Work With A Realtor... or Else

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408

How often we hear that Buyers (and to a lesser extent Seller) would benefit from working with REALTORS? I think REALTOR here is an unfair substitution of real estate licensee as the benefit of working specifically with a REALTOR is not substantiated.

To those who would feel angry with this statement, let me say that there are states where being a REALTOR is not a requirement, and agent really choose whether to join or not to join. There being a Realtor does not equal the right to work. Our own Melina Tomson from Salem, OR is not a REALTOR as far as I know, and unless you feel that you are 5 times better than Melina, please, spare me of «Your Highness REALTOR» talk...

How true is this statement? I think it is only true when you deal with a competent professional. But since when it is a given? Is being duly licensed and even being a REALTOR a guarantee of competency?

Are you saying that there are more chances of being screwed not working with a licensee than working with one? Sure, but how many more?

If someone is on the table to remove cancerous prostate, do you know that the greatest chances of survival are for patients whose surgeons have performed over 300 similar operations? The guy with a scalpel, who has performed only 10 such surgeries means less chances for you to be still alive in 5 years (that's the magic number for statistics, a tricky number as with some cancers patients die about 7 years later, but this way they do not stain the unblemished medical records).

But the guy with a scalpel is trained and licensed to do what he does, whether you die or live. Yes, our clients are not supposed to die from botched deals, but try to see the point.

It is time for us to acknowledge that repeating that Buyers and Sellers benefit from working with a licensee is a prayer to the wrong gods. It may be true, or may not be true.

The true statement is that Buyers and Sellers would benefit from working with a competent real estate professional. They may not benefit but are unlikely to get hurt when working with an average agent. And it may hurt them when working with incompetent agent.

How to find a competent agent? That's a tough question.

Anybody has the answer?


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Kirsten Lindquist
Pacific Union International - Sonoma, CA
Realtor - Sonoma Wine Country

I think it's a simple answer when it comes to you---look in the mirror.  :-)

Apr 16, 2011 10:04 AM #1
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

Jon, Tennessee is a state where you can just be a real estate agent. I chose to be part of the MLS and be a Realtor.

Apr 16, 2011 10:10 AM #2
Maria Morton
Chartwell Kansas City Realty - Kansas City, MO
Kansas City Real Estate 816-560-3758

Competence, intelligence and integrity are probably what most home buyers and sellers need. I don't understand Kirsten's comment.

Apr 16, 2011 10:16 AM #3
Randy Ostrander
Lake and Lodge Realty LLC - Big Rapids, MI
Real Estate Broker, Serving Big Rapids and West Central MI

Good afternoon Jon. I am a Member of the MLS and a Realtor®. I think an agent who chooses to use the term Realtor® has at least a level of committment to maintain Realtor® status. Does it make them a better agent? Probably not but it shows they are serious about their career. Would I want someone for an agent who couldn't afford the dues for becoming a Realtor®? Probably not.

Apr 16, 2011 10:42 AM #4
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

I would so agree with you Jon that "competency" is very, very important in a real estate agent.

Apr 16, 2011 11:02 AM #5
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

When I opened my real estate office I became the second office in town (out of 6 total) to pay the dues and become a Realtor.I did it because I wanted to be a part of the County MLS. Those Realtors on the other side of the county were listing properties in our town, and I wanted to know about them.

I almost choked when the OTHER Realtor in town visited me and said "It's sure nice that now there will be two of us in town following the Code of Ethics." This guy was one of THE MOST unethical agents I had ever run across.

So no - Competency and ethics are individual traits - they have nothing to do with whether you pay your dues to the organization.

As far as being licensed - I believe its unlawful in our state to accept compensation unless you are.

Apr 16, 2011 11:33 AM #6
Jack Mossman - The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Lodi
The Nines Team at Keller Williams in Lodi - Lodi, CA
The Nines Team in Lodi

Jon - There is a big difference between being a licensed professional and a unlicensed consultant.  In California the body of law that impacts the licensed person creates many barriers to those who may accidentally "practice without a license."  As far as the associations are concerned, it would be interesting to see how many agents would belong, if it was completed elective and not a mandate of supervising brokers.

Apr 16, 2011 03:43 PM #7
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods

Hi Papa Jon!  I agree that a licensed agent and a REALTOR are often confused.  I think people tend to throw the terms around, not really understanding the difference.  In NC we can chose to be a member of NAR or not and can operate as a licensed agent; however, I don't do that.  I would guess that it stands to reason that if I didn't chose to belong to the NAR, I would have the same knowledge that I do without being a 'member' of their organization.

Apr 16, 2011 07:17 PM #8
Tim Peterson
Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes - Madison, WI
Realtor Safety Training Classes

Hi Jon-I agree with you-this post actually led me to read 3 pages of all your previous posts Competency is the key andI love this line Should we really burn the bridges if we plan to cross the river?

Apr 16, 2011 07:46 PM #9
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

Jon, I agree with you completely about differences between agents, whether they're a Realtor or not.  Also the difficulty of finding a good real estate agent.  

I'd like to take your Dr. analogy a bit further.  What is the success rate of the Dr. who performed the 300 operations?  And the one who only performed the 10?  That also matters.

Apr 17, 2011 01:32 AM #10
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Hi, everybody, and thanks for the comments. One note I felt was important to make. For me, at lease, being a member of NAR is all about the right to work.

I am because I use MLS. Do I use anything else? No. Do I ever plan on using anything else? No. I am making an effort to stay as far from anything associated with NAR as possible.

What about education? For me what I cann get on AR is far superior to any education that I can get through the local association.

In that sense the difference between me and Melina is that she does not have to be a member in order to have access to MLS, it is just a tool, she pays for MLS.

I, on the other hand, can't get access to MLS if I am not a member (Thompson broker is another option, but it is unfairly expensive and is simply an extortion), so for me membership in NAR is forced. It is the money for  the right to work. For that I am not only NOT a proud member, I have very little in terms of any respect for NAR (even without the issues with COE). I do not think NAR is an ethical organization in the first place.

Until my right to work is pushed through NAR, this is not going to change for me. It is a very adversarial relationship.

They force me, and I pay. But so I need to like them? Oh, no...

Apr 17, 2011 03:33 AM #11
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I think the term real estate licensee is fair. I didn't even know some states have the option of not using NAR.

Apr 18, 2011 02:41 AM #12
Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL
Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408 - Daytona Beach, FL
Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices

Kristen - I got the joke, thanks. You flatter me.

Apr 18, 2011 03:02 AM #13
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Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL

Buy Daytona condos for heavenly good prices
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