Question Details

Lorie Gould, Real Estate Pro in Duluth, GA

Agents and Consumers....What are your thoughts?

Asked by Lorie Gould, Duluth, GA Wed Dec 19, 2007

Do you feel the Real Estate Commissions should make it harder for people to become a real estate agent and should they make it harder to stay an agent? Perhaps a minimum number of transactions a year? Afterall we are working with large sums of money and consumers investments!

Would you be willing to pay higher fees if it meant fewer "bad seeds" in the business?

Is it time for reform?

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The costs of doing business are already high enough. Training and testing is required for new and continuing agents in my state of California and in most states. Perhaps the training requirements should gradually be doubled because of the increasing complexity of our business. Right now the requirement here is 3 college level courses in real estate for new agents, 8 college level real estate courses for new brokers (plus two years of experience as an agent. Continuing education requirement is 45 classroom hours (home study allowed)

There are quite a few unlicensed people running around providing real estate services as "investors" "wholesalers" "counselors" "advisers". Many are legitimate, some are not. I would like to see some enforcement against unlicensed people who provide services for which a license is required.

As far as numbers of transactions as a floor - I disagree for personal reasons. Some years I have done very few sales because I am also a reserve federal loan officer for disasters such as Katrina. I did not lose my skills or knowledge while attending to hurricane victims.
Other agents may take sabbaticals for educational, health or spiritual reasons;
some years everything goes your way and some years nothing goes your way.

Still other agents may have one or two really big deals in the works that don't close within the year such as a complicated commercial deal or a high maintenance luxury home, condo complex or subdivision under construction. Some activities require a license but do not result in transactions such as property management. or licensed personal assistants. Quotas are a a bad idea for numerous reasons.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2007
Jim Walker, Real Estate Pro in Carmichael, CA
Great question!

In Washington State the Board of Realtors and the State has been discussing the idea of requiring every agent to become licensed as a Broker, then they would work under a "Designated Broker". Stricter education and testing would be great for not only us but the public. There is nothing worse in my book than an Agent who is licensed that cannot fill out the right paperwork for a basic sale, or who makes a mistake that hurts his own or anyone else’s client. It happens, but it shouldn't.

Bravo Lorie!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2007
Hi, Lorie. I am an agent in Dutchess County, New York and have been in the business for 16 years. In New York it will be harder to get a license in 2008. The salespersons course which is now 45 hours will increase to 75 hours. The requirements for becoming a broker will also get tougher. I applaud this move.

However, I don't think the number of sales necessarily reflects the quality of service an agent will provide. I've known "top producers" who are wonderful and others who can't be bothered taking an additional class or earning a designation. I'm sure you've seen it too. A well-educated and professional agent is the best one to handle the real estate needs of our clients. This will help establish trust with consumers.

Happy Holidays to All!
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2007
I think the current market is taking care of this problem. The agents who are only doing a few deals are leaving the business. If you have to pay MLS access fees, errors and omissions insurance, yearly dues, take and pay for continuing education, etc. just to do one or two deals a year it's not worth it. The problem will resolve itself.
Michael Doyle
1 vote Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2007
And Michael.. I do agree that this market will handle a lot of the problem. When the market improves... the problem will return. People think real estate sales are easy and that you make millions.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 20, 2007
Thanks for all the opinions. It is great to hear everyones thoughts especially from different markets.

Jim... I agree with your response on the minumum number of transactions; however, I do believe there could be guidelines set up for situations like yours and health etc. Jim it is very clear that you stay on top of the real estate market and the industry regardless if you seel 1 home or 50 homes. I would say that it is not the case for majority of agents that are not producing. Many work a full time job, then they hear of someone that is buying a house they offer a rebate if they use them... the buyer calls listing agents to show them the home because their agent is working a full time job and then the agent writes a horrible contract on behalf of their buyer and they collect a commission. I just think it is wrong. We have a lot of agents in Georgia doing this!

We all had pre-license education and we all have continuing education requirements. With only 10% of the agents nationwide doing the business... I feel there is need for some type of reform. Most sales industries have standards for production... real estate does not but yet we work with millions of dollars. Each state is so different... in Georgia I do think reform is needed.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Dec 20, 2007
In Minnesota, it's 90 hours for an agent license and 15 cont. ed each year. I do think the market does somewhat regulate itself and with help from quality brokerages I think the unproductive agents do get thinned out, so I'm not a proponent of minimum # of transaction rules, but I surely would be in favor of anything that would drive up the professionalism of our industry. Not that there's serious issues, but we are professionals and need to continue to drive up the bar of professionalism for our own livelyhood.

I do think that we, as professionals, also need to take the time to explain accreditations to our clients so that they have a better understanding of our business.
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0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2007
In Georgia, the pre-license sales person is already 75 hours and the brokers is 60 hours. They changed the Brokers test for 2007 to a situational test versus vocabulary and math.

Tammy... I agree with you that their are top producers that attend regular training and others that do not; however, I do feel like a top producer that stays up on the market and the contract by writing many contracts is still better than an agent that closes a deal every year or every other year because those agents typically are not attending training either... they are working full time jobs which is not advertised to consumers and they are loose canons with contracts. All I have to say is CONSUMERS BEWARE! The reason I suggest a minimum number of transaction is simply because I feel that an agent cannot keep their skills sharpened if they are not writing contracts and negotiating contracts on a more regular basis. Gosh...even if you made the mimimum transactions 6 a year... that alone would probably knock out 2/3 of the real estate agents.

We are working with millions of dollars worth of investments a year...there is a lot at risk for consumers and the agent they choose makes a huge difference. In many cases the experience can be horrible because the agents skills are horrible but these agents are allowed to remain in this business. Why, because the commissions want the dues. I would rather pay higher dues and fewer agents. These agents that do a deal or two a year at most are taking those deals away from us... hard working full time producing agents. And worse... consumers are harmed by agents that do not know what they are doing!
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 19, 2007
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