Real Estate Agent with Bill Cherry, Realtor 0124242



Here are some facts about the California State Bar that are interesting*:


1. There are more lawyers in California than any state other than New York.


2.California has the second hardest licensing exam in the US, and it has had for many years.


3. Only 35% of those who graduated from California law schools passed the most recent exam. Only 43% passed the one before.


4.  There has been a steep drop in first-year law school enrollment.  Nationwide, it fell 29% from 2010 to 2016.


5.  Even so, there are a significant number of unemployed licensed lawyers who have had to seek other kinds of employment.

*Wall Street Journal, June 1, 2017, Page A-3


So with those facts in mind, California law schools are pressuring the California Supreme Court to lower the grade necessary to pass the exam.  That court oversees the state bar and regulates the exam.


The reason so many fail is because not enough of their legal education rubs off on them to pass. 


The public would surmise that if the practicing attorneys before them passed, the new graduates should have to as well.


But the schools have a different prospective. 


They need to produce attorneys to justify law school salaries, and the easiest way to do that is to lower requirements rather than point the finger at themselves.



I think here there is a significant parallel to the real estate brokerage industry of today.


The public wants the most competent real estate agents and brokers to represent them.  The licensing boards and the NAR, state and local Associations of Realtors want the maximum number of "customers" as it increases those organizations importance, income-wise.


There has never been a shortage of real estate agents, and there probably never will be.  If a person wants to list a home or buy one, within a few minutes he can find a listing agent or a buyer's agent ready to help him.


The problem is that our industry has continued to reduce its professional requirements over time, and has created the very reason that so many licensed agents don't make a living.


When I took the Texas exam in 1966, there were at least 100 taking the exam with me.  The proctor asked how many were taking it for the second time.  At least 40 hands rose.  And then he asked, how many were taking it for the third or more time. At least 30 more raised their hand.

(I passed it on the first attempt.  I know you were wondering But I had 12 semester hours of real estate classes at an accredited university.)

It's interesting that the association officers who are elected by the members for years have been impotent in any significant effort to better our profession.  Maybe it's because they are in and out of office in a year.


But whatever the reason,  licensing and Realtor membership should be causing increased proof of professional real estate knowledge rather than making sure that most will be able to pass the exam that is given.


I don't know how to make that happen.  Perhaps you do.



SINCE 1966


214 503-8563













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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Bill- there was an old lawyer joke rattling around in my head as I read the beginning of your post.  But it seems to me that lowering standards is not the answer. Yes, review to see if what you are asking is realistic, but don't lower the bar. 

Jun 03, 2017 05:58 PM #1
Anna Banana Kruchten CRS CRB, Phoenix Broker
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Bill I've been talking about this for years and sat our AZ state education committee for a year.  The end result is that the legislators, not the association, control all the laws and rules. What we were told is that they want to give as many opportunities to all people to enter the profession.  It takes 1500 hours to become a licensed hair stylist and only 90 hours to be able to guide people in what is typically their biggest financial transaction. Now who does that make sense to?  Not me.

Jun 04, 2017 11:48 AM #2
Sam Shueh
(408) 425-1601 - San Jose, CA
mba, cdpe, reopro, pe

Interesting stats. In CA most better public law schools have a high passing rate for licensing.  It is mostly around 70%.  I worked at one of those online law school moonlight installed equipment for online class video camera as a consultant.  It paid very well for a few hours of work a week. It had 2 or 3 PT students who passed the exam.   

Jun 04, 2017 12:38 PM #3
Linda M. Lukas
Lukas Properties - Orange, CA

    Interesting.....becoming an attorney in California is a license to steal.....they take retainers and it's hell to get a statement and when you do, its fat and inflated.  Mortgage companies can not take "front fees" because the Bureau of Real Estate needs something to do and chasing realtors is their favorite hobby.     People will search for a loan, play games with a mortgage company for a month or two and walk away.    The next thing you know, they run to the Bureau of Real Estate and file a bogus complaint usually something like "bait and switch" or "they collected front fees" when the client submitted a fraudulent application, so their interest rate quote was based on what they alleged not what the real facts turned out to be and all they paid for was an appraisal.   But the Bureau of Real Estate will make your life miserable defending yourself and even make you hire an attorney based on a fraudulent compaint.....Borrowers will make a fraudulent complaint in order to get the money back on the appraisal they paid for.....yes it happens all the time in the land of fruit and nuts.....but I digress.

I believe that passing the bar should be a rigorous test.

 Passing the real estate sales agent test is pretty easy....and every third person in California has a sales agent license hung with some broker who, at one time, thought that the agent was going to produce........I was amazed at how hard the Broker's exam was.....I took the test with about 50-60 people in the room.  At the end of the day, there were about 6-8 people who actually finished the test.  I was one of them but I wasn't sure that I had passed.  I did, but you never actually find out how you did on the test.

