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Broker-Bashing Is Now Passé: Out With The Old, In With The Experts (Until The Next Boom)

I was reading a commentary in the Boston Globe this weekend called Brokers helping to drive up Northeast housing prices [1] and that was the last straw for me. The whole idea of Big Brother and the Real Estate Industrial Complex (great name for a band) is simply ridiculous. The idea that real estate brokers are to blame for high housing prices is the classic “I am a victim” whine and frankly I am getting tired of it for its sheer simplicity and lack of scope.

Are there bad real estate brokers? Yes.

Are there good real estate brokers? Yes.

Do we see this inconsistency every profession? Yes.

Is the profession undergoing a change? Yes.

Are we prone to stereotype? Yes.

I for one, am always critical of the stats generated by NAR because they are often misleading. Thats not what I am talking about here, rather, the troops in the trenches – are actually real people.

When a seller lists a property for sale, is it the real estate broker’s job to get the highest possible price they can for it? Yes.

Lets recognize them for what they are: sellers of real estate. They are not statisticians but they have to deal with numbers every day. They are not pyschologists, but they hand-hold wacky clients every day. They need to put the positive spin on their efforts because thats what selling is. Do some real estate brokers go too far? Yes.

I speak from first-hand experience since real estate appraisers were made to blame for the S&L Crisis in the late 1980s.

Were there horrible appraisers back then? Yes.

Are there horrible appraisers now? Yes (the appraisal profession is worse off now).

That being said, the latest housing boom has begun to change the profession, bringing in better educated professionals as brokers [SFGate] [2].

As the order-takers fade, better marketers and more economic-savy individuals will begin to gain market share within the real estate brokerage profession. But this is volatile. The profession’s very low barrier to entry will likely cause these new improvements to weaken again when the next housing boom arrives. Then I suspect the bashing will begin anew.