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Big is Not Better…Better is Better.

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The business of real estate suffers a huge image problem.  It’s a profession that has been marred by a sales model run amuck, self-serving organizations, a low barrier to entry, and self-dealing scoundrels.  

The big-brand brokerage models were never designed to delight the consumer.  They were designed to make a profit by assembling a critical mass of agents (feet on the street).  There’s no meaningful vetting process for hiring agents beyond checking for a pulse and a license.  Turnover is high.  Long-term professional development is the exception, not the rule.  The biggest fear of the big-brand brokerage is not a dissatisfied customer; it’s a customer that is so dissatisfied that they sue.

State licensing requirements are a half-baked regulatory process that merely separates the convicted felons from the rest.  The education requirements are so weak that they pale in comparison to those required of a hairstylist.  The curriculums of the real estate schools are little more than a glossary of terms and a thorough review of the State Code.

What we have today is an over-populated and under-qualified sales force that is largely unaccountable for their results.  They hide under the guise of a nationally recognized brand that affectingly creates an aura of trust through their advertising.  You’re led to believe that a company with a 100-year heritage must have things running like a clock.  Sorry to break the news…they don’t. 

Admitting to the shortcomings of real estate industry is the first step to making meaningful change.   Creating a clear consumer awareness that BIG is not better; better is better is the second step.   Contrary to big-brand broker ads, there’s no longer an advantage to “large-scale” in real estate.  The advantage of scale went the way of the printed listing books.  Big brands cannot be trust-worthy, only people can.  A big roster of agents does not a network make.   Networking is a function of the individual and their ability to communicate effectively. They must be likeable and professional.

The negative reputation that plagues the real estate agent cannot be changed by yesterday’s business model.  It will require a dramatic, systemic shift.  Consumers are not “leads to be converted”.  They are real people and families who deserve personal attention, professional advice and exceptional service.  They need agents with professional skills beyond the minimum standard.  They need the help of marketing experts, skilled negotiators, and nimble entrepreneurs. 

Hail the restless pro’s who are busting out of the big-box brands to become boutique brokers.  They carry the flame of excellence that will lead the future real estate.

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