I could not agree with you more on your statement that the expertise and education necessary to be an architect is many times more than that of a Realtor. I am not offended at all by your comments.
It seems that you want "fair compensation" to be related to "education and expertise." But, in a capitalistic society, it simply doesn't calculate that way. If we applied that expectation to real estate, Realtors would have a scale and be paid according to the level of education and expertise, but they are not. (If that were true, I might be a beneficiary, since I have both a formal education, and invested substantially in educating myself as a Realtor.) But, Realtors (most work on commission) are only paid if a property sells. The Realtor with education and expertise is not paid more for his/her expertise, only if they accomplish a closing.
The newbie Realtor with no experience, will be paid upon closing, despite the lack of expertise or knowledge. And what about the 20 yr veteran? Tenure alone does not guarantee expertise, work ethic, or education. Compare the Realtor has a finance degree who has also taken lower level architecture classes, and studied land use, zoning, easements, real estate valuation, investment analysis. What if the same Realtor has extensively invested in sales, marketing, advertising, and negotiating classes? The commission based structure only rewards the Realtor for bringing a contract to closing, not all this expertise. I know knowledgeable Realtors who are not successful at marketing themselves, or do not have a network of friends and family who are barely making ends meet. Knowledge and expertise in real estate does not equal income.
There are brilliant scholars in academia who are paid moderately while teens recording an album can become millionaires. While I sincerely empathize with your desire for compensation that is just as related to expertise and education, that is not the determinant in our society
In your post, you explained that 40% of your time was spent on marketing and admin, while only 60% was billable. For a Realtor, many spend more than 40% of their time marketing, and once they land a client, the opportunity to spend money and bear risk begins. For you, the oppty to start being compensated begins, since you will begin â€˜billingâ€™. For me, when I list a property, I get to begin spending. After spending to market my company or me and successfully getting a listing contract, I now get to pay for ads, support staff, brochures, post card mailers, sign riders, videos, virtual tours. Letâ€™s not forget that the agent must split compensation with a broker.
So, if I may, please, adjust your figures to reflect a typical (not the top producer) Realtor. 65%-75% or more of a Realtors time is in solicitation of a client, and not all clients produce revenue, but they add do increase expenses. Too many agents chasing too few transactions actually is contributor to higher fees in selling real estate. If the average number of transactions per Realtor doubled, and there was a decrease in marketing expenses to find customers, the average income per Realtor would increase and the cost per transaction would decrease. This decrease could be passed to consumers. More Realtors in the US does not mean less expense for consumers, it means more. It is counterintuitive to assume that more Realtors drives the price down.
In closing, Jennifer, I wish that Realtors with advanced education and expertise had some guarantee of a higher compensation. So, I share the thought of wishing that to be true. I came out of a corporate career with a salary, bonus, expense acct, company car and I thought I worked hard with immense quotas, deadlines and budget guidelines. I thought what Realtors did was easy and that they were overpaid. After 10+ years as a Realtor, I can assure you I changed my mind after wearing several soles off the shoes I have walked in real estate. Some Realtors make a nice living, many do not. I donâ€™t know what system of compensation other than the prospect of earning a nice commission could induce a person to be available 7 days a week, on call, and bear risk and expense.