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Recently I read an article on Inman News stating how we needed to do some housecleaning in real estate.

Basically It boils down to a few areas:  under qualified agents  and big data,

If you really look at things, there is not much we can do about the data part. Consumers have much power and Zillow, et al are here to stay.

We can control ourselves. Much of this is my own take on it.

First lets start at the bottom;

Licenses are fairly easy to get, Just know the state rules and take a test. No college necessary really. No customer services skills at all needed.

What I would change is that you need to be able to describe the parts of a buyer contract or seller contract and be evaluated on it.  Kinda like in a college final when  you take both written and a practicum test and that is just to be licensed.

Maybe clients then wont mind paying us heaps of money and we'll be judged as other professionals: lawyers, doctors, etc

Mandatory 20 hours of CE each year for everyone.  I have to do this every year as a tax preparer.

Secondly you must work under another more experienced Realtor for the first 2 years as an intern and if you close less than 3 deals a year, you must always work for someone else on a team and that means a practicing person with 20 deals or more per year not just the broker who takes their cut.

Customer service - a regular program where an association would hire secret shoppers on ALL listings and evaluate the agent on the timeliness of phone call return, marketing, etc.

We need to stop fooling ourselves that only one thing sells the property :the MLS. No matter how many websites we have, all the marketing we do is self serving really...to get more leads. We need a central MLS nationally  and the ability to promote the property OUR way, not t of the association.

Make selling for family illegal...potential conflicts of interest. banks already do not allow family to list a relative's short sale.. This here will eliminate those who get the license to do the family deal.

Make brokers have a RESPA of sorts.  They have to support their agents directly: their MLS membership, lockbox, color ads or flyers. ETC.  Individual agents are feed to death with almost $1000 per year I have to pay even to operate between MLS fees, Association, state forms, lockbox. They will then earn their cut truly. Of course the  they can hold all agents accountable for their efforts.

Finally, retire NAR. My association models their principles anyway.  Ethics boils down to "DO the RIGHT THING"

So if another agent is doing a poor job with cultivating his listing, why not open it to competition? T Mobile and Sprint are always tempting you to break your contract with ATT and they'll help you do it. Doing the right thing helps the consumer. We hide behind ETHICS but more and more our business is...unethical by nature.

Eliminate double ending by the same agent. Pocket listings are borderline disadvantageous for the client.

I will admit, I am part time and I would be working under another directly but that is how I perfect my craft. As long as the lead agent took no more than 25 % of my commission and let me study their methods, I have no problem with being a secondary agent and as long as I am free to get my own listings and share it back with the agent Im fine with that and that is addition to what the broker gets.

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Comment by Colleen on December 14, 2015 at 10:21am

we have many part time agents who do not know what they are doing and don't care. We also have incompetent affiliates such as mortgage lenders and title companies that make things much harder.  One of my agents suggested making our annual fees much higher, like $10,000 per year and that would weed out about 75% of agents and keep the best ones in. I think that is not a bad idea.

Comment by barbara scarbrough on November 6, 2015 at 10:21am

Ok here's my take, my OPINION on this for all it's worth.

First the education thing. We do not have quality education in Real Estate in my opinion. Same old courses offered by the same ol "educators" for "package prices" just to get it done. It is not the amount if education but the quality of education that needs increased or improved.  I used to HATE CE because I knew just how boring, repetitive and useless it was / can be. Now I too just get it done!

Second this issue is like this in ALL industries. No matter what we do we will have some bad apples in our barrel. The most experience and educated veteran agent can still be a bad agent. Unless we begin to POLICE our own industry and make sure all agents know we will NOT put up with anything that reflects poorly on this industry we will never eliminate the questionable or unacceptable or unethical behavior we and clients experience. We will never be trusted as true honest, ethical, professionals. How can we expect the public to trust us when we are not sure we can even trust our own peers? If education IS an issue then it is education for buyers and sellers. Educate them to know that a top agent or a "team" is not necessarily the best agent/choice for them. Educate the public to what improprieties happen so they can watch for them in their transactions. This would go a long way in ending the things some agents do that give us all a less than stellar industry and makes the field less fair and honest.

Broker's need to do a better job with and for their agents in my opinion. Anyone can become a Broker as long as they meet the basic requirements. They can then hire any agent and as many agents they want and hope they do well and act ethically or NOT. A GOOD Broker cares and knows that helping the agent helps the bottom line and the industry. A good Broker will not close his eyes to improprieties or ethics because of a Top producer's income producing position in the company. A GOOD broker is involved with all of his/her agents, their education and ethics or should be.

As far as NAR, and ALL the other associations we have now for / in Real Estate.... well in my opinion it is all about making money off the agents. Sell, sell , sell.  New web sites, keys, self promotions programs and more, Everyday this industry is more about making money and less about doing the right thing. We all have to pay dearly for our own leads now. We all have to pay for position in the market. We no longer have to be good agents just top producing ones who can afford the costs.  I am not surprised many agents do things that they feel will put them on top so they can continue to make the money they are now used to. Or the starving agent needing to sell both sides to survive who does not return calls or "play fair". We all know this is true. Many agents who do not " play by the rules" are almost forced to act poorly to survive. Agents who do not really care about clients or peers or ethics... just about numbers ...income. These are very often well educated, knowledgeable agents. No amount of education will change what they do.

NAR and State organization will be there for National and State issues in politics that effect the industry. These organizations are not here for the individual or the industry issues that effect agents on a daily basis, This is what the local boards do. But if a high profile or "top agent" at the board acts questionably who is going to stop them? "Good ol boys?" No chance. These organizations also often turn their backs on issues involving lenders, investors, asset companies and other industry powerhouses.  

More education...? My opinion is more proactive and less tolerant attitudes of what we know is wrong, no matter WHO is doing it. We as agents have to stand up and make this industry better.  It is our job . it is OUR industry.

Comment by CECILIA D FOX on September 19, 2015 at 2:29am

I've always advocated yearly CE that includes law, recent developments, and technology. In Ohio, I have 3 years to take 30 hours. I can take all of my classes in the first month of the first year, include carryover from the previous 3 years, and never take another class until the 4th year. Ridiculous.

Comment by Jesus (Jesse) Gonzalez on September 17, 2015 at 10:17am

...hhmm... NAR put out a report called the DANGER Report. Have any of you seen this report, http://www.dangerreport.com/? It highlights as it's A1 danger facing our industry is quote, "The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time untrained, unethical and or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry." Truth is, if we were all being honest with one another, as "offensive" as the post card may be, even NAR themselves states it's a problem and even goes on to highlight it as something we need to resolve as an industry.

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