Recently I read that an annual poll taken among Americans rated Realtors as one of the least respected professions in the country. For the first time in history, Realtors fell not only to the bottom of the list, but even below non-licensed, non-governed professions. Yes, we finally beat out used-car salesman as the least respected profession. Different polls have yielded different results, but this particular poll focused on ‘the trust of a professional to give good advice.’
Now, for me herein lies a particular conundrum. To start, certain significant differences exist between professions. For example, Realtors are licensed, and as such, they are governed by three governing bodies: their local board of Realtors, their state board of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors. To be licensed, each Realtor must pass a number of significant signposts. For example, in Texas, a minimum of three college level courses must be completed to obtain a license. Of course, this only applies to college-degreed individuals: more courses are required if the candidate does not possess an accredited degree. Next, they must pass the licensing exam.
Once their license is obtained, continuing education is mandatory to retain the license, as is common in many professions, such as Accountancy, Law, etc. This requirement is strictly enforced and must include a minimum amount of real estate law. Thus Realtors stay relatively abreast of changes in real estate and law, and, in particular, nowadays, of the growing problem of mortgage fraud, which can in some instances, implicate the seller, even if the seller is ignorant of the law, they can potentially face criminal charges and substantial fines as an accomplice. (Ignorance of the law is no excuse).
A Realtor, as a seller’s agent, can usually spot the red flags related to mortgage fraud and alert their client to the possibility and possible sources of relief to avoid an undesirable outcome (like jail). In short, the Realtor is a professional, and, in some cases, can not only sell your house, but keep you out of legal troubles.
Additionally, Realtors, per the National Association of Realtors, are bound by a code of ethics, which they must agree and abide by, for if they do not, they can (and usually are) brought before a court of inquiry through their local or state boards to determine their guilt or innocence and receive appropriate disciplinary measures. In short, if a Realtor is unethical (not just operating outside the law, but operating within the law unethically), they can (and will, if found guilty) lose their license to practice.
Did you know that a real estate agent is governed by the same body of law that governs attorneys? That’s right; it’s called the Law of Agency and it varies a bit state by state, but fundamentally, it says that a Realtor is required by law to put your interests above their own. The point is this: Attorneys and Realtors are bound by the same set of laws. Yet, somehow, Attorneys rate MUCH higher in the poll.
Ever consider what it cost just to practice real estate? Between the expense of joining the local, state, and national boards, as well as the local MLS dues, showing service fees, website fees, errors & omissions insurance, advertising costs, AND broker related fees and dues, a Realtor pays thousands of dollars (even tens of thousands) each year just to be a Realtor.
And we’re not finished yet. Once a Realtor is licensed, they must find a Broker to sponsor them. Now, this really isn’t that hard, but if you have a bad reputation in the field (and in real estate, everyone knows everyone), this might be much harder than you might think. In these cases, where reputations are poor, no broker will touch them, so a Realtor’s only choice is to become a Broker (which means more classes, more expense, more training, and another licensing test) in order to continue to practice real estate. This isn’t saying that all small brokerages are probable crooks, in fact, in most cases, small brokerages are just entrepreneurially oriented individuals trying to build a legitimate business, but there are cases where this is the last opportunity for some Realtors to practice real estate before being run out of town on a rail, so to speak.
I know this seems like rambling, or I’m complaining over something small, but I’m really not. I have an MBA; I am a Certified Management Accountant; I am Certified in Financial Management; I spent 23 years in banking and as a business consultant. Two years ago I got disgruntled with the internal political machinery that constitute ‘success’ in corporate America and quit in order to look myself in the mirror at night. So I joined my wife to build a credible, honest business based on integrity. I became a Realtor.
What I found was that no one trusted me and that somewhat astounded me. People thought I took a listing, sat back, watched TV, drank beer, and waited for someone to sell their property. I’m not making this up – they really thought this. They complained about the fact I wasn’t doing anything for them.
Wow! If they think I wasn’t working for them, they should take a long look at corporate America!
