Entry by Lester Langdon

The quest for quality in real estate services


How do ACREs market they are different?

How do they brand themselves?

Is the market confused by a menu of real estate consultant compensation options?

Are we just sales people with an extra arrow in our tool chest, in case the consumer does not first buy the high commission?

Do ACREs have a higher quality of service? Do consumers believe?

Bigger question .... Are ACREs different?

The article below prompted me to ask these questions on this platform. I have been grappling with these questions since leaving Mama Coldwell Banker four months ago.

Here is the article

Real estate agents in our industry spend millions of dollars as a group annually to become a Realtor and to stay a member of the Realtor family. As someone who cut their teeth working with some of the most highly trusted brands in the world like Fisher-Price, Sesame Street and others, I have a few observations of the real estate industry's branding efforts.




Fascinating article Lester - thanks for bringing it to our attention.

I don't think the standards can be raised for all Realtors because, as the author said, NAR is incentivized by membership numbers. But, I do think that ACRE can stand for that level of quality and I'm very confident that it will, given the philosophy of our new head honcho Jennifer.

She and I share the idea that if someone is going to trust you with their business, they need to trust that you will stand for excellence. This is particularly true when we look at non-contingent methods of payment. Without the safety net of contingency, they are hiring you for your reputation, your character, and your commitment. I think at a group level, SWS/ACRE MUST stand for that quality.


Ms. Wilson's article covers a lot of ground, with the main issue being inconsistent service from the industry as a whole.

Unfortunately we have been transformed into this monolithic group that is judge by the way we allow our memberships (Local Board/MLS and NAR) to work for us--in reality, how we work for them. 

Let me give you an example. My wife works for a large fortune 500 company and they have a trade association. But if you where to ask the consumers what is the name of the trade association for the company that you buy your products from? I would venture to say that 99 percent of them would be unable to tell you.

The reason for this is that the trade association for the company only exist for the benefit of there members and operate entirely in the background for their members. If not for the membership of this particular trade association it would no longer exist.

Do you think that would happen with our trade association? I personally think that it would not. And to help make my point, my wife also receives job opportunities from headhunters and there was an opening for an Executive Director position with the Memphis Board of Realtors. Within the description for the job it stated that they were receiving more and more revenue from things other than membership dues. They are essentially becoming a independent operation and we are just their customers. 

In reality we have no brand outside the trade association memberships. I know that there is RE/Max, Coldwell and Century21, but since we are all independent contractors, we have to brand ourselves. Because at the end of the day, it is my belief that our clients only see the professional that they have built the relationship with. 

As for ACREs and what we have to offer is a hard one for me to answer personally. I believe that what we are doing is offering an alternative to the traditional model. I also believe that it maybe confusing to some. One particular question from a potential client got me thinking years ago. I was asked, "If I pay you a hourly rate, do I still have to pay a commission of 6%?" Needless to say I was unable to answer it clearly at that time, but what I did was redesigned my program to handle that dichotomy.

I think for me delivering the consultanting model requires a more drawn out process for the property owner. This is why in my model I approach them far in advance of needing to sell. 


Two years ago I met a broker who has been charging ONLY and hourly rate to commercial real estate clients since year 1996. Currently it is $250 per hour. He does not charge a commission to sellers, just an hourly fee. He does a lot of new development work.  For buyers, he does collect the full premium high commission, with no rebate. He does not advertise and has no website.

Lester and others... I'm on the run today, so I haven't dug into the article yet, but let me assure you that this will be a HUGE topic around here in 2012. My plans may not make all ACREs happy, but I'm willing to risk annoying a few to give those in the crowd who sincerely want to BE different from the crowd and offer true value to the consumer the tools and inspiration they need to do just that.

2012 is going to be a very good year in these parts, I reckon...

Okay - I read the article and almost stood up and clapped out loud (but that would scare the napping dogs and they might start clamoring for a walk). What a fantastic article and it feeds right into what we'll be doing around here in 2012 and beyond.

I don't believe that the ACRE designation alone is enough to accomplish what the author hopes will come to pass in our industry, but it's a start. That's a big part of the reason ACRE and SWS merged - to create something that IS comprehensive enough to differentiate ourselves (and by that I mean ACREs/SWS'ers, not RE agents in general) from the crowd because we ARE special. Not because we paid an annual fee or signed an oath or even took a perfunctory course, but because we take our careers seriously and can back up our claims with performance and professionalism.

My mission for 2012 is to create an elite society of exceptional real estate agents who want to and know how to take care of clients - whether those clients are buyers, sellers or anyone else who needs real estate services. I'm not going to cater to the masses just so that we have "numbers;" if there are only ten of us on board, so be it. We'll be the best damn 10 real estate professionals on the planet!

Seriously, I'm hearing more and more of this every day that the public is demanding we change... and instead of trying to convince them that we shouldn't have to, I'm all for changing if it means improving the perception and reputation of our industry.

If you haven't already, visit my Exceptional Agent landing page which explains my plans for 2012 (and beyond) and even though I don't mention ACRE there specifically, it's definitely a big part of the picture. www.TheExceptionalAgent.com. I hope you will ALL want to be a part of it!



I can not wait to read The Exceptional Agent.  On my to do list for this weekend.

I am looking forward the changes (and challenges of 2012)

Have a good weekend.


This page contains a single entry by Lester Langdon published on December 9, 2011 9:46 AM.

A Perfect Example of the Need for RE Consulting was the previous entry in this blog.

Debating the value of real estate aggregators is the next entry in this blog.

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