Is “Sleazeball” Synonymous with “Real-Estate Broker”?

As far as NYC is concerned, the answer to this blog entry’s titular rhetorical question proves a disheartening and resounding “yes”.  Let’s deconstruct this unfortunate state of affairs by identifying a few points of interest which may or may not be obvious to the unschooled outsider.  ‘Broker’ is the term commonly used to indicate the individual who rents and sells property, though few agents are actually Brokers.  The only people allowed to ascribe about themselves the ‘Broker’ label are either the Broker OWNERS of a real estate company or the Brokers managing an office or branch of a firm – NOBODY else is or should ever be referred to as a Broker.  Even those with Broker’s licenses are not necessarily Brokers, but Broker’s Associates.  As for the rest of us, we are quite simply Real Estate Salespeople or Agents.  How, then, has the misnomer of attributing to Real Estate Salespeople the Broker nomenclature perpetuated itself?  One aspect of the diagnosis surely revolves around this fact:  once upon a time the title ‘Broker’ meant that the person holding it had studied more, passed more tests, and was educated in his field beyond the qualifications of modest salespeople.  Then along came an unctuous New York Real Estate Agent or two, who, realizing this, began calling themselves Brokers for leverage, a dishonest practice which spread like wildfire in the industry.  Every now and again I even encounter some Real Estate Salespeople who inadvertently extend this distortion; to my surprise, some are not aware of the history of the title, and call themselves Brokers without sly or fraudulent ends in mind.  The more you know….

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