More Bad News for Realtors, Part 819

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.

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  1. prosa says:

    It’s a bad analogy even in automotive terms. What the NAR presumably was trying to say was that a Realtor (drumroll please!) is more trustworthy and reliable than a plain old real estate agent. The thing is, no one is ever going to claim that a Mercedes is more reliable than an ordinary car, in fact like many other European cars they can be tempermental beasts which are horrendously expensive to repair if the warranty has expired. A much more accurate analogy, again speaking in automotive terms, would be Realtor is to Real Estate Agent as Toyota/Honda is to Car … but that wouldn’t have quite the same cachet :)
    Dr. Z would sooner shave his mustache than admit it, but a big reason why people buy Mercedes is because owning one is a powerful status symbol, a way of showing other people that You’ve Made It. Using a Realtor vs. a garden-variety real estate agent, in contrast, sends out precisely zero status messages.

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  2. prosa says:

    It’s a bad analogy even in automotive terms. What the NAR presumably was trying to say was that a Realtor (drumroll please!) is more trustworthy and reliable than a plain old real estate agent. The thing is, no one is ever going to claim that a Mercedes is more reliable than an ordinary car, in fact like many other European cars they can be tempermental beasts which are horrendously expensive to repair if the warranty has expired. A much more accurate analogy, again speaking in automotive terms, would be Realtor is to Real Estate Agent as Toyota/Honda is to Car … but that wouldn’t have quite the same cachet :)
    Dr. Z would sooner shave his mustache than admit it, but a big reason why people buy Mercedes is because owning one is a powerful status symbol, a way of showing other people that You’ve Made It. Using a Realtor vs. a garden-variety real estate agent, in contrast, sends out precisely zero status messages.

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  3. TheQuitter says:

    that just goes to show how out-of-touch some organizations are.

    wonder what kinda results you get if you had a poll that asked, “Are realtors the same thing as real estate agents?”

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  4. TheQuitter says:

    that just goes to show how out-of-touch some organizations are.

    wonder what kinda results you get if you had a poll that asked, “Are realtors the same thing as real estate agents?”

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  5. pkimelma says:

    Their timing may not have been so great. If you look at the recent survey from Consumer reports on most reliable and least reliable cars (from new car owner surveys), Mercedes had more than its share at the bottom of the list. So, if Realtor is like Mercedes, that puts it only a couple above dead last ;-)

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  6. pkimelma says:

    Their timing may not have been so great. If you look at the recent survey from Consumer reports on most reliable and least reliable cars (from new car owner surveys), Mercedes had more than its share at the bottom of the list. So, if Realtor is like Mercedes, that puts it only a couple above dead last ;-)

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  7. ReubenMoore says:

    Well, we real estate agents could do much to improve our public perception if we moved away from the “Pittsburgh Plus” pricing model that many firms mandate.

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  8. ReubenMoore says:

    Well, we real estate agents could do much to improve our public perception if we moved away from the “Pittsburgh Plus” pricing model that many firms mandate.

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