What this law does is require people to check a box indicating they understand what services they are not receiving. This law came about due to the concerns that consumers really did not understand what they are getting with a limited service representation service listing. For those of you who don’t know our jargon, this is a listing that puts you on the MLS only, and provides no other services. So for $500 or so, you can be on the MLS, but you do everything else yourself.
Somehow, some consumers were not understanding that for $500 their agent wasn’t doing any paperwork, or providing any extra help, so this law was passed to help protect consumers.
Me…it leaves me wondering why?
Agents want to be seen as professionals and have value. Any buyer or seller who has had a good agent understands exactly what they bring to the table. They get it because they have experienced top notch service.
Many good agents have compared ourselves to doctors, lawyers, CPA’s etc, but the fact is we are not. It’s not because what we do isn’t hard and worth it though.
When I got my Master’s degree, I spent two years in graduate school which included over 1,500 hours of internship time before I was unleashed on the community. In Oregon you can practice as a therapist with that, or you can get your license which is another 2,500 hours of intense supervision. This license status allows you to bill insurance companies since they now see you as competent.
To get my real estate license in Oregon was 120 hours of class, and a 200 question state test that I needed to pass. It was a piece of cake. My instructor, who I thought was really good, really focused on teaching us what we needed to know to pass the test. Not really comprehending what we were learning.
Now considering that we are dealing with $60,000-mega million dollar investments, the entry standards are not appropriate.
So while I understand the minimum service requirement laws, and now this service disclosure law, my thoughts seem to be that we are doing this backwards. We are trying to regulate people that have no business doing this in the first place.
I’ve never signed anything from my doctor that says I understand that he will check my blood pressure, and pulse, listen to my heart and lungs, etc. I just know that is what they will do. What happens when you elevate the entry standards is that you tend to get people that are more committed to the profession. It took a lot of work to get there, and as such they tend to stay there. I think people that are focused on making real estate their profession, are less likely to be unethical (there are no absolutes). Maybe that is an err in my thinking, but I do believe it to be true. I do think if we raised the standards, minimum service requirements and service disclosure laws would not be needed.
I do think we would still have limited service representation since it is a viable model for a few consumers in the marketplace. I just think they would be better. You’d have agents that could explain the program to consumers so that they really understood what they were getting. There really are good limited representation agents out there. I have worked with some. Their clients know EXACTLY what they are getting.
So this brings me to my point…why are we wasting legislative time and creating regulations that are only bandaids to the real problem….
It is just too stinkin‘ easy to be a real estate agent. I believe if they would just make entry standards harder and required an internship, we could stop wasting our time with laws like this one.