(Posted, here, for the sake of anyone “googling” the Missouri Association of Realtors)
In this passing year, Missourians have seen the highest number of foreclosures than at any other time in their history. Families are being forced out of their homes and are forfeiting their investments and credit scores in continuously rising record numbers as they struggle to find a new place to sleep.
Now, the people who arranged to sell them these houses - the real estate salesmen and saleswomen - have their tens of thousands of dollars in commissions safely secured before any foreclosure threatens to harm them.
From these commissions running from $15,000 to $25,000 per sale on the average Missouri home, the salesman pays dues to a national organization (the National Association of Realtors) and a state organization (the Missouri Association of Realtors) who exist for the soul purpose of protecting and furthering the interest of the real estate salesmen.
These associations, who own and operate a very well financed and sophisticated political infrastructure in Missouri, have been very active in the Missouri legislature when it comes to helping real estate salesmen sell houses. It probably helps that some of the very important committees dealing with bills that positively enhance the real estate sales profession are made up mainly (30 - 45%) of real estate salesmen who get elected to the legislature and maintain their membership in the associations (NAR and MAR) that lobby them. For example, last year the Missouri Association of Realtors supported a bill (that did not pass) that would have made a salesman immune from a lawsuit if he was caught concealing his knowledge of a convicted sex offender in the immediate area of a house he was trying to sell. How would something like that benefit a home buyer? The benefit to the salesman is obvious. Likewise was their attempt to take the only party involved in a home selling action, the home inspector, and put him under their control by a bill they sponsored that would have a board oversee his actions. This board would have had real estate salesmen and others who they lobby for membership on it, in direct control over the only party in the transaction who does not profit from the sale of the house. In their wisdom, the Missouri legislature ignored this suggestion and did not even consider putting the bill up for a vote. So....now we have a new legislative year coming up. The Missouri Association of Realtors has been hard at work. One would think that the high number of their former customers who have lost the homes that were sold to them would be a priority.
One would think that associations representing salesmen of real estate would want to focus all of their attention and energy in helping their customers and potential customers from the known dangers that have cost so many of them their dreams. Why, it would be a grand an honorable measure for the MAR to use their strong lobbying infrastructure to help the record number of their customers who are struggling to avoid homelessness.
But we forget that the Missouri Association of Realtors is not in business to protect or care about the consumer of their product.
They are there to protect the interests of their members who pay their dues…the real estate salesmen. They are there only to advance the interests and sales goals of the sellers of homes and property that they represent.
As a result of their efforts and spending over the summer, they have convinced a legislator to try again to push through a bill....not to address the protection of their customers....but the protection of their commissions. They, once again, will tie up their efforts in trying to rein in and reign over the home inspector who writes the report that the home owner reads and decides not to buy the house they are selling. Home inspectors look at the property and describe it to the potential buyer in a report that is unbiased and accurate. When the buyer reviews the report and decides to walk away from the sale, the real estate salesman makes no money. Thus, his association...the Missouri Association of Realtors...has an interest in helping its members make more money by using its legislative influences to push for laws that put inspectors directly and indirectly under their control.
Given the choice of going after legislation that would help people stay in the homes they sold them…or going after legislation to protect themselves from inspectors who “kill their deals”, they chose the latter.
A new push for this year is their introduction to deepen the pockets of home inspectors by mandating a malpractice insurance that would encourage lawsuits (that are now being made against real estate salesmen) to be made against home inspectors. Of course, the Missouri Association of Realtors find this to be of benefit to its membership and have endorsed it without bothering to check with the Missouri Attorney General's office whose records reflect that more complaints have been filed against florists than home inspectors in the past five years.
But increasing the amount of money it costs to be a home inspector will, in their minds, increase the need of the inspector to solicit their referrals…knowing that they are unlikely to refer an inspector who might cost them a sale.
The foreclosure rates, predatory lending practices, and title insurance issues are fortunately on the front burner with the legislators who are NOT influenced by the salesmen and their lobby. These legislators are the ones who need your help and support. These salesmen of real estate made 7% commission on your parent's home in 1950....and they still make the same 7% commission on the $300,000.00 Missouri home selling, today. This is big, big money. They pay much of that into dues to the Missouri Association of Realtors to help them protect it. Support those who protect you. Let your legislative representative know that you expect him or her to correct....not perpetuate...the damages that consumers of real estate sales are enduring in record numbers.
James H. Bushart
President, Missouri Chapter of the National Association of Certified Home Inspectors