Realtors: Let's face it, we often get a bad rap. Not too long ago I a came across a blog that seemed to be

Asked by Patti Pereyra, Chicago, IL Sat Sep 22, 2007

dedicated to hostility towards Realtors. Oh, the things people said about our ulterior motives, our greed, and our general 'laziness' (and some of you have seen this blog, too).

Truth is, there ARE some bad apples out there. So tell me, why DID you become a Realtor in the first place, and how do you think we can go about showing consumers we truly honor not just our profession, but their needs?

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Bridgette Ko…, , Florida
Sat Sep 22, 2007
I became a REALTOR out of plain old egocentric greed (Gordon Gekko, anyone?). I accidentally found myself a fabulous "deal" on an estate sale (with seemingly impossible legal issues) situated on 1.33 acres (a large amount of land in that area--Cape May County, NJ--I've seen grandfathered lots there as small as 30' x 60') mere steps from the Delaware Bay. I was able to work with the cooperative (and grateful) sellers and patient, friendly, and truly helpful real estate pros to make this transaction happen for me. After acquiring the property, I did wish to sell off some of those extra lots for profit (believe it or not--they were already deeded as separate parcels--a no brainer!). My dearest friend at the time was a well-respected REALTOR in the area (WCR, CRS, ABR, executive positions on the local board, etc.), I had seen her work style and her unimpeachable ethics first hand--and her grateful clients--so I thought that I might like to try it (I was in adverting at the time--my exceptional ethics there made me quite the stand-out and unlikely success; but I was tired of being drowned in a sea of mediocrity). I knew FSBO was not the way to go, so with my friend's considerable encouragement, I made the career switch to real estate... Guess what I found out... Not all real estate agents are created equal... I have been extremely fortunate to work in offices where my fellows REALTORs and our supervising broker(s) share a commitment to high ethical standards and dedication consumer education. Unfortunately, I have also seen successful real estate agents whom I would not trust to water may plants... What to do? Well, it seems to me that the NAR code of ethics (paraphrased: thou shalt not denigrate a fellow REALTOR in public...) is a blanket g_g order (oh boy, I am gonna' get in BIG trouble for this!)... But, that does that mean we cannot privately contact the questionable agent's supervising broker to address any concerns? I think we can, and should. Although this will not win any local popularity contests, if it is adopted as a standard of practice by NAR and/or some local boards, we could easily weed out the bad agents quickly. I also see Trulia as a fabulous way to reach out to the consumer and educate them on many topics which will most likely lead them to a quality REALTOR in their search for professional help. For those who have stuck with me this far, sorry for the rant... So, why do I stay in real estate? I have an uncanny gift to quickly and intuitively assess my clients true needs and motivation--both those stated, and those which remain unstated (unconscious, perhaps?)--I'm good at it! Plus I get to set my own schedule (a fabulous perk for a night owl)…

Consumers reading this thread:
PLEASE post any comments you may have! We love hearing from you!

PS-FYI: Trulia thinks "g _ g" is profanity (okay, I can see that point)! This took FOREVER (hours) to post!
4 votes
Sylvia Barry,…, Agent, Marin, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2007
After the horrible Realtor I had in Dallas many years ago; I decided that nobody should be treated that way.

We were trying to sell our first house which we bought at the height of the market back in the late 80s. We were going to lose money, but we were relocating.

We interviewed three realtors, like a good seller would do and picked one. She could not sell our house and suggested that we should rent. We had already moved so we did not have much choice. She then told us that she had a trustworthily client whom we could rent the house to. Well, the renter moved in and never paid the rent. It was really bad because I quit my great paying job to stay at home and we were very tight financially.

After talking to our neighbors, we found out the person was her boy friend. We ended up having to evict the tenant, report the agent to her brokerage; I think she was let go after that.

10 years or so fast forward, we finally decided to try and sell our house again. We were in east coast at the time. The first Realtor wasn’t great. Then I found one who happened to be on duty that weekend. I chatted with him, found out he worked for the same IT company I worked for. We had the work ethics and values. I hired him (and persuaded my husband to). The hoops he jumped through for us were undeliverable. I figured he probably made no more than $2.00 an hour after all was said and done - You all know what I mean. He is the realtor I am forever grateful and will always refer. Mind you, I still have not met him.

So, yes, there are bad apples out there and there are GREATt apples out there. The trick is to be the good ones and that’s why it is important for all of us to do the right thing.

After I lost my IT project management job during the shuffle, coupled with the fact that I wanted to be close to my kids (did not want to commute to the city, East Bay or South Bay); I decided to get into real estate to give my clients the service they deserve.

Buying and selling houses are really one of the biggest financial transactions and emotional things a person will have in their lifetime; and they really deserve to have somebody who are knowledgeable and who they can trust to do the right thing for them. So, here I am. I hope my clients feel the same way about me as I feel about my last Realtor in Dallas.

