I like to stop by the National Association of Realtors’ blog now and again to see what the N.A.R. is making of the many changes in real estate. A recent posting referred to a Harris Interactive poll from July in which people were asked to rate the prestige of various occupations.
Firefighters were No. 1, while nurses, teachers, and military officers also did well. None of these are very surprising, at least not to me. I was surprised, however, to see that doctors and scientists are also near the top of the list. Ministers also did pretty well, although I wonder how they would have made out if the poll were conducted after the Ted Haggard scandal.
Journalists, I am sad to say, did pretty poorly in prestige terms, ranking toward the bottom of the list. They beat out only five other occupations: union leader, actor, business executive, stockbroker, and … real estate agent/broker.
It can’t feel good to come in dead last in anything, even a public-opinion survey. That’s why the N.A.R. countered the survey’s findings with a blog post entitled Realtor? is to Real Estate Agent as Mercedes? is to Car. The gist of the post is that if Harris had surveyed the public as to their feelings about Realtors — as opposed to the more generic “real estate agents/brokers” — they would have gotten a very different result. Maybe, maybe not. But I’m not sure the N.A.R.’s headline on this blog post quite works. While I guess you’re supposed to assume that a Mercedes is more trustworthy and downright better than a plain old Car, you could just as easily assume that, in the eyes of most people, it’s simply more Expensive.