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By Paul LePage, Realty ONE Group

Nearly every profession is eventually saddled with persistent stereotypes but, let’s face it: some fare far better than others. At least since 1977, when Gallup launched its annual “honesty and ethical standards” poll of more than 20 professions, Americans have consistently ranked car salesmen, Members of Congress and lobbyists at the bottom of the list, while nurses have occupied the No. 1 slot year after year. Admittedly, the real estate profession could use a boost in rankings, too. Based on a traditional model that fuels competitiveness, the industry faces added challenges of an unpredictable market and too few barriers for entry. In fact, in most states, anyone 18 and over can obtain a license and begin selling within six months.

Driven by an “agent mentality” that sees real estate as a quick and easy way to make a buck, the industry has earned an unwelcome reputation while simultaneously exploding. According to the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, two million Americans are now active licensees, with this oversaturation at the root of a widely-held notion that rising to the top has never been more difficult. For others, however, particularly those leading the charge as industry disruptors, rising to the top has never been easier.

Thanks to bold visionaries and advances in technology, real estate is transforming, with a demand for people who are just as passionate about selling homes as they are about continuously learning. Bolstered by increasing standards and regulations to promote integrity, those ready to take the quantum leap are realizing the industry is their oyster. No longer focused on competition, but rather true professionalism and a passion to elevate client experience, they are taking full advantage of what top brokerages are offering: cutting-edge agent service platforms, behind-the-scenes marketing brilliance, out-of-the-box franchise functionality, mentorship, coaching and training, and a collaborative company culture where everyone is given a voice and everyone wins. Evolving from agent to high achiever, these committed professionals put service above self and view their career as a calling, rather than one predicated by numbers and production. They carry an entrepreneurial spirit and a deep desire to live—and embody—the American Dream. They are educated, sophisticated and humble, with an understanding of each person’s value. They live by the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

One of the greatest financial risks a person can take in his or her lifetime is investing in a home. Yet agents can be quite cavalier when it comes to looking out for a client’s best interest. The same can be said for some of the executive leaders of today’s brokerages, who often push the bottom line rather than invest in the caliber of people and processes that can influence the future of the industry. Good thing for the visionaries. The road is wide open. With a strict code of ethics and a desire to open new doors every day, inspired real estate executives are leading the way and motivating true professionals to rise above mediocrity, setting the pace for advancing tomorrow’s real estate professionals today.

Paul LePage is a Corporate Broker, Regional Manager and Designated Broker of California for Realty ONE Group in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.

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