My wife Yaz and I recently attended a real estate conference where I noticed her being more perky in public than normal. I asked her what was going on and she said, “I am giving it that Realtor confidence persona; you know how these folks are always so charming, alive and engaged.”

It was a well-deserved compliment to the average Realtor who must constantly remain vibrant and present to make it in a tough and evolving business.

Despite the changes wreaking havoc on other parts of the industry, the everyday agent has remained central to the transaction. Nearly 90 percent of consumers rely on one when buying or selling a house, and despite robots, mega-portals and new software, they will be around for a long time to come.

In part, their persistence and determination has saved them from disruption.

That’s why Inman wants to honor the Everyday Realtor as our Person of the Year.

These extraordinary people earn a living without receiving a salary or even minimum wage. They are entirely commission-based — they wake up every morning without a paid job.

They must dig deep and reach high to find the fortitude to keep it going. Theirs is not easy work.

No one is paying for their health insurance, sick days, paid time off or maternity leave. No one buys them a computer, a cell phone or a company car.

It is agents who have paid for the expensive explosion in digital advertising. Franchises and brokers may promote it, but agents fund it.

Who is paying Zillow and The agents.

Who is paying for BoomTown, Commissions Inc.DocuSign and Inman Select? The agents.

Who is paying the MLSs, along with the national and local associations? The agents.

Who is paying the coaches? The agents.

An elaborate maze of technology, business infrastructure and industry support is funded on the back of the agents’ hard work and their customers’ fees.

Oddly, cynical consultants, associations execs, tech entrepreneurs and brokers will often poke fun at the characters in the real estate agent community. Incredulous. Consider, it is agents who indirectly fund most of the corporate salaries, their perks, business travels and excesses.

The fat cats should be on their knees with gratitude.  The paid staffers are not working weekends, nights and even, at times, holidays. Eight days a week with a smile.

So let’s forgive agents for occasionally being pushy or cheesy and instead honor their dedication to helping people buy and sell homes.

At Inman, we deeply appreciate our agent readers and we promise to respect, challenge and serve them not only this week but for years to come with independent information (sometimes hard to stomach) that will help them survive and thrive.

Email Brad Inman

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