If you place two pianos in the same room and strike the a key in one piano the string in the other piano will begin to vibrate.  This is called sympathetic resonance. If one string is not tuned to perfection in one piano then the other piano will produce the same off tune and it is models of misattunement.

A HUGE problem in the real estate industry with respects to barriers to entry, performance, and business models is there are many out of tune pianos creating a ripple of effect of misdiagnosis, ineffective interventions, and sub standard results even though everyone has the best intentions.  This includes big brokerages, real estate commissions, and the National Association of Realtors.

For example if the NAR aligns with an activity driven strategy, advocates for a special program that is flawed in execution or doesn’t deliver quantifiable results and a state or local association follows the same model according to “big brother’s” best practices then the member/media/consumer isn’t served as one would hope.

In this post we will examine 3 major models in the real estate industry creating a compound effect in preventing themselves from serving the consumer.

Big Brokers

The first chapter of “How To Get Into Law School” talked me right out of getting my law degree after college.  Why?  It’s because they mentioned the thousands I would rack up in debt, examined the purpose of getting the degree, and the extra steps involved with the process to have a successful career.  Needless to say I chose a different path.

If you were to get started today in selling real estate how much money would it cost you?

I was told by a big broker/manager $1,000.  About $500 for dues, $400 for MLS, and $100 for licensing fees/applications.

Seems like a good deal right?

After starting my career in real estate  and surviving the first year took at least $10,000 of my own money.  Hidden expenses I wasn’t told initially were setting up a website, investing in professional development, and traveling to network with top producing agents so I could learn from the best.  If I were to merely follow the advice of the mentioned broker/manager then I wouldn’t have lasted the first year.

The primary reason why we have such turnover in sales professionals is because we set newbies up for false expectations.  This costs the industry more administrative and money time processing paperwork, costs the consumers more from higher chances of malpractice, and the newbie time out of their life and savings when they shouldn’t have started in the first place.  If the big brokers set up realistic expectations in the beginning then we might not have such high turnover.

National Association of Realtors

A Ford might get you from A to B but might cost you more money in repairs, higher gas mileage, and more insurance than a Toyota which has a similar price point.

Is NAR in the business of grooming Fords or Toyotas?

In the strategic objectives of the NAR is listed to increase the professionalism.  No where in their plan does it mention it will increase member profitability.  This sets up Realtors to be competent in their trade but if they are not profitable they cannot sustain a career in the long term.  According to the NAR Member profile 50% of the members are gone in 5 years.  1 million strong is a good source of dues, volunteers, training and development revenue opportunities, and representation at the Capitol however is it really good for the consumer?

A revolving membership represents a driving force of production (an output with activities) rather than members served (increased or sustained member profitability).  The model of # of NAR directors representation based on membership numbers, competition of member services to attract higher quality members, and competition for volunteer time is creating a red ocean of local associations eating themselves.

Real Estate Commissions

If you wanted to go to Cosmetology school it would take you 1600 hours to get your hair styling license.  It took me 14 days from when I signed up for my real estate online pre-license class (48 hours) to taking the test to be official practicing real estate.  This meant I could legally represent a homeowner in the sale of their home which is the largest financial asset they will ever make after 2 weeks.  After 1 month and 9 transactions sold my clients never knew every question they asked was repeated to my broker and back to them.  I wasn’t a consummate professional.  I was a reporter.

Is 48 hours adequate enough to measure aptitude for real estate representation?  Is 200 hours enough?

The irony is the purpose of the real estate commission is to protect the interests of the public, serve consumers, and protect their interests however the legal barrier to entry is set extremely low.  No where in the pre-licensing curriculum did it ever mention market absorption rates, how to negotiate the sale, or staging techniques all which are critical skill sets for a listing agent to represent their sellers’ best interests.  If you explore continuing education to maintain a license there is no requirement to stay awake or measure to see what was implemented to protect the consumers best interest.

Opportunities for Models to Improve

There is never a more critical time in the real estate industry for leaders to step up, expose the truth, and make an impact in the industry.

In CEO magazine’s Article “6 Lessons from the Healthcare.gov Debacle” point #2 says…

Great leaders seek out unvarnished truth, because only when dealing with unpleasant facts can they help guide their organizations out of danger.

Big brokers who source agents can make an impact by setting up realistic expectations about what it takes to have a successful career.

NAR can re-examine their model to be more performance driven rather than activity driven because of the trickle down effect it creates for state associations which impact how the local boards operate.

Real estate commission’s can re-examine laws to obtain and maintain a license that proves the consumer is being served at the highest level.

While each entity is entitled to create their own strategic plan, policies for performance, and guidelines to follow, it doesn’t mean they are in alignment with the best interest of each other or more importantly, the consumer.  It is up to the values of each entities’ respective leaders to determine how they see their model working with each other creating a spirit of co-optition, not competition.

A grandmaster piano doesn’t need to be replaced. It just needs to be restored with the right tools, proper skill sets, and master technician.

Watch this video to hear more and give us your input below.


Organizations bring in Doug Devitre from St. Louis, Missouri USA when they want to dramatically increase operational performance, create breakthrough value propositions, and serve customers beyond geographical constraints on a minimal budget. For more than a decade he has been setting trends with how organizations engage customers with social media, video marketing, and custom-built software applications. Doug’s book Screen to Screen Selling published by McGraw Hill pioneered the way sales professionals sold homes without being physically present before the COVID-19 pandemic. He is one of a select few who have earned the Certified Speaking Professional Designation from the National Speakers Association and has experience as a REALTOR.

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