Experience Pays

Well, at least it should.

I thought I had fractured my wrist playing soccer two weekends ago (turns out the x-rays say I just have a bad boo-boo). Apparently it takes a few days for the swelling, discomfort – pain – to present itself, so I went to the doctor (Northridge Internal Medicine at UVA)

Thanks to my wife’s insurance, I went to the doctor to get a service – consultation, x-ray, interpretation – that no one has any idea how much any of that costs. That aspect aside, I was reminded that experience matters, and that one’s pay should be commensurate with one’s experience and track record.

She examined me, contorted my wrist, asked about my pain, asked how I injured myself, and before she sent me for x-rays asked me to “do this.” “This” was using my hand to assist my standing up out of the chair. When I couldn’t do it she shook her head, pursed her lips and said, “The last one I saw like that was a fracture.” The key here was that she’d seen it before.

As a Realtor, I’d like to think that I’m more competent, professional and experienced than I was when I was a newbie Realtor seven years ago. In my required BS classes, I learned very little; however through my experiences – my mistakes, my successes, my near misses, I’ve learned an extraordinary amount of knowledge that is applicable to my business and to my clients. To be blunt, I’d like to be paid for that experience; but our current environment doesn’t allow for that.

Putting aside any preconceptions about attorneys, the Virginia law firm of Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen have recently been playing an ad that speaks to my premise:

One of the problems with the real estate industry is this- very rarely does (in)experience pay. Experience matters, but it rarely pays – for one major reason – inexperience pays so well.

I don’t have a palatable solution (yet) to propose, but I welcome suggestions and inspiration.

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  1. Duane Gran November 17, 2008 at 15:48

    I think it is symptomatic of the buying public. They believe the property is “the deal”, but once they are negotiating terms they may begin to understand the value of an experienced partner in the transaction.

    You might be better served working with commercial real estate where the parties are more rational and your integrity and experience may be more of an asset.

  2. Andrea November 17, 2008 at 20:52

    Jim – I think you are right in your inference that basic licensure classes may not produce extraordinary (or even competent) agents. Having taken the class at CAAR, I was very much aware that the quality of my instruction was solely the responsibility of my teacher, with positive results.

    My instructor was a real estate professional who had been in the business and a REALTOR(r) for about 25 years…his method for explaining the VERY dry and less than entertaining concepts of agency law was to give us examples and stories from his real estate practice. I came out of the class with a much clearer understanding of what it means to be an agent – it’s more than just the book knowledge required to pass a test. So, the point of my post is to say that you are RIGHT – experience does make a difference, but it is possible to at least leave class knowing what one needs as a rookie agent – a good mentor. I am not sure that the online or super-fast options to achieve licensure are such a good idea for first-time agent wannabe’s.

  3. Sasha Farmer November 17, 2008 at 23:34

    I think that in a perfect world, the GRI designation would be replacement for the 2 years of post-licensing classes we are required to take. It is too bad that we can’t offer those courses at more locations or at lower costs, and make them a requirement within the first 1-2 years of business in order to renew a license. Experience certainly can’t be beat by any course out there, but if GRI, ABR, SRS, and CRS (these are incredible) courses were more of a standard instead of advanced designations, I think we’d all be better off. Our requirements for continuing education are alarmingly comparable to the prerequisites for entry- it would be nice if, at some level, we were held accountable for keeping up with changes in our industry and the technology that governs it.

  4. michael guthrie November 19, 2008 at 16:40

    Sasha makes an excellent point re: designations and as Andrea noted, when a teacher can balance the theory of Principles (which we very rarely use) with the practical how to’s of the business, licensees would come out better prepared. the other positive result would be that some might never take the test because they see real estate is a tough, tough business and not an easy way to make money.

  5. Jim Duncan November 19, 2008 at 22:05

    Michael –

    You mean, we have to work to make money? 🙂 Darn it!

    (more substantive comment coming later)

  6. Pingback: Vetting your Charlottesville Realtor | RealCentralVA.com

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