Surrogate Endpoints - going down the rabbit hole

Real Estate Agent with ReMax Realtec Group


It is a measure or effect that may correlate with an endpoint (outcome) but does not necessarily have a guaranteed relationship (or any relationship at all).

The practice of real estate, especially the practice of most who carry the designation REALTOR, is saturated with SURROGATE ENDPOINTS. 

It is the practice of claiming an action produced a result, but the result actually has no connection to the action. In real estate some SURROGATE ENDPOINTS are declared loudly while others have become so much a part of the landscape as to be mostly unrecognized. Two of the LOUDEST are in the examples below.


Example 1

A surrogate endpoint is evident in the "Raise the Bar" repetition of those who have a
false belief regarding how to change the quality of the real estate agent.

These folks offer their solution as:

  • Require all agent to have a college degree
  • Require all agents to be home owners
  • Require all agents to have a minimal FICO score

They contend that raising the barriers to entry will result in higher proficiency as a real estate agent.

How a degree in ANIMAL HUSBANDRY will make a agent more proficient in responding to the critical dates of a 1031 exchange is beyond my understanding.

How being a homeowner makes an agent more proficient in wholesaling real estate is beyond my comprehension.

How a 780 FICO score makes an agent more proficient in on-line lead generation or maintaining communication with clients is an incredible over-reach in justifying the proposal.

In the above example of SURROGATE ENDPOINTS, the actual motivation is to reduce competition which, in essence, protects the sandbox of existing real estate agents.

The largest brokerage in the Tampa Bay area has over 3,000 real estate agents and closes nearly 3,300 transactions annually. The annual transaction average of these agents average 0.6 transactions annually. Of the 3,000 agents only 20 do more that 15 transactions a year. Clearly an agent who completes less than one transaction a year can not be proficient. If these 'out of touch'  or inefficient agents were eliminated from the agent pool that would release nearly 2,7000 transactions into the experienced agent pool. The above description identifies the problem. Inefficient agents are built into the system. It is not a new agent issue.

The VALID issue regarding agent efficiency is and has always been the responsibility of the broker. It is the broker who created the problem and the broker who must fix the problem. But NOBODY is identifying the broker as the culprit!

Could it be that a covert 'surrogate endpoint' strategy is more rewarding by keeping newbies out of the market place and protecting the sandbox? Such action has nothing to do with raising the profeiciency standards of agents.


Example 2

A SURROGATE ENDPOINT is obvious in this common argument: 

"Open house rarely result in a house being sold therefore open houses are not worthwhile."

This is based on the FALSE definition that a successful open house is one that results in a buyer presenting a purchase offer.

Many argue that since this rarely happens, open houses are not worthwhile activities.

The truth is there are five defined purposes for which an open house can be used. Success is determined by the deliverables identified in the purpose. Only one of those purposes is, "get the house sold" which requires special implementation and co-ordination between the listing agent and house owner.

The real estate industry is saturated with SURROGATE ENDPOINTS that DEFY the common sense embraced by thinkers.

In your observation, what SURROGATE ENDPOINTS have you recognized?

Real estate related Surrogate Endpoints exist in:

Agent training




Social Media


Direct mail

Agent ratings


The car one drives

Clothes worn

The digitial image used


The predictable end result is success theater and vanity metrics, another scourge on the industry.

What have you recognized in real estate where the action or directive has no connection to the declared outcome?

Please, give some thought and add your comments. 
If you disagree, state your case.


Best of success to you,
Annette Lawrence, Broker/Associate
Remax Realtec Group
Palm Harbor, FL

Author of the 'before you enter real estate' book:



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Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Property Manager

Bingo, Annette.  I kind of laughed when I read the FICO score suggestion.  Many agents come into the business with a good FICO and soon plummet as the rose colored glasses come off and reality sets in.  Who monitors the FICO and DQ's the agents falling below the line?  LOL

As you say, the broker is the one responsible for hiring and training.  Period.  

May 10, 2016 11:40 AM #1
Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041
ReMax Realtec Group - Palm Harbor, FL
Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ

Carol, thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.

May 10, 2016 10:11 PM #2
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Annette Lawrence , Palm Harbor, FL 727-420-4041

Making FLORIDA Real Estate EZ
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