By Stefan Swanepoel
RISMEDIA, June 22, 2007-“With the expansion of the number of Realtors, the level of competence has fallen to its lowest point ever,” says former NAR Chief Economist and best-selling author Dr. John Tuccillo.
According the 2007 Swanepoel TRENDS Report, the 2000-2005 real estate boom not only caused a huge surge in new agents but during the heyday many of those that left or will soon be leaving the industry contributed to weakening the reputation of the profession in general-especially in the eyes of the new online consumer. This is a regrettable situation and although it has been experienced before, this cycle is considerably more exaggerated.
“Consumers have no guarantee that anyone calling themselves a Realtor actually knows what they are doing,” says industry consultant Jim Sherry.
Pam O’Connor, CEO of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, agrees and says that much higher entry standards to qualify for a real estate license should be required. This, coupled with intensive post-licensing education, would have far-reaching effects on improving the level of professionalism in the industry.
It is unbelievable that in some states an individual only needs to complete 48 hours of pre-license training and pass a test to obtain a real estate license when other licenses require much more training before being licensed: esthetician requires 600 hours, plumbers 2,080 hours, hair stylists 1,500 hours. It is obvious that in those states where only a few hundred hours are required, agents need to voluntarily advance their study if they wish to offer top-notch service-but do they?
“This generally does not happen,” says Bill Shue, president of RealtyU, a leader in career development. “Many times, just because a specific course is not approved to satisfy CE (continuation education) requirements agents don’t take the course and that’s a shame,” he says.
Clearly this is no longer acceptable and a downturn in the market will hopefully weed out the weaker, uncommitted agents. Agents that intend to remain in the industry need to assume personal responsibility and step up to the plate like never before to ensure they are more knowledgeable than their competitors.
According to Shue, real estate is no longer a part-time, halfway station on the road to making a quick buck. The new online consumers are expecting a great deal more than their counterparts a decade ago. The area in which Shue feels real estate agents need improvement directly relate to their skill sets:
– Buyer Agency and Seller Agency
– Effective Marketing Online
– In-depth Neighborhood Knowledge
– Generational Selling
– Selling of Unique and Luxury Properties
– Staging of a Home
“Today’s consumers are almost mercenary in their search for a good deal. Realtors that don’t have good negotiating skills might as well be going into a sword fight with a toothpick. You can never learn or be prepared enough,” says popular national instructor and speaker Terry Watson.
Wondering about what education you should take or what new business models you should consider exploriong? Read the Swanepoel TRENDS Report, the most comprehensive and extensive report detailing change and real estate trends, and ensure that you stay on track.
For more information, go to www.ReTrends.com…and use the code RIS2007 for a 10% discount and free shipping, courtesy of RIS Media.