A Realtor By Any Other Name…..

June 19, 2006 at 5:01 pm 2 comments

What do Realtors and Librarians have in common?

A lot I think, and I think we need to have more!

Have you noticed those commecials on the radio for Realtors? You might not have, but after you read this, listen for them. Once you notice them, you’ll always hear them.

I have been noticing them for awhile now. They seem to come the AM news stations which I tend to listen to on my way to and from work, or on lunch.

They are commercials basically explaining why you should get a “real” Realtor instead of buying/selling your home for yourself, or through a Real Estate Agent.

Sound familiar yet!?

Where did these ads come from all of a sudden? Why do the Realtors needs ads?
Well, I think that Realtors must have looked around and noticed they have some competition!

  • People buying/selling their homes on their own, or
  • People using YHD or some other service which maybe doesn’t employ “real” realtors, I’m not sure what the deal is with YHD, but “YHD employs a network of specialists — including lawyers and home inspectors — who handle many home-buying steps. It even has an in-house finance arm. ” from Business Week Online.
  • People using Real Estate Agents or other people or just the Internet

They must have decided that they need to educate and to market to their customers why one should choose a “real,” licensed Realtor, rather than anyone/anything else! They must have been losing business!

Sound familiar now!?

WE have competition! WE will lose business!
Who is our competition as libraries and librarians!?
They’ve been around for awhile now and we haven’t really done a good job of speaking up against them.

Our competitors are:

  • Bookstores
  • The Internet
  • Those who think they can “do it on their own” without the help of a “real,” licensed professional librarian
  • Local governments who think that putting an encyclopedia in every home can replace us

So, how do the ads for Relators help them?

The ads for the realtors mention the National Associaton of Realtors, and say you should check it out to find one in your area before you buy or sell real estate.

Check out their “When is a real estate agent a Realtor?” page:

“When is a Real Estate Agent a REALTOR®?The term REALTOR® is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics.” (emphasis mine)

I am by no means suggesting that we go about attacking the sources of competition – the commercials don’t do that at all. They simply point out that things will be much more difficult and complicated if you don’t use a “real” Realtor.

The ads and the website seek to educate the consumer about the differences between a Real Estate Agent and a Realtor. They point up the benefits of using a “real” Realtor. The ads have “real” people sharing “real” stories in which they learn that next time, they’ll use a “real” Realtor!

I have a personal belief that commercials such as these infiltrate the brain and stay there, subconsiously. A listener may not realize they heard this commercial. Until it comes time to deal with real estate. Maybe, just maybe, they will then have this feeling that they need to use a “real” Realtor.

Wouldn’t it be nice if we could give our consumers that same feeling when they are considering whether to use the Internet, a bookstore, a friend, or don’t even know what to consult, when they have an information need? The feeling/belief that they need a library and/or librarian!


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  • 1. Ms. OPL  |  June 19, 2006 at 6:09 pm

    Way to go, Amy! This is exactly what I (and other librarians) have been saying for *years* and you so it very eloquently.

    A couple of comments, tho. Realtor is a copyrighted name and should be accompanied by the R in a circle designation.

    Also, there is another major source of competition to the library or librarian….doing without. We learned about someone’s law in library school which says that if the information is too difficult to get or costs too much, the person will act as if the information is not needed. I think this is our biggest competition. Another way to say this is that one the biggest dangers to the library is being ignored.

    Thanks for another great item to put up on my blog and in my next book.

  • 2. Amy J. Kearns, MLIS  |  June 20, 2006 at 10:23 am

    Thanks! And you are right about the R in the circle designation.

    And you are also right about the “doing without!” Very important point.

    I know I’m not the first or only to point this out, but I think it really is important that we focus on this if we want to improve our situation!

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