Side note: What in the heck is up with the FLU bug. I just got over it after my daughter (out of school for 3 days last week) planted one on me and passed it to me. Now my son has been in bed with it. What a great weekend! I understand Blanchet H.S was shut down recently due to the flu--this is nasty. Moving on....
Industry Extreme Makeover
Our state has recently enacted new rules by our Department of Financial Institutions to have loan originators get licensed, undergo testing and have background checks. Jillayne Schlicke, industry insider and commenter to this blog and Rain City Guide, is tuned in to this segment as her organization provids training, classes and pre-testing for those within the industry. Now, the candidates have to undergo testing (not in place yet, but coming later this year) and background checks 'a la finger printing. Um, how about including credit checks, like required of escrow ownership? Real estate agent candidates take coursework and have to pass an exam to be licensed by the Dept. of Licensing.
The industry needs an extreme makeover. It has a public relations problem that has been ongoing for years. It truly boggles my mind why many industry insiders do not drop by this blog and others not hosted by insiders. It is a laboratory! Bloggers offer gems of information about frustrations, housing issues, buying issues, etc....the very best cross section of existing homeowners, past homeowners, renters, those looking to buy now or in the future---people of all walks of professional and personal life! I digress. An earlier blogger comment I read really hit home for me:
"in my line of work, the MOST bankruptcy's I see on credit reports are from loan officers! hahaha, unbelievable. It's just amazing that people who deal with this amount of money can't keep their own finances in good standing. How can someone who cannot control their own situation give sound advice to anyone else?" - Matt
Here are some thoughts on what I would encourage to help mend the image of the real estate profession:
- Minimum of a 4 yr college degree (a far cry from a GED or high school diploma)
- Institutional training specific to the sub-set industry: financing, escrow, title, agents, etc..
- Background check on all agents and loan officers INCLUDING meeting minimum credit scores---this would include screening for derogatory lates such as 30-60-90 lates, prior foreclosures/ NOD's etc...do this ANNUALLY at the licensee's expense.
- Passing state licensing exams and annual continuing 'ed classes.
How would you like ownership in an escrow company or mortgage brokerage/loan officer to have financial distress or have suspect backgrounds, counseling you on a major transaction? Real estate is not like buying a stereo on credit at Magnolia Hi-Fi or a car at your local dealership. It is a big deal. Can you discern who really needs a commission vs. those that don't? I think you can. People can read body language, demeanor and professional image.
Now, before my colleagues get ready to write more hate mail to me, please know that not EVERY loan officer or agent has their house out of order. Realtors complain of weeding out the industry with new entry benchmarks, but they seem to be suggesting just softballs---increasing study hours etc....
If the industry wants respect, start giving it to consumers first by making it a profession, not a hobby. I truly believe that if as much time and money was spent on fundamental real estate knowledge and core customer service coursework vs. as much money and time is spent at a sales seminar on overcoming buyer/seller objections, this industry would be better off.