4 votes
Mr.P, , Arizona
Sat Sep 22, 2007
Hey Patti,
I read the blog you refer to, he is really just an angry man. He is probably an ex Realtor.
I have found the most hostile people toward Realtors are, Other Realtors and Loan Officers.
Maybe a few Title company personal.
As for the consumer, I just don`t see it. I usually meet happy people who want to buy everything, and have no money, however they are happy people.

I became a Realtor for the money!
I have remained a Realtor for the freedom of being in charge of my own destiny.
I am a People person, I have made a ton of friends. With the changes in technology. This is a fun, exciting, Sky is the limit field.

If I knew how difficult it would be to earn a living, I may have never entered the field.
It is said, at least in Arizona, that for every 1000 New Realtors. Only 12 will still be in active business 3 years later.

"how do you think we can go about showing consumers we truly honor not just our profession, but their needs?"
I would suggest to focus on one client at a time, and remember to treat them the way you expect to be treated. Handle their investment like it is your own.
4 votes
Jim Walker, Agent, Carmichael, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2007
I was a loan officer, rates were on the rise, the bottom had fallen out of the refi market for me.
Other mortgage brokers would advertise and quote the previous months rates and win all the business.
I quoted current rates and lost all my business.

In California, I already had a RE license (required to be a loan officer here in those days, unless employed by a bank)

All the Realtors that I called on for leads told me "bring me buyer, you can have the loan. "

I did the math. 50% of 3% of the sale OR 50% of 1% of the loan - and did the switch.

I figured that if a house were clearly listed for $79,000 that I would not lose too many buyers to some unscrupulous competitor quoting a lower list price for a listed house, the way I was losing borrowers to fake rate quotes.

This was all before email, the internet, They had just stopped publishing a weekly MLS book. and MLS had pioneered putting listings on a BBS (Bulletin Board System) No pictures. Printed the listings out on a dot matrix printer on "computer" paper. Property features were all in code.

I am going to be the anti-Pollyanna here. Merely being good examples ourselves is not enough. The way for consumers to trust Realtors more is through tough love on the "bad apples" - prosecute practitioners who engage in mortgage fraud and other shameful acts, toughen the entry and continuing educational standards. Put pressure on the NAR and brokers to stop recruiting so much fresh blood to the profession. I wonder if some brokers like fresh blood because they can charge rookie agents a 50% split, get them to bring their families business to that brokerage, and do free grunt work for the top producers in the firm. - Just wondering -
3 votes
Ken Pujdak,…, , Greenville, SC
Sat Sep 22, 2007
I recommend as a profession salesman (and should be proud to be called a profession salesman) that you stop filling your mind with other peoples rubish and fill your mind with success stories and positive things. The reason buyers and sellers think Realtors have ulterior motives is because THEY have ulterior motives that clash with the way the market works. I saw a sign in front of a church once that read, "He who slings mud has dirty hands." Just leave pigs to wallow in their own mud. There are to many good people out there who want and actually enjoy the experience you have to offer.

I became a Realtor because I love to sell. I love to sell because I'm successful at it. I am successful in selling because I spent several years learning directly from the best trainers in the business (Tommy Hopkins and Brian Tracy). I am a CPA. How many CPAs do you know that can even sell their mother on the fact that they love their mommy? If I can do it, anybody can. So don't sweat the small minded bellyachers. Be a well trained saleswoman and the world will beat a path to your door.
3 votes
Deborah Madey, Agent, Brick, NJ
Sat Sep 22, 2007
Prior to becoming a Realtor, I had run into some agents who gave me a negative impressions. :( I was never hostile, as I have seen in some nasty anti-Realtor rants, such as you mentioned. As a consumer, I had found it challenging and difficult to locate what I believed to be a competent agent. :( I hear several stories of Realtors who tell tales of becoming a Realtor due to a bad experience as a consumer. That somewhat influenced my decisions. I had a corporate sales and marketing career in international before becoming a Realtor. I wanted to sell something that I was passionate about.

Fast forward to today..........I know many Realtors who are top notch that I hold in extreme high regard for their knowledge, commitment, judgement and results. I also know, as you all do, a good handful that should not have RE licenses.

Because there are so many agents, and the barrier to entry so low, the odds of stumbling across a licensee who gives off less than a favorable impression is there. Sheer volume and numbers. Some newbies are very good, new isn’t always a negative. There are seasoned veterans who are not committed to work hard or have not kept pace with the changes in our industry, so years of experience alone is guarantee that you have found the ace.

