OpinionAgent

Remind me, why am I a Realtor?

Seemingly, because everyone else is
  • It feels like every real estate agent is a Realtor.
  • Realtors are not held to any enforceable standards.
  • The consumers don't know the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor.

A recent revealing Inman article, “Where NAR spends its money: Employee compensation,” showed that around a quarter of the near $200 million in dues from the 1.1 million Realtors goes to pay the salaries of just 300-plus National Association of Realtors’ employees.

This makes me question more and more, what am I even paying to be a part of it?

My MLS is less user-friendly and severely lagging behind Zillow, I’m forced to pay to join local, state and national associations, and most importantly, the general public thinks every real estate agent is a Realtor, and you know why? It’s because most of them are.

Imagine if once you got your driver’s license you were forced to pay to join the National Association of Drivers to prove you are a better, more qualified driver than someone who was not part of the association.

Then you find out that basically every driver, whether he or she had multiple accidents, reckless driving citations or speeding tickets, is, in fact, a member of your association. That’s kind of what it’s like to be a Realtor. (Also, how you obtain licenses from both are eerily similar, but that’s a separate issue.)

The problem is: being a Realtor no longer means anything. We are touted as a group of industry experts who are held to a higher code of ethics, higher levels of professionalism and higher standards of education. But if almost every agent is a Realtor, how can that possibly be the truth? Wouldn’t that just be the norm?

It would probably be fine if it were the norm, but sadly, it’s not. There are so many unprofessional, unethical, unqualified real estate agents who get to call themselves Realtors, and the consumer can’t tell one from the other.

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I’m not sure how an organization that’s original purpose was lobbying morphed into the standard for real estate accreditation, but it’s beyond clear that we are in dire need of something else that holds us all to a higher standard. Something we can we feel pride in, something that consumers recognize as the way the industry should be handled.

One of the core initiatives that NAR was established upon was, “To unite the real estate men of America for the purpose of effectively exerting a combined influence upon matters affecting real estate interests.”

Maybe NAR leaders should go back in time, take a look at that initiative and add the word women, and become the organization it seemed to want to be in the first place: The National Association of Real Estate Lobbyists.

Then maybe we can establish a respected, nationally recognized organization that requires you to do more than line the pockets of executives to become a member.

Mike Biundo Jr. is a New Hampshire Realtor, who works for Innovative Realty, Innovativerealtyteam.com. You can follow him on Facebook.

Email Mike Biundo.