Raising the Bar? Forget the Bar! Let's extend ourselves to operating on a higher plane of achievement!

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Realty Arts NC Broker License #235526

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. 



Posted by



Scan the QR Code with your Smartphone to Email MeQR CodeMike Jaquish, REALTOR®

919-880-2769 www.RealtyArts.com

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Independent Broker/Owner, Realty Arts

130 Towerview Court,

Cary, NC


Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. D B 04/17/2010 11:57 PM
ActiveRain Community
North Carolina Real Estate
The Ninety-ninth Percentile

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Barbara Kornegay
REMAX Essential - Wilmington, NC
Wilmington NC Real Estate, Homes

Oh this is wonderful...  I agree with you as well...  College really should not be a requirement for most jobs in my opinion...  Okay lawyers, doctors sure - But apprenticing is where you learn the meat and bones of any and every business in my opinion.  When you apprentice, you study every day - you receive hands on learning etc etc...  I do agree with you as well that keeping yourself educated and on top of the newest and greatest is also key - Common sense would be helpful as well - which I am finding more and more folks lacking!

Apr 18, 2010 01:01 AM #20
Pam Turner, REALTOR®, e-PRO®, SFR
Century 21 Belk Realtors Dalton GA - Dalton, GA

As with any career, some have a higher individual standard than others - I don't think a college degree will guarantee a better agent - and many of us already have degrees in related fields like business and banking.

Apr 18, 2010 01:13 AM #21
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


Great!  But I hope that folks see more in my post than a discussion of the need for college.


When common sense collides with petty self-interest, too often the latter wins.  But again, I support Todd in his efforts, although I would do some things differently.

The industry image and professionalism need improvement, I think, and the discussion as to how to arrive at those improvements is the question.

Apr 18, 2010 01:14 AM #22
Gregory Bain
Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance - Little Egg Harbor, NJ
For Homes on the Jersey Shore

The "bar" is set wherever the Broker is sitting. The Broker is responsible for everything an agent does or fails to do. You see a crappy agent - look behind the curtain and there is a crappy BROKER. Dirty tricks? Learned from the Broker.

I'm sick of hearing from those that got their first "short sale" under their belt, or, some other sale they think are "special" because "each one is different" trying to cite some NAR COE on the rest of us. If "experience" is so great then why are there so many experienced agents not making any sales?

Apr 18, 2010 01:32 AM #23
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Mike....yummy post for breakfast......

It is not what you come to have, but how you came to have it. Not everyone who has a license is a "good " agent. They just have a license.....same with drivers. To become exceptional and stand-out requires "results" up front....everything else should follow. Farmers have the principal down pat. You work the land, you get a result. You are the factor, not your environment. Thank you


Apr 18, 2010 02:00 AM #24
Sajy Mathew
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Lancaster, PA
Making your real estate dreams become a reality!

I think the office, broker, manager at the company sets the bar for crap agents to somewhat succeed. 

Apr 18, 2010 02:02 AM #25
Pat, Ben and Martin Mullikin
M3 Realty - Brookfield, WI

Interesting and thought provoking topic. Gregory makes a great point - it all begins with the Broker. Each office has its own "culture" and the tone is usually set by the leader. If the leader is sloppy and careless, the troops will follow suit. Missy's point about the Professional Standards Committee's track record of loose application of the COE will perpetuate poor business practices and ethical misbehaviors is very true. Until the peer group gets the backbone to put some teeth into the grievance process, it will not serve as an effective means to control business behavior. Great post - I'm going to watch additional comments.

Apr 18, 2010 02:15 AM #26
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Hi Mike,  Interesting post and comment thread.  I think most agents support policies which improve the transaction process and provide transparency to the consumer.  Arbitrary standards many times amount to mere window dressing !

Apr 18, 2010 02:17 AM #27
Ted Tyndall
Davidson Realty Inc. - Saint Augustine, FL
I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy

Mike, good comments. Along with CE I think it is the obligation of the Broker to establish guidelines for their agents to perform by.

The Broker is the one person that has the ability to require the agent to perform by state regulations and at whatever guidelines the Broker sets forth.

Apr 18, 2010 03:07 AM #28
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Mike , I too applaud Todd for his efforts, but like you I fee quite a bit of it is misdirected. I agree with just about everything you wrote. The one thing that needs more emphasis is the 1099 contractor relationship. I think every brokerage should consult a lawyer and a CPA to examine ALL of the companies rules and practices that apply to 1099 contractors. In my family's Mack Truck dealership we used 15 to 20 1099 contractors as shuttle and delivery drivers. Many years ago my CPA insisted that I work with his firm and a lawyer to come up with a list of rules for these contractors. I am so glad that we did it. I was audited by the IRS several times for my 1099 expenditures, and always passed with flying colors. I had some competitors that did not have rules in place and when the IRS came calling it was a financial bloodbath. In my short career in real estate I have seen an awful lot of things go on that do not pass the IRS smell test for 1099 contractors.