I am disappointed by the negative rants that I hear. I have seen good agents leave this industry. It wasn’t because they weren't good or couldn't cut it. They chose to make a living in another line of work that did not infringe on their nights and weekends. They were sensitive to being the subject of belittlement and treatment as second class citizens. I know former Realtors who work in jobs today and claim they made the right decision by exiting because they work far less hours and have much greater respect. Rants that simply bash all Realtors do nothing to make the process of buying and selling property better. Those type of rants only validate the person behind them is an angry person, probably at the world. Constructive approaches to licensing requirements and continuing education is probably a step in the right direction of elevating the profession. A NAR focus on quality over quantity would also be a positive step.

There are probably a lot more satisfied customers out there who value Realtors than many of us realize. Those that are angry, justified or not, are likely to be far more vocal. To the public members who read this, please know that all hard working Realtors value and cherish your positive words about your personal experiences. Please do share! You really have no idea of how we treasure your stories.

I have met clients who became and remain my friends today. I have met some wonderful people as a result of being a Realtor. This includes other Realtors and clients. I have added to my circle of friends and attended more weddings, backyard BBQs, holiday parties and late night conversations about nothing and everything.. Despite the bad wraps, the inconsistencies, and the unpredictable hours, I find the rewards of being a Realtor worth it.

I do think that open lines of communication and better educated consumers are a step in the right direction for the public to find a path to competent Realtors. Trulia Voices is a step in that direction. Trulia is a terrific example of one way the pubic can see that we honor our profession and their needs. The public can determine the direction of conversations by simply posting the question of their interest. This is a great oppty for the public and Realtors. Other way that we try to make this evident is in our community contributions and our every day interactions with the public, clients or not. Unfortunately, that is not enough....otherwise the loom of negativity would not cast a shadow. So, better vehicles for consumer education gets my vote.

3 votes
Steve Ostrom, Agent, Roseville, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2007
Why ... because previous people that were involved with were not good listeners, didn't ask enough vital questions and they didn't humanize themselves. Being a REALTOR® for my husband is like being a psychologist on top of a negotiator and coordinator. If you don't listen you don't know what the needs are and it heads down a dangerous path of miscommunication and misunderstandings that can fester in to resentment and hostility. People need to feel comfortable with who you are and how you do things to continue on with business. With experience and exposure comes trust to outsiders. Involve sellers in the process and let them know what you are doing along the way to make sure the seller is on board. Show sellers the stats and okay my marketing style and Steve's presenting style so that we are on the same boat and there isn't a "dust-up" of why something was done and it wasn't okay with the seller.

Buyers, ask too many questions of them. Words and descriptors mean something different to everyone, lots of wasted hours of deciphering meaning can be wasted on showing and frustrating your buyers if you are not a certified mind reader. Our job is to ask the question to maximize the buyers time and figuring out what is the best solution for their functional and emotional needs in a home.

Last week we were in a restaurant and a gentleman found out what my husband and I did, no joke on dialogue, Mr. Slightly Angry: "Oh you all are the people that get old cars towed in our neighborhood and get people in trouble for tall lawns. That really chaps my hide (modification of language)." Me: "Well do you know for certain they did that and even if they did you are not just selling the house you are selling the area. People have eyes and if they do not like their surrounding environment ... they won't stay to look further. If that house being listed sells for a lower price, did you know that may in turn effect the pricing of your house down the street? That REALTOR® may have increased the perceived value of the home and possibly yours if you are considering selling anytime soon." Mr. Nice-Now: "Oh, I didn't think of it that way."

Listen to their needs, absorb important issues of theirs, suggest things that are in their best interest that may or may not be apparent to them, educate I on good decision making and preparation, involve them, relate situations to them that are understandable and applicable and keep the lines of communication open. That is how we honor others needs and many we know do too.
3 votes
Patti Pereyra, , Chicago, IL
Sun Sep 23, 2007
Wow, thanks for all the answers, fellow Realtors.

It is amazing to me that many of you chose this profession due to a bad experience with a previous agent. It's fairly ironic, considering that the crux of my question addressed the perception of many consumers that real estate agents are sharks and lazy, greedy 'used car salesmen'.

And then. Here you are saying that you chose to become a licensed Realtor BECAUSE you dealt with an incompetent self-serving agent!

Thank you again for sharing your stories. I hope you won't mind - I can't choose a "Best Answer" since the answers are so personal and unique to each person.

