I found Seth Price’s article at Inman News to be spot on:
The life of a real estate professional is highly nuanced and, for the most part, downright mysterious. On the one hand, you have this simplified misconception that all it takes to be an agent is to get a license, be somewhat personable and like houses. On the other hand, you have the reality that each agent is an entrepreneur choosing to build a business in a highly competitive industry.
As a long-time real estate professional, I can attest to the importance of knowing my market as thoroughly as I know the inside of my downtown Miami condo. As Seth goes on to say:
Real estate is inherently a local relationship business that requires domain knowledge on a street-by-street level, understanding of unique property types and market specialization, awareness of national financial trends and a professional infrastructure to shepherd deals through a maze of regulation. It’s like saying a doctor is a doctor, regardless of the health issue. (For the record, there are more than 150 medical specializations listed in Wikipedia.)