OREA Real Estate College

Is a REALTOR® a Professional?

In Italy, I observed that it is common to call learned individuals “professore” or “professoressa.” It is an open compliment extended with a mixture of envy and esteem. Sadly, I have never heard the term in reference to a REALTOR®.

It is not unheard of for Italo-Canadian traditionalists to give gifts of wine and “cioccolato” to their lawyer-professore or doctor-professoressa. However, for their REALTOR® acquaintances, espresso suffices as it does for other common folks.

Is this an indication that REALTORS® are not viewed as erudite within Italy and Little Italy’s everywhere? Is this a custom of multicultural proportions? Or, is it simply confusion as to the meaning of the term ‘professional’?

While some Italians cling to a traditional definition of what constitutes a professional, it is blatantly clear that there is a proliferation of professions in our society. With the technological revolution, professionalism has been democratized. Everyone from A- acupuncturist to Z-zoologist is a professional. The ‘reservation’ has expanded well beyond the domain of medicine, law, and the clergy.

This is positive news. Would you want to live in a closed culture steered by a few guilds or do you prefer our modern era of an abundance of professionals providing reliable quality and efficient specialized service?

But is a REALTOR® a professional? It all depends on your expectations.

From a “must do” perspective, a REALTOR® is a professional. A REALTOR® must secure a minimum level of schooling. A REALTOR® must be granted accreditation or certification. A REALTOR® must subscribe to the prescribed code of ethics and standards of business practice. Within these works are the very attributes or behavioural competencies expected of REALTORS® as professionals.

From an “aspire to” perspective, a REALTOR® may fall short of being called a professional, as would a host of other so-called professionals in the workplace. To “aspire” invokes standards of excellence. Here expectations exceed the minimum and with it arise a whole new set of questions: Is secondary schooling sufficient? What constitutes a comprehensive curriculum? What is a suitable exam structure and testing methodology? Doesn’t readiness and accountability demand a mentoring or internship period? Should ongoing recertification be the capstone measure of a profession?

The answers to these questions are game-changers. But then, if you want more you have to require more.

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