    Here in California, we have plenty of attorneys, plenty of realtors and plenty of accountants....What we need are more technical schools to train plumbers, heating and air conditioning repair people, electricians etc.   I once had a plumber who had a fully equipped truck, a Cadillac SUV and his wife drove a Cadillac SUV.  He told me his house was almost paid off and he had saved enough college tuition money for his 3 kids.....he was plannning on retiring when he turned 55.  He actually told me that he was going to discontinue residential work in favor of new homes and commercial projects.        But here in California, blue collar trades carry a certain onus among the liberal populace unless you have a large company.  When parents complain to me that their children have no interest in college and are doing poorly, I always suggest trade school....you should see the looks I have gotten....you would think they had to cut their left one off.....

     But back to passing the bar....I know one man, married with a child and another one on the way, who took the bar twice and failed twice.....he supported his family by writing wills and trusts for people at church.  You only need to pass the bar to practice in court.  He then obtained a job with a Korean company handling various human resource issues and the like and is making six figures.  He never sets foot in a court room and makes good money.  I am not sure that he will ever take the bar again....why should he?   He could make more money in private practice but with the litigious populace out to get you, he is better off doing what he is doing.  

     I would like to see a harder real estate agents license and more mandatory education prior to testing.  People treat it like its a joke since everyone has a license....

Jun 04, 2017 01:35 PM #4
Margaret Goss
Baird & Warner Real Estate - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Several years ago there was a big push in Illinois (!) to "upgrade" the real estate profession by requiring that all licensees become brokers.  It used to be that getting a broker's license required taking five separate classes - all of which were two days long. Many years ago I took the Financing class and passed but decided that I didn't need to become a broker.

Fast foward to the new "broker" requirements.  Instead of 10 days in a classroom learning advanced real estate theory, the test was dumbed down to one class that was just 1/2 day!  Talk about a scam!!

The state of Illinois (!) got lots of extra money, we're all brokers now, and it means NOTHING.  

And I don't see it changing - ever.

Jun 04, 2017 03:14 PM #5
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!

Great post!  I completely agree.  Seems that's the government's solution to filling quotas.  Don't raise standards, lower them and give different groups advantaged grading or credits or something to give them a jump so the numbers will be equitable. 

A bunch of BS.  Be good or go home. 

Jun 04, 2017 08:50 PM #6
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Anyone can become a reverend, massage therapist, health consultant & hair stylist (and many more) easy as pie and I am sorry to say Real Estate agent until recent raising of the licensing "bar". As to the CA legal Bar, it weeds out those that shouldn't be there and if not, the industry corrects itself to be sure. Look for the person whose heart lines up with their profession. We all win

Jun 05, 2017 06:18 AM #7
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I do not think requirements for things like an attorney should be lowered. Imagine if they lowered the requirements for a doctor? If you can't pass after multiple attempts perhaps that's not the right field!

Jun 05, 2017 07:55 AM #8
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Before I got to the punch line ... how it relates to real estate ... that is exactly what I was thinking.  I've talked to agents in my area who confessed they took the exam 7-8 times!!!  An the exam is super easy.  

Jun 05, 2017 02:00 PM #9
Bill Cherry, Realtor - Dallas, TX
Broker & Wealth Coach

The problem is that we are being controlled by a group whose interest is not the same as ours.  Theirs is to build an administrative empire that supports their  wishful salaries.  Ours is to have an adequate number of competent, ethical agents to serve clients.  It costs about $2,000 a year in license, Realtor and MLS fees per member in Dallas.  There are 14,500 Realtors here.  So that's a minimum gross budget of $26 million for the Realtor fees and $1,4 million gross for licensing fees.  This thing is an industry that we buy for those who run it.

Jun 05, 2017 02:40 PM #10
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Bill, you have highlighted an issue that has been a great concern to me for several years.

Real estate agents do not have the best image among consumers. That is because we do not put enough emphasis on professionalism. A big part of that is education. 

I would really like to see the State agency that governs agents license to raise the bar. But we also have to look at the Brokers who oversee their agents. They need to provide more education and supervision.

Thanks for a stimulating post that has generated great discussion.

Jun 06, 2017 08:02 AM #11
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Let's not demean RE agents or lawyers or for that matter anyone who has just received a license regardless of the industry as being incompetent.

Doctors serve as interns and RE agents and lawyers have experienced supervisors training (or should be training) newbies with projects or transactions to gain experience until they master one or more areas of their business before they are released to the market.

John Wiley, #11, sees the need for Brokers to do a better job of training and supervision. When agents fail, their Brokers fail too, so, let's focus on all of the elements to competency. 

Jun 11, 2017 11:10 PM #12
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Bill,

That always baffled me. Training makes our profession better.

Jul 25, 2018 10:33 AM #13
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