Bruss' response to a letter writer who had asked the local Board of Realtors for the names of the "top three agents" and was denied the information demonstrated his lack of knowledge as to what a Board of Realtors is and does.
First, the board could not give out that information, even if they had it--which they do not!
Example, our board has 861 members, with an additional 387 participants of the MLS only, working out of 125 different offices. If a staff person who answers the phone would even attempt to select three top producers--it would be unethical and unfair to the rest of the membership. And besides, the only information they would have is perhaps the largest office--and bigger is not always better!
Second, individual agent production is not one of the statistics kept by the board. This information is only available from individual offices--and is based on a variety of measures.
Announcements of "salesman of the month" don't always symbolize the same thing. Some offices use sales figures. Some use closing figures only. Some use dollars of commissions earned. Comparing agents under those circumstances is impossible.
"Reading the ads" is not much better--each realtor can probably claim to be Numero Uno at some time. "First in Sales . . ." this week? this month? this year? "Most listings in 1989 . . ." did they close?
Best solution to the question is to call the three realtor offices closest to the property you are selling or buying. and be sure they are realtors, not just a "realty" office.
Realtors subscribe to an even higher code of ethics than is required by law or the Department of Real Estate. They are likely to be more knowledgeable and more professional. A necessary criteria in today's world.
Means is director of the South Bay Board of Realtors.
Robert Bruss Replies:
Most local Boards of Realtors and Multiple Listing Services give annual awards such as for Circle of Excellence members, Million-Dollar Club members, Top Volume Salesperson, Top Volume Brokerage office, Realtor of the Year and other recognition for their outstanding members.
Since all the members know who these winners are, why keep the names of these successful members a secret from property buyers and sellers who request this information? To avoid unfair favoritism, local boards can easily prepare a written list of their award-winning members and mail a copy to inquirers who request it.
Recently, I talked with several executive directors of local Boards of Realtors who tell me they receive inquiries almost every day from prospective home buyers and sellers who request this information. Many boards gladly share these names with the public, whereas others refuse to do so, usually because the non-winning members protest. In my opinion, there is no valid reason for not telling inquirers the names of award-winning local realtors. This is the type of positive information realtors should be using to enhance their public image.