Fellow Active Rain blogger and North Branch, MN Realtor® William Feela alerted us to an article on MSN recently, or better to its comments: 8 ways to tick off your real estate agent [Karen Aho]. I read the full article and many of the comments and experienced a full range of emotions - from being appalled, frustrated, embarrassed to feeling insulted.
I do think the title of the article was not the best choice and its tone or intention could easily be misconstrued. Thus, it didn't surprise me at all that it drew a ton of negative comments. What did surprise me, however, was how harsh many of the comments sounded and how generalized they were.
Yes, there are a few Realtors® that do not act in the most ethical way and, yes, there have been cases of Realtors® losing their license and being stripped of their title. That's where our brokers, committees, boards and associations come into play. But, I like to think .. no, I know, that these type of agents are the exception, not the norm. They are not representative of our industry and profession!
A few people seemed convinced that Realtors® are just an uneducated bunch. This couldn't be further from the truth. In my opinion, the initial Principles of Real Estate class should focus more in depth on different aspects of our profession but attending such a class and getting licensed is not the end of our education. We have to take continuing education classes every 2 years and many of us go above and beyond those requirements and earn certifications, attend seminars and gain in-depth knowledge.
I know many highly educated Realtors® who earned a BA, MBA or Law Degree, others have spent years working in other fields of the Real Estate industry prior to becoming a Realtor®, excelled in a first career or served years/decades on active duty in the military.
As for myself .. I earned a dual Master of Arts degree in Media & Mass Communication and English before I attended Real Estate classes and became a licensed Realtor®. I affiliated with a large national brokerage for my first 4 years in the business which required additional training for new agents, weekly meetings with my broker as well as mentoring by an experienced agent.
Needless to say, I found the comment that Realtors® are an uneducated bunch just insulting. Speak for yourself but uneducated does not describe me nor the majority of Realtors® I've been working with.
Another comment reduced our role to one of a chauffeur. Realtors® wear many different hats but I won't go into detail here. If you would like to catch a glimpse of what I do as a Silver Spring, MD area buyer's agent, you can find it here. Lets just say if all we do were to chauffeur people around and open doors, a license would not be needed, neither would be continuing education classes or a Realtor Code of Ethics.
Now, why did I feel embarrassed? No, not because of the haters who had to bash our industry because that's just what they do but because of the people who fall victim to misleading advertising, who believe a hard sales pitch because they don't know better, who have not experienced professional service and have not had the opportunity to work with the type of Realtor® who goes above and beyond for their clients.
Yes, there are those bad seeds which spoil the crop. But if you, as a consumer, happen to work with one of those, then all I can say is, you do not have to! Exercise your right to terminate an agreement, do your research and hire a Realtor® who treats his/her clients with respect and professionalism and acts according to the Realtor Code of Ethics.
There are plenty of us around!
ANDREA BEDARD, M.A. ~ THOMPSON COMPANY, REALTORS ~ LIVING MARYLAND BLIPS
Thompson Company, Realtors
15711 New Hampshire Ave Silver Spring, MD 20905
o: (301) 384-9177 c: (240)593-2860
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Andrea is a proud military spouse, mom of two beautiful little girls, hobby decorator and a Realtor® based in Silver Spring, MD. Andrea focuses on Montgomery County and Howard County Real Estate, she enjoys everything beautiful in life and always answers the phone with a smile.
All photographs are my own and I'd like to keep it that way. All information is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.