The XBroker: Survey Says...Realtors Suck

Survey Says...Realtors Suck

The following post is simply one non-conformists opinion, albeit a relatively educated one...Its my hope that my words, cutting as they may come across, cause an epiphany for more than a few...

This entire post is based on The California Association of Realtors 2008 Home Seller Survey (released in July 2008, I just happened upon the PowerPoint presentation a few days ago) but the statistics are just as relevant today, if not more so...Granted this survey is but a snapshot of an industry, yet pictures are worth thousands of words...You can read the entire survey here.  (All statistical references in this post are derived from the aforementioned survey).

Public perception of the real estate professional and the greater industry is amongst the lowest of any on record.  Consumers are looking for an alternative to the 'traditional' Agent and they're defining what this alternative is, yet relatively very few professional are heeding this demand and actually providing a tangible solution.  This Survey demonstrates to me that 90% of Agents are not providing what the consumer wants...and it is ALL ABOUT THE CONSUMER.

Personally I know alot of fantastic real estate professionals.  Genuinely great people, passionate, always striving to better themselves, their clients, the industry they serve and represent...they're worth every penny they command...they dont suck...I'm just a sucker for a good title (no pun intended).  I could fill this page dropping names like Jay Thompson, Kris Berg, Missy Caulk, Bill Gasset and 30 others nobody has heard of as examples of who I consider to be the vanguard of where this industry should look to as ministers of positive change.  Unfortunately, they're in the minority and a few good apples don't ripen the bunch. 

Agent Perception:  I can Has Consumer!

Talk to most any real estate professional and they will tout their expertise, knowledge and marketing prowess as the main reason you should retain their services.  Most will maintain that commission rates (should) mean very little to the consumer and they're worth every penny. 


Consumer Reality: You Suck! 

According to the respondents:

Number One factor considered when choosing an Agent?  Lowest Commission. 

Last reason?  Most knowledgeable.

You'd best start putting your knowledge out there if you hope to attract a client...get a blogsite that rocks, start dropping neighborhood knowledge, get a killer IDX solution...substantiate your value!!  The days of being a prude with your listings and expertise until you had an executed contract are over.


I can find out more than you know. 

~70% of respondents polled on 'Information from The Internet vs Information from Agent' indicated that the Net provided information that was as useful, 'different' or more useful than an Agent.  I can only surmise that 'different' means information an agent couldn't or simply didn't provide.  In the Age of Information, lack thereof is akin to being useless.

The ~31% that said The Net provided less useful information than an Agent are part of a 50% declining trend over the past 5 years.


You're still (a) very necessary (evil?). 

~95% of respondent sellers still used an agent, which makes perfect sense.  I often state that: While technology won't replace a good real estate Agent, the Agent that properly utilizes technology will replace Agent that doesn't. 

Consider- 74% of 1st time respondent sellers considered not using an Agent, up 46% from 2007.  


You can't market your way out of a brown paper bag

Of the reasons given for using an Agent only 7% said it was for 'Better Marketing Exposure'.  Ummm, isn't this what an Agent's core value proposition is supposed to be, to market property?  Consumers clearly do not believe Agents can effectively market their property...yet online and offline marketing is the 1st and 3rd highest reason for choosing an Agent.  This is a huge disconnect and opportunity at the same time.

84% of respondent sellers are searching online and 96% Agents polled use print advertising. Helllllooo!?!  Can you say poor ROI, waste of money?  Newspapers and other print media are going out of business because less and less people read them.  Advertising in these dinosaurs is of almost no value going forward.  

Only 57% of agents use multiple photos or a virtual tour as part of an online home listing.  This just blows my mind.  I'd guess that 50% of the 57% that actually use multiple photos look (kinda) like these:


Proper Feng Shui can do wonders for a small space.


Extra long chain for convenient access to light. 


Sweet shower curtain stays with home!

Thanks to MLS Trash Can for the pictures.  Descriptions by me. 

Seriously, an agent who can't manage to market a property with quality photographs should have their license suspended on principle alone.


You're being perpetually judged. 

