Professionalism? Meh, says NAR

tl;dr – the National Association of Realtors likes the status quo; Zillow recognize that quality matters.

The reason that Zillow are going to continue to win this battle of the minds (and dollar) is because they are instilling consequences.


Several years ago, I was involved in the increasing professionalism dialogue at the national and state levels of Realtor organizations. The base of my argument was, “make Realtor® mean something, other than ‘I’ve paid my dues this year.'”

From Inman this week, regarding the new ‘”Commitment” to Excellence”‘

“This is a benefit being offered to our members and not a requirement. That is all we have to say,” Dollinger told Inman.

In 2014, a NAR presidential advisory group (PAG) of about 30 members called “Realtor of the Future” recommended NAR’s leadership team create a new “Code of Excellence” educational requirement to increase professionalism in the industry.

NAR’s board of directors approved the recommendation in November 2014, but by May 2015, the trade group discarded the idea of making the Code of Excellence a requirement and instead came up with a voluntary, “aspirational” Realtors Commitment to Excellence statement.

In shorthand, “whatever.”

Fast forward, and it appears the National Association of Realtors has said, ‘”meh,” with their Suggestion Commitment to Excellence program. It’s voluntary, meaning, “keep doing what you’ve always done.”

Zillow on the other hand, is telling its paying customers that they are going to funnel higher quality leads to the higher quality agents and teams, and ignore the low-performing, and poorly-rated agents. That is a commitment to excellence.


When we started Nest ten years ago, we recognized that customers value high quality, as did we. Given the choice, most will choose the best that they can find. Our agents and colleagues are professionals who value their craft, and practice every day to get better. (more on the upcoming RealPodVA)

As an aside, Productivity is part of the professionalism puzzle.

There’s a sweet spot for productivity. Too few and you’re not (in my opinion) truly competent; in the words of an agent from whom I’ve learned a lot over the years, “if you’re not doing enough business, you’re not screwing up enough to learn.” Experience matters; every transaction, every person, every situation is different. If you’re doing too many, the customer is going to feel (and be treated like) a number rather than a human – a person making a big freaking life and financial decision – the right balance of productivity is critical.

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