Is your Realtor qualified to represent your best interests?  Odds are…they are not.  In a recently released study, the National Association of Realtors shocked the industry by revealing that the greatest threat to organized real estate is “marginal agents”.  Released in June of 2015, the National Association of Realtors report was called the “Danger Report” and detailed out that the greatest threat to the real estate industry are agents that are unskilled and lack the knowledge to effectively represent buyers and sellers.

From the Danger Report: “The real estate industry is saddled with a large number of part-time, untrained, unethical, and/or incompetent agents. This knowledge gap threatens the credibility of the industry.”

For Sale Sign

The Danger Report continues: “The knowledge and competency gap from the most to the least is very large, due to the low barriers to entry, low continuing education requirements, and the lure of quickly making big dollars. For decades the industry has held the opinion that it’s a profession, however the reality is that those outside the industry don’t hold the same opinion. Most professions (doctors, lawyers, accountants, and engineers) require thousands of hours of study, beginning with a bachelor’s degree. Even becoming an earth driller requires an average of 704 hours of instruction, and becoming a cosmetologist requires an average of a 372 hours. But to become a licensed real estate agent requires an average of only 70 hours with the lowest state requirement being 13 hours.”  Arizona Requires 90 hours of classroom instruction to become a real estate agent.  

Here is a link to the startling website that was created:

Do you think that is scary?  Well, this is worse:  In my opinion and having been in the business for 21 years now, I believe that well over 60% of Realtors have no business being in the business.  And 60% is being very, very generous.  That is of course my opinion, but this echoes the Danger Report and when I mention this to my colleagues, they all agree.   I have not had one single Realtor disagree with my assessment and some think that only 25% of Realtors are actually qualified to do their jobs!  At a recent leadership event that was hosted by the Arizona Association of Realtors, every colleague I asked felt that less than 50% of current agents should be in the business at all.  Several of my most respected colleagues said less than 25% should be allowed in the business.

Transfer Of Keys

And the sad thing is that the number of sales that an agent has in a year (what agents call “production level”) has very little to do with it.  Yes, an agent can learn the hard way, as they say, but unless they are keeping up with trends, changes to law and regulation, changes to commonly used forms and technology, how many houses they sold last year pales.  A Realtor may have sold 50 houses last year, but if they are not properly educated and dedicated, they could get you or someone else into a lot of trouble in this litigious society we have today.

So what does this mean to you?  It means you need to interview your agent.  Even your current one.  Even your friend.  Many agents will suggest and provide you a list of questions to ask a Realtor during an interview.  They are typically good questions, but usually the questions provided are easily answered in a positive way by the person that wrote the questions and then gave them to you!  I would suggest delving just a little deeper and maybe coming up with your own questions.  And how you do that is up to you, but if it was me…I would ask questions in these categories:  Education, experience and technology.  I will elaborate in upcoming blogs, give you some ideas to formulate your questions and talk about different Realtors’ general dedication to professionalism in the industry.  Stay tuned!

Gary Nelson is a lifelong resident of Flagstaff, Arizona and is the Delegated Associate Broker at Realty Executives of Flagstaff.  Find your own part of Flagstaff at