All this talk about “the future of real estate” and “trending” doesn’t do anyone any good unless the master plan is to turn us all into employees.
Whether I want to charge a flat fee or a percentage is my deal. I’m the one that puts food on my table and pays for all — and I mean, all — my own business expenses. The best thing you can do is stand back and help us promote the Realtor brand by making it mean something in the minds of the home selling and home buying public. Using whatever influence you folks in leadership may have to determine compensation models is counter productive.
Too Much To Ask?
Don’t worry about the Tickle Me Elmo or whatever toy du jour is out this year. I don’t need a Play Station 3 or an Xbox. All I want is a trade association that get puh-lenty of moolah from it’s members to pretend like they care.
By the way, dear readers, feel free to add to the list. I’m not proud.