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I teach various real estate classes (including pre-licensing) at Hondros College of Business (Hondros.) I also serve as Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School.

In presenting to groups at both institutions, I continue to see similarities between people aspiring to be real estate salespersons and people aspiring to become auctioneers. Similar demographics — similar desire to try something new — similar sparkle in their eyes.


Relatedly, The National Association of REALTORS® published its so-called “DANGER” report in May, 2015.

Hondros distributed this report to all staff in May, 2016. This report cited dangers to the real estate industry.

Most notably, this following was cited as a major concern:

The knowledge and competency gap from the most to the least is very large, due to the low barriers to entry, low continuing education requirements, and the lure of quickly making big dollars. For decades the industry has held the opinion that it’s a profession, however the reality is that those outside the industry don’t hold the same opinion

Most professions (doctors, lawyers, accountants and engineers) require thousands of hours of studying, beginning with a bachelor’s degree. Even becoming an earth driller requires an average of 704 hours of instruction, and becoming a cosmetologist requires an average of 372 hours. But to become a licensed real estate agent requires an average of only 70 hours with the lowest state requirement being 13 hours.

The delta between real estate service and poor real estate service has simply become too large, due to the unacceptably low entry requirements to become a real estate agent. Professional, hardworking agents increasingly understand that the “not so good” agents are bringing the entire industry down. (DANGER Report, 20-21)

In short, real estate agents are simply not being educated to the highest standard, resulting in poor quality agents. There are currently no educational initiatives to raise the national bar for the real estate industry across the board. “This lack of agent knowledge is a significant danger in itself, when combined with a lack of basic competency it could be destructive and harmful to both the industry and the consumer,” (DANGER Report, 21).

We’ve written about auctioneer licensing numerous times. Here we explored the good and bad of licensing: https://mikebrandlyauctioneer.wordpress.com/2009/12/25/auctioneer-licensing-good-or-bad/. As we have noted frequently, some states license auctioneers and some don’t.

We ask here: Could this “danger” article have the word, “auctioneer” where it now has “agent” and have valid meaning? Could this have just as well come from the National Auctioneers Association, rather than the National Association of Realtors?

It’s certainly well known that the barrier to entry in the auction business is low — if not nearly nonexistent in many states. Further, most states mandate no continuing education for auctioneers — and most auctioneers partake in no such education.

Everywhere in the United States, some sort of pre-licensing education is required to secure a real estate license; in a minority of states, any auctioneer training is required. Three key points come to mind in regard to auctioneer training/education:

    1. The National Auctioneers Association provides exceptional auctioneer education, but it touches only a minority of auctioneers in the United States.
    2. State auctioneer associations provide auctioneer education, but that too generally helps only a minority who are members.
    3. Auction schools are nearly all first-rate, but only provide the minimum hours (80+) required for pre-licensure — as there is virtually no appetite in the market for additional hours.

More education and additional continuing education for all auctioneers will not be accepted nor received until mandated by state governments; as it is at the moment, only a dangerous minority of auctioneers voluntarily take any auctioneer education without it being a legal requirement — and I think this report suggests that is a danger to our industry as well.

Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, CAI, AARE has been an auctioneer and certified appraiser for over 30 years. His company’s auctions are located at: Mike Brandly, Auctioneer, Keller Williams Auctions and Goodwill Columbus Car Auction. He serves as Distinguished Faculty at Hondros College of Business, Executive Director of The Ohio Auction School and Faculty at the Certified Auctioneers Institute held at Indiana University.