Now, get this, I would receive these complaints around 8:30 p.m. while I was still in the office working. For some reason, these clients didn’t add it up that it was 8:30 at night, and I was still at work. I have found that to remain competitive in real estate, I work seven days a week starting around 9:00 a.m. and end the day somewhere between 9:00 p.m. and midnight–every day, and I am usually so busy, I forget to eat lunch (I used to tease my wife how she could possibly forget to eat lunch, but now that I’m in the business, I understand). That’s just what it takes to get all the phone calls answered or returned, the negotiations put to bed, the inspection issues resolved, the photos and virtual tours taken and posted, the newspaper ads ordered, the just listed cards sent out, the just sold cards sent, the monthly newsletter and other marketing materials in the mail, the website and MLS updated, the flyers designed, printed, and delivered to the property, the books balanced, the supplies replenished, the equipment fixed, the computers/printers/fax kept operational, the emails read and processed, the mail read and processed, all the paperwork completed perfectly and processed (the then verified for accuracy), the prospecting done, the client follow-ups finished (time permitting), the closings attended, the closing gifts purchased and delivered, the listing presentations prepared and made, the comparative market analyses done, potential homes identified for buyers, the potential homes shown to buyers, the bills paid, the mandatory education completed, the 800 numbers recorded, all amendments signed and filed correctly, putting out ‘for sale’ signs/lock boxes/flyer boxes (or picking them up after a sale), the open houses held, the flyers prepared and distributed in every broker’s office in town for the open house, holding realtor luncheons, flyers prepared and distributed at every broker’s office in town for the realtor luncheon, buying and preparing the food for the realtor luncheons, talking to other agents to get feedback on home showings, and talking to others agents about our listings, fending off frivolous lawsuits, AND telling our clients that we ARE working on selling their home even if they don’t hear from us every day or even if they don’t see us doing anything.
That covers some of what our day is like. Every day is different, but that covers some of it.
Well, if it isn’t obvious, how are Realtors rated so low? We are we at the bottom of the list of all professions? How is this possible? With all due respect to used car salesman (and I mean that – I’ve met a few wonderful used car salespeople), how can a licensed, governed profession, subject to stringent ethical and educational standards, that costs thousands of dollars per year just to practice (our costs to practice exceeded ,000 last year), how can a profession that requires about 80+ hours of work per week — all week — well, how can this profession possiblly be less respected than a profession where NONE of these items are required? It boggles the mind. Are there licensed used car salespeople? Are they held to ethical standards? And — think about this — do they pay thousands to tens of thousands of dollars per year to be a used car salesman?
This isn’t to say that every Realtor walks on water. No. Not even close. But neither does every attorney, doctor, engineer, or accountant. There are levels of skill related to all professions, including Realtors.
So, what I want you to know is that the polls aren’t justified. Yes, they reflect that Realtors are one of the least respected professions in America, but the justification for this is MIA. I know, I worked in corporate America right next to hundreds of CPAs, engineers, systems analysts, programmers, and I lunched with CEO’s, COO’s, and multi-millionaire entreprenuers. I’ve seen it all, I’ve worked with them all, and truthfully, the best bunch (by far) I’ve ever been associated with is the 130 agents in the Ebby Halliday Office in Arlington, Texas.
Are Realtors really one of the least respected profession in America?
Get real, folks.
Use a licensed Realtor. I recommend you find one by getting a referral from someone you trust, but for heaven’s sake, use a licensed professional.
Per National Association of Realtors statistics, you stand a 46 times greater chance of selling your home through a Realtor than on your own, and on average (if you listen to your realtor’s advice) you’ll end receiving a higher price for your home.
Oh, and you just might keep yourself out of jail in the process.
A first title in the ambitious series that identifies and examines the innovative materials that are transforming art, design, and…
Fel-Pro gaskets offers 100% vehicle sealing with application-specific materials to give you sealing solutions with the performance…
BASIC INFO: Product Name: This Retractable Pet Leash Product Dimension: The rope length is 16 feet, great for medium and large siz…
SILHOUETTE OF AMERICA-Adhesive Back Stencil Material. Create reusable stencils with your silhouette electronic cutting tool (sold …
The ultimate cinder block package! 24 cinder blocks arranged on a pallet like you see at the big box stores. What else could you n…
* Scientists at the University of Rochester have used lasers to transform metals into extremely water repellent, or super-hydrophobic, materials without the need for temporary coatings.
