Chairman's Corner: A Win-Win for Everyone

 Steve Beers  |    October 14, 2019
Chairmans Corner

We’re off and running.  Over the past two years, the WRA has been hearing more frequently from its members that there’s an increasing occurrence of unprofessional conduct by REALTORS®. During Peter Sveum’s and Jean Stefaniak’s terms, we began looking at this problem and how we might approach dealing with it. I must say, during my 40-plus years in the business and my experience as the chairman of the Wisconsin Real Estate Examining Board reviewing complaints, I see this same trend as well, and I can tell you it concerns all of us.

Last year, the WRA conducted a survey among its members on this issue of professionalism, and here are a couple high points of the survey results:

  1. 88 percent of the REALTORS® surveyed said they had actually experienced incompetent and unethical practice by a fellow REALTOR®.
  2. 83 percent said this conduct did not happen in their office! (Really?)
  3. 44 percent said they felt REALTORS® were performing less professionally than they were in 2007.

Folks, I think the time has come that we need to take a serious look at what we are doing before it’s too late. This problem is not only how we deal with our customers and clients but also how we interact with our fellow REALTORS®. Members of the public come to us for one of their most important purchases in their lives, and they come to us because they’re expecting a professional experience, and as REALTORS®, we’re held to a higher standard.

Each time we deviate from what our customers’ expectation levels are, we erode their value of us in their eyes … and if you think your customers don’t notice these lapses in professionalism and how we treat one another, you’re only kidding yourselves. 

We have what seems to be a new business model, new platform or new website trying to disrupt our business occurring each month because, among other things, they feel we’re vulnerable based on how we deal with the public and each other. We can’t be the disrupters of our own business.

How do we improve our current status? I have what I think is a simple and common-sense approach to this. Right now, we have seller agency, buyer agency and broker disclosure to customers. My approach would be to have an “agent agency” agreement between the agents with the following precepts:

  1. Follow the golden rule.
  2. Respond promptly to all inquiries and requests via text, email and phone.
  3. Show courtesy, trust and respect to other real estate professionals.
  4. Work collaboratively to achieve a positive outcome for everyone in the transaction.
  5. Work competently by fully completing and understanding all the forms.

In our survey, we found that 97 percent of the REALTORS® supported the WRA putting plans into action that would improve incompetent and unethical behavior. So, this year, with your continued input, we will be striving to deal with this important aspect of our business. In the interim, we know it can start now if each of you will try to make incremental changes in your business using the values of “agent agency.” 

I’m excited about the year ahead and representing each of you this year. 

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