Does Being a Realtor Matter Anymore or are we Branded Past Importance

By
Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker 69190

Blythewood, SC Realtors  Everyone understands what we mean by branding and creating name recognition right, so I won't go through the trouble of explaining that. I will however explain that when I ask if being a Realtor matters, I don't necessarily mean does it matter to thoughts that are Realtors. they pay their dues and joined, as do I, therefore I assume it matters to you. What I mean to ask for the most part is, does it matter anymore to the general public whose attention and  affection we so desire, or has the term Realtor itself simply become synonymous with being a real estate agent?

 

Blythewood, SC Realtors For the first several years of my career I hung my license with the largest brokerage in the Midlands. It was started by two individual that still ran the place when I got there. During the recession when everyone was dropping out the business and the sky was falling, many of the Realtors in our company simply could not pay their dues.

  As the company used the term Realtors in it's name, The National Association of Realtors rightfully sent a bill to the C.E.O to inform him that as long as they used the name, the company had to pay the bill for all the agents that didn't pay their dues. The answer was pretty swift from the Brokerage, they changed their name and replaced all the signs in front of our 14 offices. This was cheaper than paying the $60,000 or so that NAR demanded.

 

Blythewood, SC Realtors   So for the next few years, the brokerage carried on with the term real estate replacing Realtors in the title. Not only did we continue to do well, but we gained significant market share during the recession and even more after. For about 3 or 4 years if memory serves correct, I was no longer a Realtor, but a real estate agent and at first I was very concerned about the change in the beginning. However, in those years, clients came and went and not a single one of them asked about the name nor did they seem to worry that I was not a Realtor. I even explained to each one that used the term Realtor in reference to me that I was a real estate agent now and that we were no longer members of NAR and therefore could not use the term Realtor. Again, no real concern shown.

 

Blythewood, SC Realtors  I am once again after that small break a Realtor as the company I worked with was sold to a big box after the owners each passed away. The experience however reminded me of the fact that I don't know the last time that anyone asked me for a tissue without calling it a Kleenex. You see, Kleenex is a brand of tissue, not a tissue itself. However, their brand became so synonymous with the word tissue, that now everyone simply uses the terms interchangeably. They just ask for a Kleenex, when they really mean that all they want is a tissue, and the brand doesn't matter.

 

So have we now done the same thing? Have we branded our self past importance when it comes to the general public? Sure they say they would like to work with a Realtor, but do they mean that they just want a Real Estate agent, and the brand doesn't matter?

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Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ginger Harper 02/24/2018 01:22 PM
  2. Fred Griffin Tallahassee Real Estate 09/21/2018 08:32 AM
Topic:
Real Estate Industry
Location:
South Carolina Richland County Blythewood Longcreek Plantation
Groups:
Realtors®
The Art Of Marketing You
M.A.N.C.R.O.W
Bananatude
Bartender, Make it a Double
Tags:
realtors
blythewood sc homes for sale

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Ambassador
4,014,792
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

HI JL- I'm with Sharon Tara on this. Before reading the posts here, I had no clue about the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor. And to use the Kleenex example, I'll go into Target and may have Kleenex on my list but I'll buy Puffs because they're softer and I like it better. 

Feb 25, 2018 10:31 AM #22
Rainmaker
397,535
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

JL, I don't think most of my client base knows the difference between agent and Realtor. But I do, and that professionalism and pride translates in everything I do.

Feb 25, 2018 02:08 PM #24
Rainmaker
989,081
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

It doesn't matter to the public if they don't care about homeowner rights.  I'd rather be a realtor and support the million plus members who are driving and working for public benefits, like mortgage interest deduction.  It may not matter to the public if they don't know the difference of supporting ethics and what that means.  I'll choose to be a realtor for the rest of my career, and especially now that I'm a Director at my association.  

Feb 25, 2018 06:21 PM #25
Rainmaker
333,525
Sharon Miller
RE/MAX Platinum - Crane Hill, AL

J L,

Very insightful post regarding society's current "disinterest" with labeling. A new era of PC "etiquette" has ascended to the forefront, as a vast majority of our populace, has now become fixated with self-indulgence. As a consequence, dealing with the formalities once deemed important by previous generation's of people, has for all intents and purpose, become a moot point.

Individuals involved with the selling of real estate are viewed by today's general public, in the same light as the teller at your bank, the kid's school bus driver, the mechanic who fixes your automobile or the woman who works behind the deli at your supermarket.

I understand the level of service and expertise which I deliver.....is all that really matters. I want my name to be synonymous with "delivering the goods". 