Super-hydrophobic materials are desirable for a number of applications such as rust prevention, anti-icing, or even in sanitation uses. However, as Rochester’s Chunlei Guo explains, most current hydrophobic materials rely on chemical coatings.
In a paper (http://scitation.aip.org/content/aip/journal/jap/117/3/10.1063/1.4905616) published today in Journal of Applied Physics, Guo and his colleague at the University’s Institute of Optics, Anatoliy Vorobyev, describe a powerful and precise laser-patterning technique that creates an intricate pattern of micro- and nanoscale structures to give the metals their new properties. This work builds on earlier research by the team in which they used a similar laser-patterning technique that turned metals black (http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=2701). Guo states that using this technique they can create multifunctional surfaces that are not only super-hydrophobic but also highly-absorbent optically.
Guo adds that one of the big advantages of his team’s process is that “the structures created by our laser on the metals are intrinsically part of the material surface.” That means they won’t rub off. And it is these patterns that make the metals repel water.
“The material is so strongly water-repellent, the water actually gets bounced off. Then it lands on the surface again, gets bounced off again, and then it will just roll off from the surface,” said Guo, professor of optics at the University of Rochester. That whole process takes less than a second.
The materials Guo has created are much more slippery than Teflon—a common hydrophobic material that often coats nonstick frying pans. Unlike Guo’s laser-treated metals, the Teflon kitchen tools are not super-hydrophobic. The difference is that to make water to roll-off a Teflon coated material, you need to tilt the surface to nearly a 70-degree angle before the water begins to slide off. You can make water roll off Guo’s metals by tilting them less than five degrees.
As the water bounces off the super-hydrophobic surfaces, it also collects dust particles and takes them along for the ride. To test this self-cleaning property, Guo and his team took ordinary dust from a vacuum cleaner and dumped it onto the treated surface. Roughly half of the dust particles were removed with just three drops of water. It took only a dozen drops to leave the surface spotless. Better yet, it remains completely dry.
Guo is excited by potential applications of super-hydrophobic materials in developing countries. It is this potential that has piqued the interest of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has supported the work.
“In these regions, collecting rain water is vital and using super-hydrophobic materials could increase the efficiency without the need to use large funnels with high-pitched angles to prevent water from sticking to the surface,” says Guo. “A second application could be creating latrines that are cleaner and healthier to use.”
Latrines are a challenge to keep clean in places with little water. By incorporating super-hydrophobic materials, a latrine could remain clean without the need for water flushing.
But challenges still remain to be addressed before these applications can become a reality, Guo states. It currently takes an hour to pattern a 1 inch by 1 inch metal sample, and scaling up this process would be necessary before it can be deployed in developing countries. The researchers are also looking into ways of applying the technique to other, non-metal materials.
Guo and Vorobyev use extremely powerful, but ultra-short, laser pulses to change the surface of the metals. A femtosecond laser pulse lasts on the order of a quadrillionth of a second but reaches a peak power equivalent to that of the entire power grid of North America during its short burst.
Guo is keen to stress that this same technique can give rise to multifunctional metals. Metals are naturally excellent reflectors of light. That’s why they appear to have a shiny luster. Turning them black can therefore make them very efficient at absorbing light. The combination of light-absorbing properties with making metals water repellent could lead to more efficient solar absorbers – solar absorbers that don’t rust and do not need much cleaning.
Guo’s team had previously blasted materials with the lasers and turned them hydrophilic, meaning they attract water. In fact, the materials were so hydrophilic that putting them in contact with a drop of water made water run “uphill” (http://www.rochester.edu/news/show.php?id=3387).
Help us caption & translate this video!
Using Lasers to Create Super-hydrophobic Materials