Elephant in the room?

There’s an undercurrent to the battle between the real estate industry and its detractors few talk about. It may not define the struggle, but I think it explains some of what’s going on.

Perhaps it hit me when I read that Glenn Kelman’s hero is Ezra Pound in his recent Real Estate Connect speaker profile.

It’s class.

I see hyper-educated, affluent entrepreneurs, writers, technologists and other “outsiders” pitted against generally less educated, less affluent real estate practitioners.

Sure, much of what’s gone on in real estate over the past ten years has been strictly business: innovation, resistance, incumbents warding off challengers, etc. But would the outsiders attack the industry so strongly and dismiss its practitioners so blithely if the rewards of a real estate career were conditioned upon getting a “legitimate” education? Or if its people displayed a slightly tonier patina? Would the NAR and many of its members react so virulently and clumsily to challenges if they came from people they’d actually invite over for dinner?

I know, this is a ridiculously broad characterization. Bill Gates has no college degree. There are plenty of blue-blood brokers. But let’s be honest. How many of you entrepreneurial or technology types have sat in meetings where people who revere hedge fund hucksters mercilessly dis Realtors? Brokers and agents, how often do you clench your teeth listening to some start up exec give a presentation just because he’s got a Harvard MBA?

What of it? I have my opinions. But I’m more interested in yours.

— Brian Boero