“Doctor, will this surgery cure me?”
“I think so.”
“You think so … you’ve done this before, right?”
“Oh, yes … since I got my medical license 10 years ago I’ve performed at least a dozen of these surgeries. And two of those were in the past year. You’ll be fine …”
INTERIOR DAY, INSIDE A MEETING ROOM AT A MAXIMUM SECURITY PRISON.
“You can get me off, right?” asks the flinty-eyed man, his rotted teeth barely visible as he snarls at the attorney on the other end of the phone.
“Oh sure. Shouldn’t be a problem, I don’t think.”
“I’ve heard you’re the guy to help a guy with a murder rap.”
“Absolutely. I handled a murder case just three years ago. I mean, it’s all been jaywalkers and speeding tickets since then, but murder’s still murder after all …”
INTERIOR, AUTO MECHANIC’S SHOP. Smoke is rising from the hood of a new Lexus.
“Does it look bad,” the customer asks
“Oh, nothing I can’t handle. Let me just get my tools.”
“Wait a second … aren’t you going to run diagnostics through the computer?”
“Sonny, I’ve been fixing cars since 1964. Ain’t nothing a computer can tell me that I don’t already know. Besides, the computers in your car only control the radio and the air conditioning -”
” – I don’t think that’s right.”
“We’ll find out soon enough, won’t we?”
Get the point?
Years ago, when sales bottomed out and here in Phoenix, a metropolitan area of multiple millions, only 2,000 detached homes a month were selling, I contemplated getting another job. My broker and trainer at the time both warned me off the approach. “Once you get a job,” they said, “real estate isn’t your career.”
Since then … heck, maybe even before then … I’ve had a small issue with the idea of the part-time real estate professional.
Forget the obvious issues, like being unavailable because you can’t have your cell phone on or can’t access the MLS during the other job’s work hours. If you’re doing this only part-time, how can you possibly keep abreast of the changes in the real estate contract and related forms?
How can you be aware of the latest roadblocks thrown up by banks when dealing with short sales and bank owned homes? How can you perform any type of reasonable professional development or continuing education (real continuing education, not the silly classes the state mandates every two years.)
For all those who discuss the idea of raising the bar in real estate (a truly pointless effort since it has been proven time and again the public doesn’t really care) why not start at an obvious place – the onesies, twosies who hold a license for no apparent reason and yet roll the dice on a couple of transactions a year, hoping beyond hope they don’t screw something up?
Mandate a minimum number of transactions that need to be completed in a year in order to keep your license active. Otherwise, limit your interactions to the public to asking if they want fries with their burger.
There are exceptions … most brokers don’t actively sell, so there’s one. Same goes for office managers in some of the larger multi-office franchises around the Valley. So, again, no issue there.
But for everyone else … the public clearly isn’t being done a service by using someone who only is vaguely aware of the real estate market, current real estate issues and the like.
This, of course, never will happen for a simple reason – money.
The state likes its licensing fees, the associations like their membership fees, ARMLS likes its subscriber fees and many brokerages enjoy the monthly desk fees, franchise fees or whatever else they call them that they collect from agents active and barely active alike.
And that’s a shame. Because the reputation of this business never will improve when you are the only career of proclaimed professionals who thing the job can be done in a handful of hours a week.