I didn't really have a photo of the dancing realtors but you can see them in the video below. However, this picture pretty much captures my mental image of what dancing realtors would look like - or at least what I look like when I'm forced to dance. As if that's not reason enough for me to stay away from Chicago's annual Top Producer pageant there is also the small issue of my disdain for the whole concept of the Top Chicago Realtors and the pageantry around it.
For one, I wrote a post a long time ago about real estate's top producer myth and how consumers misplace their trust in these folks. Since then I can add a few additional thoughts on the topic:
- There are numerous ways to game the system - like the 11 Platinum level realtors who show up as individuals instead of teams and have sold more than 160 units each. Uhhh...these folks have huge teams. All you have to do is not declare a team in the MLS but one realtor can still take credit for all the sales.
- You get credit for all your sales in the MLS regardless of where they occur. So sales by team members in the suburbs that occur under a different association will count towards your Chicago Association ranking.
- The threshold for being a top real estate agent in Chicago is pretty low. All you have to do to make the Chicago list is sell $4 MM worth of real estate in one year.
Interestingly, the ranks of the Top Producers actually grew in 2010 - at least at the lowest tiers. In 2009 there were only 116 realtors between $5 - 6 MM and 157 between $4 - 5 MM compared to 122 and 197 respectively for 2010. I was surprised because I thought that with the market in the toilet we would see significant shrinkage. But I suppose that with this tough real estate market maybe people are finally waking up to the fact that they shouldn't put their fate in the hands of family and friends. Not to mention the fact that 7.4% of Chicago realtors left the business in the last year. [Note to self: check to see if realtors in the upper tiers slid down a couple of notches.]
As for the Top Producer event...don't get me wrong...I understand that people deserve the right to celebrate their success and there is no question that I am genetically less capable of enjoying myself than most people at huge extravaganzas. But...who goes to these events anyway? Only realtors and their SOs for sure. And certainly not the bottom producers. I mean would you want to go and congratulate your competitors for kicking your ass? So...a bunch of top realtors go to an event in their own honor so they can pat each other on the back? I don't get it.
BTW, it turns out that not every realtor association produces this ranking. For instance, the Mainstreet Organization of Realtors (MORE) in the western suburbs doesn't do it. So this must be a Chicago thing. Here's the official video from the recent event held by the Chicago Association of Realtors. The dancing realtors show up around 1:30.