Apr 18, 2010 07:05 AM #29
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

I think the brokers need to have responsibility for their people....redefine that "job" and you will find more and more professionalism.

Apr 18, 2010 08:41 AM #30
Regina P. Brown
MBA Broker Consultants - Carlsbad, CA
M.B.A., Broker, Instructor

I see the industry changing for the better.  I envision that real estate agents would not be super-slick sales people; but rather, professionals such as CPA's & attorneys who sit in their office waiting for their next clients... and there are LOTS of clients because the "bar" is so high, that most agents aren't in business any more!

Apr 18, 2010 11:26 AM #31
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


Agreed, of course.


I think many bad habits are learned from others due to loose supervision by the broker.  Maybe some brokers look away.  Maybe some brokers don't notice.  Either way, there is a hole in the consumer safety net.


Yummy?  Hey, works for me.  Good points, too.


They have to pay attention to set the bar properly, I think.


I have seen some enforcement penalties from the RE Commission that seem to pamper agents too.  Of course, I don't know all the details, but it seems that the book is thrown at people with more minor offenses, while some pretty malicious stuff gets minimal punishment.


When NCAR shined a light on compensation, particularly bonuses and other additional inducements from Seller to Buyer's Agent last year, and made it mandatory conversation between agent and client, the wailing and moaning and gnashing of teeth was pretty widespread...


Of course the broker holds end responsibility.   That is why brokers need to step up to the plate and institute standards regardless of the associate broker's status as employee or independent contractor.


Right.  It seems that brokers quail at the thought of restricting independent contractors rather than erring on the side of the consumer.  I say invest in the professional advice needed to use standards of conduct to the extent allowed by law.


But, Brokers already HAVE that responsibility, don't they?


Interesting.  I would believe it if I had not worked in sales for a CPA, drumming up small business accounts for him, and met several other salesguys and CPAs who did the same.  And don't attorneys chase ambulances on the front and back covers of all the phone books and late night TV where you live?

Apr 18, 2010 12:49 PM #33
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

It's important to keep up with the education required and the changing rules of the real estate industry.

Apr 18, 2010 12:51 PM #34
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


Fear?  Not really.  I have taken enough of the profiles over the years, I will likely just decline the next opportunity to waste my time.  That includes not taking the DISC again.

Isn't that the definition of corporate life, wasting time to fill a file?

Apr 18, 2010 12:51 PM #35
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


Without doubt!

Apr 18, 2010 12:52 PM #36
Jim O'Donnell
Raleigh Cary Realty - Fuquay Varina, NC

As a listing agent, there have been times that I have gotten offers, hand written and looks like it was place in the mud and run over by a 4X4 prior to faxing.  I have, written offers to the buyers, presented with a sellers signature.  I has impact.

Apr 19, 2010 03:38 AM #37
Kate Elim
Dockside Realty - Spotsylvania, VA
Realtor 540-226-1964, Selling Homes & Land a

Hi Mike...I had not read Todd's post nor Lenn's reblog until I read your post.  However, I did read Lenn's more recent blog about raising the bar one agent at a time.  When I commented there I mentioned a reluctance on the part of too many agents to enforce accountability on the part of others. 

They complain about inappropriate dealings in a transaction but are reluctant to file grievances.  I noticed that Missy (#16) brought this up also.  We need to do a better job of policing ourselves.  Without accountability too many things get swept under the rug.  I have been on my local board's Grievance Committee for a number of years and am surprised that we have as few grievances as we do.


Apr 19, 2010 05:26 AM #38
Steve Cole
Your Home Team Advisors, LLC; 770-649-0060 - Atlanta, GA


I agree completely.  But I feel there is one thing more.  I feel pre licensing is one of the most important aspects.

If I were King for a day I would require anyone interested in being real estate agent to take a one year course on matters such as contract construction, financing, title examination and title insurance, construction techniques and materials, inspections, survey etc.

You hit the nail on the head when you said these requirements are not meant to keep people out of the industry but it is meant to protect the consumer.   I don't care about a college degree but I do think it is important the some one who wants to be a real esate agent know more than how to self promote.  This doesn't keep anyone out but it does make someone who really wants to do this type of work make a commitment.


Apr 19, 2010 05:41 AM #39
Mike Jaquish
Realty Arts - Cary, NC
919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate


But you had fun, right?  Or not...


It is tough to enforce accountability when the other agent is self-centered and stands between your client and their goal.  In the course of the transaction, do I protect my client, including their desire to reach a goal, or do I initiate a grievance against the agent?  Tough choices.  I generally try to make my client a winner.


I think we serve the consumer.  That is more than "I'm never to busy for your referrals."  End of story.

Apr 19, 2010 02:15 PM #40
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