 

 

 

Feb 26, 2018 07:24 AM #26
Rainmaker
663,085
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

Hi JL Boney, III 

Great article and questions.  

First...let me state that at one time about 10 years ago I was the Secretary/Treasurer and then Vice President of our local Buffalo County Board of Realtors. I also was on State level committees. I earned the CRS, GRI, and ABR designations.

I was asked to join a real estate company that was statewide in the rural markets and not members of the local, state, or national boards. I approached all 3 boards about having the Boker and I join.

Only the State Board said for me to remain a member...all 30+ agents of this company would have to join all 3 Boards...sound familiar? What stupidity on their part.

Now, over 10 years later, I still 100% believe that the State and National Boards are a joke and waste of money.

ALL of you real estate agents and Brokers could very easily survive with a private MLS that anyone can belong to for a fee.

You see...I was and am willing to pay the local fee but they are not allowed to let me join...they want me to join...but I can't unless I pay ransom to the state and national boards.

I have been extremely successful over the past 10 years not being a member...but admittedly, it is frustrating not having an electronic lock box key...more for the agent that has to accomodate me than me.  State Law says they have to allow me to show the MLS homes whether I have an MLS key or not.  That puts undue pressure on them.

In regards to ethics...joining NAR does not mean that you have higher ethics or morals than a non-member...it means that you are paying to adhere to the NAR Code of Ethics. 

A true moral and ethical person should be adhering to a higher standard than those anyway.  Paying for it on a yearly basis does not make you better...and I have yet...in the past 10 years...had anyone say they would not use me because I was not a member.

 

Feb 26, 2018 07:28 AM #27
Rainmaker
1,527,418
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Ask almost any Realtor and they will say the same thing (read the comments above).  The public doesn't know or care about the difference between Realtor and real estate agent.   Realtor is no different than a Kleenex!

Feb 26, 2018 07:49 AM #28
Rainmaker
690,576
Laura Filip
Laura Filip Broker , Opening doors for All Seasons of Life - Whitesboro, TX
What can we do for you today?

Thank you for sharing this amazingly wonderful post. NAR does very little for anyone but themselves. The public has no need to worry about the term Realtor and what it means. 

Feb 26, 2018 08:10 AM #29
Rainmaker
939,578
Brigita McKelvie, Associate Broker
Cindy Stys Equestrian and Country Properties, Ltd. - Lehigh Valley, PA
The Broker with horse sense and no horsing around

Good morning, JL!

I honestly do not think it makes a difference to the consumer if we are REALTORS or Real Estate Agents.  To them, it means the same thing.  We help consumers buy and sell houses and property.  It's a shame.

Brigita

Feb 26, 2018 08:21 AM #30
Rainer
315,490
Linda Metallo DiBenardo
RE/MAX Impact, Lockport, Illinois - Lockport, IL

No JL, I doubt the general public knows or cares about the difference between Realtor and real estate agent.    Only members of the NAR know and we must be sure we always pay our mandatory dues and pronounce Realtor correctly 

Feb 26, 2018 08:58 AM #31
Rainmaker
401,796
Marney Kirk
Cummings & Co. Realtors - Towson, MD
Towson, Maryland Real Estate

JL Boney, III , you hit the nail on the head here. The general public does not know that not every real estate agent is a REALTOR. Here in Maryland, the only way to have access to our MLS system is to be a member of the board. I am quite certain that is the only reason many members are REALTORS. Perfect analogy with the Kleenex. Despite the fact that we use Puffs Plus in my house, the family still asks for a Kleenex!

Feb 26, 2018 10:30 AM #32
Rainmaker
1,492,169
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

Consumers do not (for the most part) know that there is a difference between a real estate agent/salesperson and a REALTOR. It's all the same thing. 

Feb 26, 2018 11:05 AM #33
Rainer
486,409
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

The brand is your name, yet the tools we need to succeed are controlled by NAR and the local Boards of the MLS. However, when I choose not to become a Realtor, I'll still pay a fee to our Broker to hang my license and use his resources so I could save 50% or more annually for access to the Brokers resources. 

I'm going to cease my NAR affiliation, save about 50% for dues and see what happens. I'm transitioning to a new business plan and am excited to explore the landscape and determine the consequences if there are any. Adapting to change and new strategies are difficult, however, the brand will dictate what direction you're willing to travel.

Feb 26, 2018 10:51 PM #34
Rainmaker
649,040
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Nar isn't what it used to be.... like so many things they have become so political they tend to forget the mission and the membership.

