On Tuesday, December 02, 2009, Inman News carried a new piece by Matt Carter, entitled “NAR Backing Realcomp Appeal.” REALonomics believes the article is another demonstration of NAR’s attempt as the tail of the industry, to wag us, the dog. Here is our response to NAR’s reported actions.
NAR should be seen here in its true light, a purveyor of control, monopolization and the promotion of the punishment of creative models that do not meet the local real estate dominance model put in force and sustained by its vast network of local Associations.
Although we are not supporters of discount brokerage as a viable business model, we feel the need to speak out on this issue and the freedom of Broker-Owners to create business models without the fear of retaliation and punishment by NAR and local Associations.
We are forced to ask the question, “Is anyone paying attention to how our dues, financial assets and human capital are being used by NAR?” Furthermore, are we paying attention to how NAR and local Associations are dealing with Broker-Owners who are not lining up in lock-step with centralized policy?
Once in a while REALonomics will post a comment to great articles found in Inman News. Such was the case this morning, Tuesday, September 23, 2008. The comment created some interesting communication…all good, by the way. But the comment to this post seemed to touch a pent-up industry nerve regarding where our industry is headed and what our industry focus should be as move into the Third Economic Wave in the industry’s development.
There seem to be two camps developing within the real estate industry. The first camp believes the media and negative language is the culprit that is creating a lot of the market decline and lack of buyer confidence. The other camp is the group saying, “We need to look within the industry and raise our standards making them more consumer-centric and us less susceptible to repeating the errors of the past.” REALonomics falls into the later group.
As a result of feedback here is the comment from the Inman article posted here for our readership:
The notion that positive thinking and misplaced hype can move us away from a faulty and failing economic model is more dangerous than the crisis itself because it demonstrates the lack of depth in our thinking. This crisis cannot be repaired by “making people believe the worst is over…” This is the logical result and outcome of poor economic modeling in the mortgage industry that loaned billions to buyers who didn’t qualify and the real estate industry’s fickle pretense that it exercises ultimate fiduciary in its dealings with clients.
Rather than whining, what we should be doing as an industry is recreating ourselves in terms of standards-based brokerage practices, revamping our national and state networks into consumer-centric, transparent operations and utilizing the power of NAR to send a positive signal to consumers that we “get it” and that they are going to see a new side to the professional real estate industry they deserve and one that will refuse to close a transaction where the buyer does not qualify.
A standards-based model should include heavy fines for brokerage firms that (1) hire under qualified agents who lack the academic training and counseling skills we need for consumer protection; (2) refuse to fulfill maximum (not minimum) financial training in economics and real estate investments and fiduciary training courses and finally, (3) much higher costs to enter the industry and stay in it.
A standards-based industry would include national performance reviews and ratings of brokerage firms with financial and recognition incentives for creating and maintain standards of excellence that protect consumers and their investments in real estate.
In addition, we need to look at the role of NAR and how NAR services the industry and consider refocusing its mission and resources on a newly profiled industry that really understands and accepts responsibility for its actions when counseling consumers to invest in real estate.
One thing we believe with certainty, we are never returning to what we once knew. Having said that, what is it we would like to become as an industry after the dust settles?
While the Feds scramble to resolve issues, we should be scrambling as an industry to reinvent ourselves. Such a reinvention involves painful analysis and truth-telling about where we have been and how we have operated. Only then can we begin the process of rebuilding a tattered industry that is increasingly viewed with skepticism by most consumers.
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