Servant or Professional?

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared in the November 1972 issue of the Real Estate News Observer.

It required many years for me to realize that the reason I ran all the errands, carried all the papers, and chauffeured all the families to all the places they wanted to visit or see was that I had no faith in myself as being worthy of earning the amount of commission I was paid when a transaction closed.

And since this realization, I have interviewed several hundred other practitioners and discovered that their reasons for being subservient were identical to mine.

I did not value my time—and, of course, as a result, my clients and customers did not either. But, it really irked me to find myself going hither and yon during business hours and after hours, catering to anyone I thought might throw me the bone of a commission.

It was not until I learned the difference between counseling and salesmanship that I discovered all of the service had been unnecessary and unappreciated. Oh, my customers and clients thanked me—automatically. But, they did not appreciate it, really. They took it for granted.

Real estate practitioners are not intended to assume the status of servants. They are professionals capable of performing a complicated, exacting function in acquisition or disposition of the largest single ownership most men ever experience.

A real estate transaction is sufficiently large to warrant expertise. Every facet of a transaction should be thoroughly and carefully drawn, studied, examined, and audited, from the drawing of the offering contract to final closing. If the average attorney spent no more time in thought and preparation of his contracts or legal cases than we do when we buy, sell, or exchange property, would we consider paying him the fees he now commands?

Somehow, most of us were trained to believe all we have to do is to join the Multiple, let someone else list a property, find a “panting” buyer, show him the property, twist his arm until he signs, and then write up an offering contract—99% of which is already printed with the appropriate blanks!

Do you wonder at the numerous For Sale by Owner signs displayed all over the United States? Is it possible that the owners feel our pay is out of line for what we actually do to earn it?

Real estate is a rapidly changing field. In two, five, or ten years, we won’t recognize it. That is, we won’t unless we educate ourselves in the modern concepts and techniques that will permit survival and success as a professional working in a professional field. For professionalism is coming to real estate, make no mistake about that.

The time has come for us to resign our servant status and don the robe of professionalism. This will require effort and expense and time on our part.

A license merely permits us to practice real estate in a particular state. It does not warrant our intelligence, expertise, education, or knowledge. The knowledge required to pass the license examination is the “primer” type of knowledge. We need only know the technical facets involved.

Unfortunately, most of us stop learning when we receive our license; thus, the public image of real estate is crucified.

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