I have served on my board many many times as well as state board and RPAC trustee I am currently on state legislative committee and state grievance chairperson. On a state level we have been able to make good changes to our statues and regulations. We helped rewrite the  AK usuary law which was really important and good for our state. We have helped with many significant things as well as the RD Nationwide regulations on holding tanks for potable water. 

I think you get what you give. I am not 100% happy with NAR on a national basis but I know we have made a difference locally and statewide and I am proud of those achievements and that makes it worthwhile for me.

I agree most people dont know the difference between REALTOR and real estate salesperson... but I do... 

Feb 27, 2018 01:02 AM #35
Rainer
247,791
Doug Bullwinkel
Envoy Mortgage, NMLS 6666 - Roseville, CA
Mortgage Loan Originator NMLS #281609

Homebuyers want fair, ethical and professional representation from their agent.  They may or may not know the difference between Realtor and Real Estate Agent but they know if they have been treated fairly.

Feb 27, 2018 04:05 AM #36
Rainmaker
1,965,867
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
MOOERS REALTY - Houlton, ME
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

If you are a REALTOR and attend the county and state meetings, overtime you become a better agent or broker. Regardless of your thoughts on NAR and what they do to lobby for legislation that affects homeowner's rights, real estate issues, etc. Remember why the REALTOR organization and designation started. I agree with Debra Leisek and Jan Green ... the MAR group in my state does so much good for affordable housing, state legislation for property owner rights and helps make the local area a better place to live. Proactive, positive and community minded. The REALTOR legal hot line in how to handle sticky situations best, most professionally and contract review committee improvements alone are worth the price of admission. It's not a franchise. Without the trade group association it would be a free for all like back in the days when they established the real estate dealers exchange in Chicago in 1908 where it was self serving not public protective. Client, customer, if every agent or broker took the code of ethics seriously the home buyers and sellers we represent would be better off. I don't think Realtor.com should have been sold off, I don't think all the time that many NAR execs in the glass corner offices are in touch with the guys and gals in the real estate trenches in our local communities. But NAR is more than counting up the number of agents and sending in whopping amounts of dues. I am proud to be a REALTOR. Like federal government, shrink it at the top and make it more affordable. Give back control to the states, the counties. In my area, in my state the public does know what a REALTOR is. If you don't believe and promote the REALTOR ideals, the buyers and sellers in your area won't know what the R stands for or appreciate it. Rotary has a four way test... your REALTOR group is that four way test and more specific to real estate transactions... a higher standard to live by and guide you. I don't reduce it to something as trivial as some say tissue, you say Kleenex.

Feb 27, 2018 04:31 AM #37
Rainmaker
262,473
Sandra Paulow
Aspen Properties, Inc. - Pinetop Lakeside, AZ
REALTOR, Associate Broker, GRI, SFR

I am not sure the general public ever knew the difference.  To them any agent is a REALTOR, and they don't have a clue that it is a brand per se'.  I am on board with most of those who feel it is a term that is meaningless and is nothing more than a political money grab from agents.  They hold our MLS's and our keysafe's hostage, as a means to force membership.  When a State Representative recently said that approximately 80% of the dues we pay is for political lobbying efforts, it turned me off more.  Certainly they do advocate for homeowner's rights and provide us with some tools, but otherwise, belonging to the associations is of little actual benefit to agents. 

 

Feb 27, 2018 06:21 AM #38
Rainmaker
401,523
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Realtor® was meant to carry a higher level meaning than real estate agent.

It is supposed to carry the idea that we abide by the Code of Ethics.

However, as you have pointed out, the consumer does not know the difference.

NAR brands Realtor®, but we must do our own branding that lets the consumer know the benefits of working with us.

Feb 27, 2018 07:43 AM #39
Rainmaker
2,190,577
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

If given a choice between working with a real estate agent or a Realtor, and if the public knew what the difference was, the public would choose a Realtor.

But the public doesn't know, doesn't care and never will.

Feb 27, 2018 10:41 AM #40
Rainmaker
764,442
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Despite all those really good commericals and even a stint on Modern Family, the general public seems not to know and not to care about our Realtor trademark.

Feb 27, 2018 02:16 PM #41
Rainmaker
397,535
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Most people cannot even say Realtor correctly. I even had a manager who said Real-a-tor - 3 syllables intstead of 2!  Obviously he wasn't a good Speak-at-er. 

Mar 01, 2018 01:59 PM #42
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JL Boney, III

Columbia, SC Real Estate
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