I would love for consumers to chime in on their bad AND good experiences with Realtors.
2 votes
Aileen-Manha…, , New York, NY
Sun Sep 23, 2007
I was tired of what I was doing for a living and thought that most of the real estate agents I met in relocating to NYC were... how do I say this politely? They weren't ethical, knowledgeable or acted in my husband's best interest. And I thought if those morons can do it, then my professionalism, analytical, mediation, and conflict-negotiating skills could be used for the benefit of buyers, sellers and renters. I wanted to help and if I can make a dime or two in the process, then great.
2 votes
J R, , New York, NY
Sat Sep 22, 2007
I became a realtor because I've always been interested in real estate. I also at one time bought a home from a FSBO, and pretty much got screwed. The FSBO lied about there being wood floors under the rugs (duh, yes just LOOK, a no brainer, but we were very young) and took many items that he shouldn't have, like some carpeting and light fixtures. We also overpaid. None of this would have happened if we'd had been represented by a realtor. Before I got my licensed I also vowed NEVER to buy from a FSBO again.
2 votes
Christian Gr…, , Fairhope, AL
Sat Sep 22, 2007
I became a Realtor because I love the smell of a new house under construction and I have 15 years as a interior designer. I have a 28 year real estate veteran for a was just a no-brainer. I love it! The money that comes or doesn't is just a side benefit of making people happy. I have sold everything from furniture to promotional items to European chocolates...this is the best career ever!!!
2 votes
J Lo, Home Buyer, California Glory, Brentwood, CA
Sat Sep 22, 2007
I for one knew some pretty shady folk - but in the tough times like today only the strong survive. We will come out of this with our heads held high and the best will be left standing... it's not a reality show - its reality.

I became a REALTOR because I enjoy the process. Just like any other job it has its ups and downs but I am here because it can be FUN! WE have to find the enthusiasm, WE have to be the professionals, WE have to inject LIFE into the transaction.

Be who you are - be real - be careful - but once you stop enjoying the process - it's time to start clocking in with the man.... (or woman)...
2 votes
Denise Stuart, Agent, San Jose, CA
Sun Sep 23, 2007
As a child my Father had Real Estate books sitting next to his Lazy Boy Recliner, I would see him reading from them often, he could never actually give up his job to take the chance, he was the provider of 7 children and my Mother, but you could tell the pasion he had for the idea. Well when he passed away and we went through the house his books were stashed away in a closet and of course i found them and thought "how sad my Father never was able to reach this dream, Over the next year my Brother sold the house in Santa Clara and Lake Tahoe, Ca. and i realized my brothers sell of the Lake Tahoe home was bought within a day by the Realtor who listed it, I know my brother had gotten taken, so when the money was divied up, my Family asked what I would do with my portion and I said "I know exactly what I am going to do with the money" I was going to follow my Fathers dream. Sure enough I love what I do! I am proud to say I found my dream job!
Denise Stuart
Coldwell Banker
1 vote
Paul Slaybau…, Agent, Scottsdale, AZ
Sun Sep 23, 2007
Patti, I became a Realtor through the sheer inexorable tug of family lineage. My father has been a Realtor in Scottsdale since 1974. I absolutely abhorred his job growing up. Phone calls at all hours, missing family functions to put out some fire or another, bad dreams about missed appointments ... I could not think of anything worse. Well, apparently my "Y" chromosome turned out to be shaped like an "R" because Real Estate got in my blood after graduating from college in 97. I hate being chained to a desk. I'm a softie, and love helping people. Problem solving and conflict resolution are right up my alley. I was intrigued with the ability to pick up and go whenever I wanted a vacation (how naive!). I knew that I had a built-in edge on the competition in having one of the most respected agents in Scottsdale as a mentor, and having the local knowledge of a native (somedays I feel like one of the last of the Mohicans with all of the transplanted residents we now have). As soon as I previewed my first property, I knew that this was going to be the only career for me.

Sadly, I concur that our industry is to blame for many of the negative perceptions that are held by the general public. Access into our profession is too easy. Training and management is often nonexistant for new agents. Licensing renewal requirements are too minimal. I would like to see higher fees for both licensing and renewal. The cost should not be prohibitive to someone who seeks to earn a living as a full-time Realtor, but it should dissuade the people who get their license "just in case" or for the sole purpose of selling a house and saving on fees. These "agents" do nothing to contribute to the profession and are a danger to the public. I would not mind seeing different tiers of licensing. I can't believe that the guy who works at Ace Hardware from 9-5, Monday-Friday, can hold the same license that I do as a full time professional. Jim is right that we need to come down hard on agents that operate illegally or unethically. I think the sheer numbers of our ranks have been prohibitive to effective policing of agent conduct. If the numbers are reduced, better policing will be possible. Everyone seems to think that more agents means more competition, and more competition always better serves the public's interest. I wholeheartedly disagree. There is such a thing as diminishing returns. While more competition does force downward pressure on fees, it also lends itself to greatly diminished professionalism. More agents have to operate outside of the margins to scrape by, and too many agents create problems through ignorance or lack of practice (how would they not mess something up if they only do one transaction a year?). We need to thin these skulkers from the herd before our industry is to improve total performance, and in turn, how we are perceived.
1 vote
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