Realtors Compromise the Free Market Economy in American Real Estate

Global warming.

The War on “Terror.”

Oil prices.

Factors like these could slow even the most robust economy, but the association that facilitates the vast majority of real estate transactions in this country may be the most overlooked factor of all. The signs that are lingering longer on the landscapes of America have one thing in common…85 percent of the time…they are all listed by Realtors. These signs give evidence of a need for massive real estate reformation…REFORM needs to be the new sign of the times.

The U.S. Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission filed a complaint against the National Association of Realtors (NAR) for policies that call to question the Realtor’s ability to do their job effectively. Despite the possible link to our current real estate “situation” this important lawsuit has gone largely unnoticed by the American public and media.

The complaint lists eight pages of anti-trust and anti-competitive violations by the NAR. This is a huge leap forward for an administration that has otherwise been very ‘supportive’ to massive corporations.

If the federal government actually does force the NAR to reform itself, it would be possible for it to transform itself into a New Association of Realtors. This restructured entity would have the power to offer real hope to the approaching real estate market crisis, but chances are by the time the NAR admits there is a problem-and here’s the clincher-acts to solve it, much of the damage will have already been done to the market and the association.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) wields enormous power, and this can be felt in many ways that affect homeowners. Like all corporations, this “non-profit” corporation creates policies that may or may not be in the best interests of the American people they serve. The U.S. Justice Department’s complaint lays bare the facts that this corporation (which shares many qualities of a monopoly) does not seek the best interests of the American homeowner. The NAR acts upon furthering it’s own selfish interests; namely, the interests of its most powerful and wealthy members–traditional Realtor brokerages.

There are many problems with monopolies. One is the resulting poor quality, high priced and homogenous product. Also, gargantuan corporations behave without moral codes or humanitarian principles. Another feature is a corporation’s natural profit greed is dramatized when there is no competition.

The Realtor culture runs so deep that the public responds with a shrug of “it’s just another cost-of-doing-business” and “what choice do I have?” The monopoly is so entrenched that if the NAR was suddenly forced to deal fairly within the free market it inhabits, its members could actually be crushed beneath the it’s weight of unsound policy and unjustified invincibility.

While homeowners in cities across the country are wringing their hands over what they can do to sell their depreciating homes, the NAR stared back at their customers’ plight with their stubborn defense over their claim to own exclusive rights to their customers listings…much to the expense of American home and real estate owners.

A home’s listing information hasn’t historically been perceived as having value in and of itself, but the Internet has changed EVERYTHING. The information of the home is of ultimate importance to the success of receiving fair market value. The magic panacea of selling real estate, is responsible for more than 80% of the real estate transactions in this country. is the only REAL structure that holds up the association’s house of cards.

Because of the alleged, anti-trust NAR policies, homes are being shown on some Realtor’s sites, but are not available on other Realtor sites. If the information of a home is not being distributed effectively to the entire implied audience of Realtors and their clients. Realtors are in effect pulling a bait and switch on their customers. The reality is that some homes get wider distribution than others, and customers don’t really know how many Realtors feel a vested interest in their listing.

It is apparent that traditional Realtors® are more concerned with the growing downward trend on their commissions than their concern for their clients’ real estate success! They present themselves as belonging to one cohesive organization, when in fact there are multiple factions that act to withhold listing information from the other parts. Most troubling of all is that all factions withhold listings from other non-member listing search engines, which further limits homes’ visibility.

How can that possibly benefit the American homeowners?

In terms of human behavior, it is all quite understandable. As the ratios between Realtors and households dropped over the past decade, the competition between Realtors became so fierce that Realtors began viewing one another as enemies instead of united forces. The rise of individual teams within the same brokerages grew over the same time, but the more important co-operation between individuals, teams and brokerages has crumbled, and ironically, the Realtor network (based on relationships) is frozen in fractured isolation in juxtaposed close quarters.

The divisive market effect is exaggerated because of the ridiculously enormous number of Realtors in this country. There are enough Realtors to nearly fill three of the largest cities in Ohio…Columbus, Cincinnati and Cleveland. On average, the national ratio is one Realtor for every 76 households. (This is based on US population at 300,000,000, 2.9 people in each household, and 1,341,714 Realtors) In some areas, that ratio could be dramatically higher, like 1 in 30 households.

Real estate’s hyper-competitive market environment aggravated the need for the NAR to enact and enforce anti-competitive policies. With the growing backlog of homes, the policy effects are felt not only by the Realtors themselves, but the American homeowner. The irony is the self-serving NAR policies do immeasurable harm to the market in which the association does business.

My young daughters know to never pee in the pool where they swim. I tell them, “There’s nothing lower than a pool pee-er,” but I guess Realtors never learned that lesson.

Let’s face it, when you take the REAL out of REALTORS, you’re left with Terribly Overpriced Real-estate Salespeople. It could be argued that this monopoly is benefiting no one but the largest traditional brokerage owners and the top-producing Realtors. Unfortunately, the Realtor brand is an archaic and self-inflationary business model whose usefulness has past its expiry date.

It’s time to take down American homeowner’s barriers to free trade and let the people choose.

Is right by might where our capitalist society has devolved? Why “must we all just get along” when one side unfairly wields power upon another? Why has our government stood idly by (for years) while the monopoly and inefficiencies continued?

Why do we silently stare while those in power live by another set of rules?

We the people have the power to change this stifling real estate climate!

We cannot teach freedom to the world, if we ourselves are not FREE!

We cannot teach fairness to the world if we ourselves are not treated FAIRLY!

We must educate ourselves and know what our government (and the special interests like the NAR that sponsors it) is doing.

If you feel the NAR rules and policies are not in your best interest, try and support those who do look out for you and your interests!

Wake up America! Take a look around you, and then stand up and be counted!

Write to your congressman and tell him to:

· Finish the job the Justice Department started a year ago!

· Bring the National Association of Realtors® to the stand!

· Make sure your interests are put first!

Let us always remember that the last two syllables of American are I Can!

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