A visit to your website, reveals that you have 1.3 million members. I am just one of them. Maybe, I don’t see the big picture. It could be that I am too involved in the day to day activities performing my job to understand the world as you see it.
I am concerned.
You see, you have various associations across the country and many of our membership become involved in local issues. They work on fine tuning the forms we use. The keep abreast of local legislatures and research every piece of legislation that is introduced to weigh it’s impact on the real estate industry. There are lots of committees and people well suited to analysis are on them. We don’t need another committee.
At a National level, it appears that there are lots of folks attempting to keep on top of bills in the house and senate. You have more committees and departments and realtors turned bureaucrats. You must have a group that puts together advertising campaigns. You have a large convention each year, so one would assume that there is a department handling that as well. The NAR has a large enough staff to serve us.
What about us?
I know, we band together and elect a President each year. I saw the our newest President for the first time in the now infamous Jim Cramer debate. The outcry following that should have sent a message to someone that the system is flawed. Is there not one among us that has passion and the ability to stand up and represent us. Can’t we find one person who will look into a camera and leave us feeling we are damn proud of our profession? Isn’t there one person that can stand up to the scrutiny of a public audiennce and represent us in a fashion that leaves viewers and listeners with the feeling that we are professionals and provide a valuable service to our clients. He may have been doing his best, but he didn’t represent me. He didn’t represent hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the country. Note, I said real estate agents.
You see try as you might with your advertising, the public is clueless about the difference. In practice, there is little difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor. The Reator has an edge up, not because of some oath taken to be ethical, no, the Realtor has an edge up because he or she is a dues paying member and has access to the MLS. The public remains in the dark, because that difference really has more to do with a competitive edge than it has to do with all your pronouncements about a Realtor.
What about us?
We are the ones that have to deal with the repercusions of Lawrence Yun’s sugar coated pronouncements about the market. We are the ones that have to deal with the public, face to face, every day. We have to explain the truth to them. We can not sit back and pretend that the “king is wearing a grand outfit” when we and the public see the king naked as a jaybird before us. We have to deal in the real world.
And you know what, we are very good at what we do. We care. We really are a part of our community. We do attempt to stay abreast of all new learning experiences. We also realize that the continuing education that you prattle on about is meaningless. Hours of continuing education are truly only a measure of how many hours an agent has sat in a seat and listened to an appointed instructor talk about a topic. There is no measurement of what we have learned or retained. Of course the flip side is….we live the lessons everyday. We are good at what we do.
We survive despite battles that occur broker to broker, business model to business model,etc.. We survive despite the fact the public is never truly informed about our value. We survive despite the time it takes to educate another agent during a transaction. We survive despite the NAR.
What about us?
How can 1.3 million agents find a voice? How do we find the opportunity to bring our reality before those that we serve? How do we rise above the bureaucratic boondoggle in the NAR headquarters and discover a way to be heard on issues that really affect us?
I would hope that somehow, we the 1.3 million members that make up the NAR begin to realize that we need a voice that is filled with hope and not with fiction. We need a voice that is filled with truth and not marketing deception. We need a voice that will ring loudly from the beautiful coastline of Carolina, to the small towns rebuilding in Alabama, Mississippi, Louisanna and Florida, to the vast plains that stretch from the Mississippi River to the Rocky Mountains, to the glorious shoreline that bids adieu to a sunset each evening. We need a voice.
We need a voice that understands the difficulty facing agents new and old alike. We need a voice that will rise up against those that challenge our worth in the marketplace. We need a voice that will assert our value to the community.
We need the truth, regardless if it may appear to be good, bad or ugly.
You represent us, but we need a voice that you will hear when it says….You may represent us, but we are you.
We need a voice that will explain to you in a fashion that you understand, ideas like the ad you will be running on November 4th and 11th is another misguided attempt. We are not selling investments. We are not selling retirements. We are not selling personal wealth.
We sell homes. You have one sentence that casually mentions that in your ad. We sell homes.
The majority of the 1.3 million members do not have the luxury of sitting back and reading polling data to decide the focus of any campaign. We sell homes. We know there is a pent up demand. It is a demand for the family that has outgrown their current home. It is a demand for the empty nesters that need to down size. It is a demand for people that have been transferred. It is a demand for people that can not afford the home they are in today. These are real factors.
Keep pushing the market is “fine”. Keep trying to sell the public on the great investment quality of a home. Keep spending our hard earned dues on programs that continue to fail to jell. Keep spending our hard earned dollars on idiotic pronouncements from Mr. Yun. Idiotic? You can not expect the public to grasp reality when it is spun from more angles than Sir Issac Newton thought could exist.
We will find a voice. We will begin to understand the undeniable truth about “strength in numbers”. We will be heard. You see, we are very good at what we do. Many of us would like you to get out of the way and let us do our job.
I believe in my fellow real estate agents. The question that remains, unanswered, is where is the voice that will lead us. The silence of over one million agents does not represent acquiesence: we are quietly waiting on the voice.
What about us?