Editor's note: You can comment on this perspective at the blog post on the Inman News Blog. Just go to today's entry, "Bring back the gold coats," on the Inman blog and click on the comments link just below the entry. I remember when real estate was colorful and even a little nutty. That era symbolically ended in 1996 when Century 21 CEO Robert Pitman abolished the gold coats that every C21 agent wore for more than 30 years. The big shot New Yorker media exec left the franchise soon after, but the gold coats were gone for good. Brand police overwhelmed the industry, and its personality was washed out. For the last decade, industry trade groups and national franchises became obsessed with the "professionalism" of the industry. Ironically, they did not raise the professional standards of Realtors, such as supporting higher licensing requirements or lobbying for stiffer penalties for wayward agents. Instead they worked around the edges, teaching sameness and a standard look and feel. And...
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