When I read the post on the Inman News Blog, Defining Real Estate Part-timers, I thought it was interesting enough to clip a quote and post it in my Real Estate-the Cutting Edge Friendfeed room. The full article was originally posted, but the link to the article currently available gives you a paragraph, and then asks you to sign int the Inman Premium program. While the article presented varied points of view, the mention of part-time practitioners, in any context causes, seasoned full-time (actually full-time+ in many cases) Realtors to bristle.
Gail Hurst, a Broker in Charlotte, NC, in a reply to the article, states what I think is the biggest threat to our Profession: “The No. 1 reason for the lack of consumer confidence with our industry is because of those people who proclaim to be professional, focused, educated Realtors when in fact they are giving only half their focus to the affairs of the consumer.”
Being a real estate professional requires full time attention to changing market conditions, contracts, legal issues, fulfilling responsibilities to clients. A complaint in the Inman article was that it was harder to do business with a part-time agent for those reasons – it’s the full-time professional providing on the job training to the part-timer, who has had to rush to an appointment during his lunch hour at his “real job”.
Obviously, many folks got into doing real estate part time during the boom years, and many of them made lots of money due to the buyer and seller frenzy without really having to work at it. Encouraged by The National Association of Realtors and local Realtor associations (after all part-timers pay the same dues and fees as full-timers), part-timers flourshied, and the full-timers carried them, helping them prepare contracts and making sure they did their due diligence in order to bring about a successful closing.
Gail Hurst is right. With the advent of Web 2.0, the public is less trusting of Realtors. Consumers SHOULD expect more from their agent, who is handling the negotiations and execution of the biggest transaction of their client’s life. While the thinking person would not choose a part-time brain surgeon, or airline pilot, the same person would not bother to check out the credentials or experience of a real estate practitioner.
Until the PUBLIC demands Professionalism at the highest level from our profession, we will proceed, business as usual, and “part-time real estate agent” will be considered a viable part-time job for those who have “real jobs” full time.