Would it make sense for us to agree that after X years in the profession, a REALTOR® is expected to have achieved a nationally-recognized competency?

Asked by Leonard Dunikoski, Rumson, NJ Sat Aug 24, 2013

Real estate agents are consistently listed among the least admired professions in America. Would it make sense for us to agree that after X years in the profession, a REALTOR® is expected to have achieved a nationally-recognized competency certification (such as the GRI)? Accountants are expected to achieve the MBA, health professionals are expected to be Board certified- isn’t it time to raise the bar for the real estate profession?

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Debra (Debbi…, Agent, Livingston, NJ
Sat Aug 24, 2013
BEST ANSWER
Who wouldn't be in favor of "raising the bar"?

It's a great idea in theory - the problem is.....how does one measure "competency".....how does one improve image?

Many, if not most states, require continuing education courses...NJ requires 12 hours every 2 years (that may be increased in the future).....the goal is to keep honing one's skills.
All good ideas.

Taking an Ethics course every 4 years (isn't that the national requirement for NAR?) is a great idea, too......but...do these things improve our image or turn a so-so agent into a "great" one?
Unfortunately, no........

Can you measure "competency" based on an agent's volume or production?
We all know that's not an adequate measurement.....not even close!

Could most of us take a course lasting a few hours or days, pass it, and get additional letters to put after our names? probably so......but will that really satisfy the objective of raising the bar? nah.....as others have said, no one even knows what those letters mean.

Some ideas?
Maybe educational requirements (min. 4 yr college degree) and licensing requirements (more classroom hours and a probationary period before licenses are fully "activated") can/should be tightened........that might help the objective of improving image in the eye of the consumer in seeing this industry as more of a "profession".

That being said - I tend to agree with what Karen said - especially her last paragraph.
0 votes
Leonard Duni…, Agent, Rumson, NJ
Sun Aug 25, 2013
Thanks, everyone- lots of good thoughts.

To me the takeaway message is this: before we can start to improve our image to the public, we have to reach a consensus about what WE feel it means to be a professional. That would start to address Karen's last paragraph.

I agree with Debbie that volume isn't the right standard.

I also feel that New Jersey's continuing education requirement of 12 hours in 2 years isn't anywhere near enough, especially when you don't have to take any kind of quiz or exam. Sitting through the ethics course is a good idea in theory, but in practice?

A requirement for a college degree is worth considering, as long as you could also find a fair way to grandfather experienced agents who don't have the degree. Mack, I agree with your comment about teachers.

I still think promoting the GRI should be part of the solution. IMHO, all of the other designations (ABR, SRES, etc.) are too easy to get, confuse the public even more, and are just another source of revenue for the folks who promote them.

Before becoming a Realtor I was a hospital administrator, so I'm comfortable with the idea of having to demonstrate competency by taking an exam (the public doesn't know what the FACHE certification means, but all hospital administrators do). The trend in health care is periodic re-certification, so I can see the day when there will be additional requirements in order to maintain the GRI designation.

Deirdre, you should investigate the GRI through the California Association of Realtors http://www.car.org/education/designations/gridescription/. Once you achieve it there's no annual renewal fee, and you can re-take any of the individual courses at no charge in the future as regulations and practices change.

Thanks again for giving this some serious thought.

Len
1 vote
thanks for the best answer Len - even if it doesn't seem to matter or show up anywhere on trulia anymore!
Flag Sun Aug 25, 2013
Karen Peyton, Agent, Chandler, AZ
Sat Aug 24, 2013
Your question addresses a different issue than the first sentence of your accompanying statement.

To answer the question: Sure, why not? Relevant (of course) to the focus of their business. On the other hand, I have known many who are simply licensed agents - no designations, are not brokers - and it all works just fine.

Public perception of real estate agents is not based upon a level of competency. Most people think agents are brokers, and brokers are agents, as they use words interchangeably. I have letters behind my name, but if I asked 10 people on the street what they mean, do you think they'd know? 20? 30? It's highly unlikely! I think most lump us all together unless you tout the importance of your achievement as "value added," through that special opportunity which is "face time." (Of course you can market yourself as possessing a particular skill set... but I'm going off subject)

I feel the reason we're among the "least admired" is the public thinks we essentially do nothing - make a lot of money "while" doing nothing - and because we "know" we do nothing - we negotiate our fees to make "something" of nothing.
1 vote
I agree, especially with your last statement!
Flag Sat Aug 24, 2013
Dorene Slavi…, Agent, Torrance, CA
Sat Aug 24, 2013
That's unfortunate. I don't know about the GRI designation "per-se" but basic competency and a level of expertise would be surely welcome. I agree that an expected level of professionalism and competency should be expected...and required
0 votes
Linda Lorenzo, Agent, McKinney, TX
Sat Aug 24, 2013
Real estate is a business where there is always on going learning from having to take classes to maintain your license to learning new rules and regulations. I am always taking classes as there is so much to learn even after many years in the business. Even though I have a GRI frankly I don't think that puts me above anyone. Most of the public has no idea what all the initials we use mean anyhow.
0 votes
Mack McCoy, Agent, Seattle, WA
Sat Aug 24, 2013
Sure, I mean, who can really argue against self-improvement?

Butchaknow, I do kinda wonder why - is it really going to make people admire us? Teachers have degrees, and look how we treat THEM!
0 votes
Chris Nealy, Agent, Virginia Beach, VA
Sat Aug 24, 2013
You would think for the amount of money realtors deal with that they should be required to have a degree of some sort. I believe that is why they revamped the system many years ago for appraisers.The problem is real estate agents come from all walks of life and some have knowledge beyond a GRI so it would be difficult to assess previous knowledge. If you require a GRI it would require another board to oversee that this is done. There already is a continuing education requirement and I believe that is what the aim was to make sure they continue learning.
0 votes
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