Notes From Readers: Inspired by Good Neighbors

January 1, 2006

I was in the audience for REALTOR® Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards ceremony during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco in October. I was so proud and inspired. The winners certainly prove that one person can make a difference. The Good Neighbor Awards (“Everyday heroes,” November 2005, page 35) and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®’ hurricane relief efforts make me proud to be a REALTOR®. I wish the general public were more aware of the work that’s being done by individual members.— Pat Kressin, GRI, PMN, Starck & Co., Elgin, Ill.

Members to DOJ, FTC: Industry is fiercely competitive

On Oct. 25 the Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission hosted a public workshop in Washington, D.C., entitled “Competition Policy and the Real Estate Industry.” Former NAR President Cathy Whatley and NAR researcher Lawrence Yun participated in the workshop to communicate NAR’s point of view that the industry is extremely competitive. Although presenters offered varying views, many confirmed that real estate competition is fierce. In addition, the DOJ and FTC welcomed comment letters on the topic through November. Following are a sample of the letters NAR members sent.

It ain’t broke

Anyone who’s ever bought or sold a home knows how competitive this industry is. The public is free to choose whom to do business with. I can’t imagine why anyone would want to change something that works so well and that fuels the creation of independent businesses both large and small.— Eileen Hill, Prudential Connecticut Realty, Westport, Conn.

More practitioners than business

I have more than six years experience as a practitioner, as well as an MBA degree, so I believe I can speak knowledgeably about the real estate industry. It’s one of the most competitive businesses in our country. In my market there are more than 5,000 salespeople, yet the average number of transactions per month is less than 2,000. So in most months, many salespeople make no income. As a result, salespeople are forced to compete aggressively. Even then, most don’t survive their first year in the business.— Jim Hocker, ABR®, GRI, JB Goodwin, REALTORS®, Round Rock, Texas

Cut-throat competition

Anyone who understands how real estate works knows how competitive it is. You spend your evenings going on listing appointments for listings that you often don’t get, lose a few hundred buyers to other salespeople over the years, and watch as some practitioners earn $7,000 per year and others earn more than $1 million per year.

I’ve driven buyers 700 miles over a few days to look at homes only to have them buy a home from a salesperson who offered them part of her commission back at closing. She had a right to do so, and they had a right to leave me high and dry. Now, I use contracts with most of my buyers to avoid this pitfall.

There’s no industry that’s as competitive as real estate. Ask all the people that drop out of the business each year because they can’t make a living at it.— Marie Marshall, e-PRO®, GRI, Marie Marshall & Associates, Gilbert, Ariz.

You get what you put into it

Because there are so many practitioners in the pool, you have to be a very clever person to get clients and keep them coming back. I’ve heard that seven out of 10 salespeople fall out of the business in the first year they’re licensed. I’m compelled to succeed because of the freedom real estate sales offers me. If you’re willing to work hard and spend the time required, you can make a respectable income.— Ray Stockdale, RE/MAX Central Valley, Los Banos, Calif.

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