Todd Waller wrote a post, "How High? Raising the Bar" that deserves more discussion. I applaud the effort to increase the level of professionalism in his firm. Really, I do.
Lenn Harley reblogged,"How High? Raising the Bar" and the reader comments indicate that many commenters posted without reading Todd's post. That is my interpretation of their focus on the 4-year degree.
I read Todd's criteria as saying there are other qualifying criteria that can offset lack of a degree. I think the underlined criteria are clearly meant to legitimately offset a diploma, if necessary:
"Possess a college diploma (four-year degree), OR a broker's license OR five years of documented full-time experience as a real estate professional."
Where does it say that a 4-year degree is a firm requirement? And, anyway, I believe that most of the folks responsible for the current banking crisis hold advanced degrees. What level of confidence does THAT engender in college education as an indicator of common sense or integrity?
Is it offensive that an agent be required to be a broker, or have significant full-time experience? Of course, I am in an "All Broker" state where some folks at the Real Estate Commission recommend that firms never hire "Provisional brokers," a.k.a., "salespeople."
It seems that too many firms quail at the prospect of independent vs. employee, to the extent that supervision is inadequate. Yet, the NC REC demands that Provisional Brokers work from the firm's office, not their home, and that they be supervised by the BIC.
And "No ethics charges or unfavorable litigation?" Charges are a dime a dozen. And even unfavorable litigation may help make an agent a better agent, or just a victim of circumstances. But, the provision will look great to any E&O carrier.
Really Raising The Bar?
1. Quit sniveling at independent vs. employee distinctions and invest the time and legal fees to coherently and firmly set and enforce standards of practice that are acceptable to the firm and protective of the client and consumer. Make those standards non-negotiable for the associate, with monitoring and enforcement.
2. Mandatory Continuing Education for the year to be completed in the first quarter when it is available and required. How many agents do business for 11 months under new rules, and then, wailing and groaning, drag themselves into CE at the last minute to learn about the rules? WAY, WAY too many, and it is not acceptable. That is how people who refuse to learn do business with sloppy offers and contracts, and little understanding how they endanger the consumer regularly.
3. Enforcement of, accountability for, and dedication to standards of practice, and principles of ethics and legality. I see no indicaton or implication of accountability for professional deportment in Todd's post. So, once one clears the bar, it is Easy Street? No, I know. I read the Mission Statement. But... How does the errant agent get kicked out?
4. Solid paperwork, filled out and legible, cognizant of the value and importance of a professional image for an agent or office.
Bottom line? Let's eliminate "The Bar." Let's talk about functioning on a higher plane as an industry, regardless of education level, psychological tests, or flowery language that fits well into a marketing plan.
Oh, yeah. What Lenn said. You're not getting into my head.