Ok, today I want to talk about monopolies and how some folks seem to think that NAR and it's members are monopolizing real estate and prohibiting other business models from participating in our closed "secret society". Now folks, I'm not one to use big words and I don't waste much time reading about the DOJ and their law suit against NAR, so if my response to all this sounds too simple, well, it is. I can only respond based on my perspective and how things are in my market. So with that in mind, my first reaction is "Monopoly my ass!"
Real Estate, at least in my little world, is very, very competitive. The consumer is bombarded with choices of who to do business with and how much they are willing to pay. Everyone and their brother has a Real Estate license. We have many "discount" brokerages and to the best of my knowledge all of them are REALTORS® and are part of our "secret society". Commissions are all over the board. There is no such thing as a fixed commission. I compete with "discounters" on just about every listing appointment I go on and I win the listing about 95% of the time. I win because in his slower market the consumer knows they need the best person for the job, not the cheapest.
When I hear all this talk about monopoly, I truly believe the people that are saying it are just plain ignorant of our business. They are simply repeating the "catch phrase" du jour. I also, believe they are underestimating the consumer. The consumer is not stupid, they know they have choices and they are quite capable of making the right one for their needs, based on what they are trying to achieve, not based on what the DOJ or others perceive their needs to be.
The Seller can go FSBO, they can pay a marketing company for a "selling package", they can pay a fee to have their property entered into the MLS, they can choose a "discounter", they can hire a full service-full fee REALTOR® and choose from a variety of commission structures, they can use Craig's List or Zillow to advertise their property and many, many more options that are available to them. Monopoly? I think not.
The Buyer can go it alone, they can use a commission rebate company or they can hire a full service-full fee REALTOR®. They too, can choose the program that best fits their needs. Is having choices a monopoly?
Real Estate is one of the most market driven and competitive businesses out there. Heck, any one can get into Real Estate. In most states, all you have to do is attend a few weeks of classes and pass a simple test. If you want to be a REALTOR® then all you have to do is write a check. That's it. Write a check and you are a REALTOR®. No test, no training required, no formal education needed and no denial! If you have a valid Real Estate license there are NO qualifications at all to become a REALTOR®. Does that sound like a monopoly to you?
Another fallacy, is that you have to be a REALTOR® to have access to the MLS. Well, that's not true either. ALL listings that are in the MLS can be found online. Also, rules for joining the MLS vary from board to board. Some are controlled by the LOCAL association and some aren't. Every area makes their own rules. So how is that a monopoly?
So really, I guess the issue is, not whether or not NAR has a monopoly but what can we do to get in on the money train? Well, come on in, it's open to anyone who has the will to do what it takes to be successful in this business. I welcome all of you. Come on down to my market and let's compete. Charge what you want, do what you want. I will personally be happy to blow you away and prove to you it has nothing to do with how much money we charge. It does however have everything to do with helping people achieve their goals and helping then to stay focused on the end result. By the way, you just landed on Boardwalk. You owe me $2,000. Now that's monopoly! Giddy up!