Challenging the Status Quo

“I’m not interested in preserving the status quo; I want to overthrow it.”

If we do not have the courage to acknowledge and examine the status quo – in this case – Agency in the Commonwealth of Virginia, why not? I tell my children that it is incumbent upon them to question everything – and I am asking that of fellow Realtors – why do we not examine Agency? My opinion on Single-Agent Dual Agency is well known, but my intent with this post is pure – What is preventing Virginia Realtors from studying whether Single-Agent Dual Agency is relevant? Do we need or want legislation to force our hand? Where is the Virginia Real Estate Board?

In October I asked

VAR looked at Agency from 1992 until 1994 and the law went into effect on July 1 1995.

A lot has changed since our Association last looked at Agency (for starters, the Internet has redefined our world).

If you’re looking for more ways to defend the status quo, start with Seth Godin’s post from 2006.

For the general public: in the Virginia Realtor world, Lem Marshall is the staff attorney – and by “the staff attorney,” I mean THE attorney. When there is an issue, Lem has the answer. Why do we ignore the opinion of our esteemed Counsel when we defer to him in all other circumstances?

If you’re an agent practicing Dual Agency and get sued, how long do you think it’ll take an attorney to pull up these documents and the large number of posts warning against Dual Agency? A jury is going to have a hard time understanding why agents still pursue this archaic practice, while everyone is warning against it.

~ Lem Marshall, VAR Legal Counsel “Commonwealth Magazine 2004″

In all honesty, I’d like an explanation here in public rather than in a hallway or a meeting or behind my back – Why is courage to examine the status quo so lacking?

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  1. Keith January 19, 2009 at 11:31

    My question Jim, is why is the VAR not listening to the counsel of Lem? The justification for dual agency is a monetary one, not a service one. If the VAR wants to remain relevant, it should be focusing on how to bring the reputation of Realtors up, and that means professionalism and ethics.

  2. Jim Duncan January 19, 2009 at 12:18

    Keith –

    And that’s the thing – if this were a case of what’s best for the profession and the consumer, it seems to be a no-brainer. Picking and choosing legal counsel doesn’t seem to be good practice.

  3. Jeremy Hart January 20, 2009 at 20:34

    It takes a bulk of the membership pressing … and pressing … and pressing some more … on the issue to initiate change.

    Nothing more to add here, I know, but I appreciate you bringing up the issue … again.

  4. Jim Duncan January 20, 2009 at 21:16

    Jeremy –

    I know and agree about the pressing, but I disagree about the “bulk of the membership.” My gut tells me that a relative minority is on both ends of the argument – one side wants to keep things the way they were 10 years ago and one is kicking and screaming for change, but often to an audience of those who are so stuck on the status quo.

    I don’t know what the solution is, but I’m not going to stop trying, and welcome anyone who advocates looking at things differently.

  5. Jim Duncan January 23, 2009 at 13:44

    Ben –

    I think you’re probably right. What a shame that 1) I’m left sort of hoping for a lawsuit to happen and 2) Our Association – State (and National) – do not have the foresight or gumption to do what is clearly – and objectively – right.

  6. Danilo Bogdanovic January 26, 2009 at 00:15

    I agree that it’s ashame that this issue continues to be put on the back-burner. I wonder why that’s the case. Perhaps asking the question, “Who gains from Dual Agency and who would lose the most if Dual Agency were banned?” may help answer that question.

    I sincerely hope that Ben is not correct.

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