What do you think the graphic to the left represents? Do you know what the word “Realtor” means? Most in the public have an incorrect perception of what a Realtor® is and the benefits one brings to a real estate transaction. I thought I would take the time to clarify a few things, so we can all get on the same page.
I was prompted to write this article after I read a quote by the former president of the National Association of Realtors, Richard Mendenhall, saying ” I have never seen the media (movie, TV, Book, etc) ever portray the Realtor in a good light, but the facts remain they are entrepreneurs and are much more adaptive, competitive, and actually generous than anyone ever gives them credit”. This comment moved me in a couple of ways, first, by knowing that our leaders in NAR are looking out for us more than we probably realize, and second, that I have seen what he describes so many times that I wish I could just shake the public into a better understanding of who we are.
A Realtor® is a real estate agent, but not all real estate agents are Realtors®. Confused? The term “Realtor” is a trademark of the National Association of Realtors, but unfortunately, the public has come to use the word “realtor” as an adjective to describe agents, much as you would describe a surgeon, as just a doctor. An agent can choose to become a Realtor or not. Those that choose to become Realtors® are in fact pledging to follow a strict Code of Ethics set down by NAR. The public can always file a complaint with the licensing state for agent misconduct, but did you also know you can file an ethics complaint with NAR or the local Association Board as well? I personally would be disappointed in myself if I had an ethics complaint filed against me because I hold myself to a very high standard and always strive to be the best professional possible.
Realtors® are in fact real professionals who have the opportunity, experience, and privilege of helping people achieve the American dream of home ownership. Our profession is not easy, contrary to some reports that state otherwise. One must be knowledgeable about the national and local market, be very organized, have great communication skills, and work long hours (sometimes 7 days a week) to succeed in this industry. We must analyze body language as well as speech patterns to understand our clients. Sometimes we must be “therapists”, a sports official, a confidante, a shoulder to cry on, or all at the same time. I have acted as a Power of Attorney for some clients, an interpreter for a German client, and a friend to clients that needed me when Hurricane Ivan hit us head on.
Do not think for an instant that I am alone. While there might be an excess of real estate agents in the industry right now, due in part to the past five year boom, there are still those of us that hold ourselves to high standards. The industry is in the mists of a great correction. Those that chose to enter during the boom because marketing real estate was “easy” are now finding themselves leaving because it has become too “difficult”. They are finding out that to be the best Realtor®, one actually has to work. Now that the uncommitted are leaving (some say 400,000 alone will leave in 2007) the public will once again have the very best, committed professionals available.
I can only hope the public will come to realize over the next few years, when profit and offers are no longer beating down their door, the value of a Realtor®. I truly hope my short article has helped with your perception of a Realtor®. Next time you see a negative ad or comment about the real estate industry, please think back to what I have said and take it to heart.