Thursday, September 01, 2005

That's Realtor With a Big R

The National Association of Realtors recently announced the findings of a study that said, among other things, that less than half of consumers who bought or sold a home in the past year recall if their agent was a "Realtor." NAR has made a huge push in the past year to polish the image of Realtors, and to educate consumers about the difference between an agent and a Realtor (psst, it's the code of ethics and a dues check). I'm sure the association leadership sees the writing on the wall with the influx of so many new agents, some of whom are willing to work for far less than the standard 6-percent commission. There's flat-rate agents, rebate agents, even help-u-do-it-yourself agents. If Realtors keep charging that standard 6-percent rate, then I think they'll find many more homeowners are eventually going to get wise and do it themselves. If homeowners can shop at Home Depot and build their own decks to save money, you can bet they're going to want to do the same kind of thing when it comes to showing and selling their house. When cutting out the middleman can save $30,000 on a $500,000 house, what would you do?

From the National Association of Realtors:
The REALTOR® brand generates an average of $32,000 in incremental income for every Realtor® during his or her membership in the National Association of Realtors®, according to a brand valuation study released today. Conducted by a leading, international brand valuation firm, the study calculated the marketplace advantage of the REALTOR® brand above and beyond all other benefits of NAR membership.

The longer a Realtor® is in business, the greater the benefits of the brand, according to the study. The average member, who has six to ten years experience, realizes $4,500 a year in incremental income due to the marketplace advantages the REALTOR® brand brings to his or her business.

“For the first time, we have calculated in dollars and cents the value of the REALTOR® brand. As the image of Realtors® continues to improve, the value of being a Realtor® will also continue to rise. Our brand is based on the trust more than a million Realtors® have established with consumers,” said NAR President Al Mansell of Salt Lake City.

According to consumer tracking studies conducted for NAR’s Public Awareness Campaign, consumer attitudes towards Realtors® improved 11 points, from 48 percent in 2002 to 59 percent last year. However, the same study found that less than half of all consumers who bought or sold a home in the past 12 months can recall whether the agent they worked with was a Realtor®.