97% of respondents interviewed 3 or more Agents.  50% interviewed 6 or more Agents.  Consumers are getting more and more finicky about who they hire.  Agents better step up how they present themselves.  Better have an impressive resume and a killer suit = a slick engaging blogsite & robust IDX solution. 

Here's a scary thought (depending on who you are): 

Consumers are lurking on your blog, stalking your FaceBook page, following your Twitter stream, viewing your Flickr account, reading your answers on Trulia, Zillow & ActiveRain, evaluating your IDX, the quality of your multi-media marketing, processing how you engage comment threads and otherwise perpetually judging you under the cloak of anonymity.

How are you representing yourself in public and when you don't think anyone is looking?


The silver lining in this post could be that 'The Bar' is so low in a consumers eyes, those Agents willing to set aside their perceptions and confront reality are in a great position to capture some huge marketshare.  Take this information and use it to your advantage rather than deny its validity.

Many Agents are out there cleaning up despite this 'depressing' market...Find them, reach out to them, study their successes...I find the most successful people in life are more than willing to share their successes and help others get there too.  Reciprocity is still live and well...

To hear more, check out this interview with Tim Harris…

Comment balloon 319 commentsJeff Corbett • April 15 2009 08:41PM


any job well done is worth doing :)

Posted by Jackie Doornik, 626.253.0588 (Jackie Doornik / Southland Properties Real Estate Services) over 11 years ago

I'd love to say that I am shocked...  Most agents consider putting a property on the MLS with crappy photos and limited description... sans even a virtual tour. 

The industry is loaded with hacks that can't market their way out of a wet paper bag...

Posted by Lane Bailey, Realtor & Car Guy (Century 21 Results Realty) over 11 years ago

Wow some really eye opening remarks



Posted by Joe Jackson, Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert (Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty) over 11 years ago

I'd rather see crappy pics than NO pics. That always blows my mind. Often with very high end properties, too.

Posted by Candice A. Donofrio, 928-201-4BHC (4242) call/text (Next Wave RE Investments LLC Bullhead City AZ Commercial RE Broker) over 11 years ago

I smile. agents are taught that they are worth X amount.  the brokerages drum that inot their heads from day one. Agents are taught to use what I call "I am all that AND a bag of chips"  marketing.   As for property marketing and photos you know where I stand on that. agents tell me photographers are too expensive.  here the pros charge bout $80, a very small expense. They cut corners to make a buck.


Posted by Teresa Boardman (Boardman Realty) over 11 years ago

Let me add....well nothing!  Holy cow!  What a great, well thought, informative and researched post.  Kudos to you and I hope agents appreciate the post for what it is, a wake up call for some and a re assurance for others rather than an insult.

Posted by Anonymous over 11 years ago

I thought your Post was EXCELLENT.  Like with anything, you get what you pay for, and the Superior agents like me, will always reinvest money into themselves for training, and be on the cutting edge of technology.

Really the more we embrace change, the better things will be.   People want service that exceeds their expectations, and if you provide that, and do all the little things others are not so willing to do, you are already a step above the rest.


Posted by Katrina Madewell, Tampa FL Homes for sale | Tampa Bay - (813) 777-1196 (Charles Rutenberg Rlty- More than 5,000 agents(813) 777-1196) over 11 years ago

One of my favorite things about AR is learning something, always something new. I was never taught "the same old bag of tricks." Maybe what we've learned here is to stay genuine? Keep learning!

Posted by Dena Stevens Coriz, Putting The Real Into Realtor Since 2004 (Rocky Mountain Realty ) over 11 years ago

I found the comments about "lowest commission" being the highest consideration and "expertise" being the lowest consideration very telling.

I am a state licensed home inspector and have graduate degrees and am very experienced.  Yet, many times, I lose out to the newly licensed, $150.00, hand written report inspectors. I recommend ;icensed and insured contractors to fix issues, but the client regularly choose the lowest bidder, then want to sue me (even though I called out the problem) because the moron they hired to fix things did a bad job.

And don't even get me started about the listing agents who are doing duel agency and want to tear down my reports to the buyers.  Clear conflict of interest and the NAR should (and could) stop it tomorrow.

Bottom line>  Many times, our clients shoot themselves in the foot by being penny wise and pound foolish.

Hope this helps;


Posted by Will Decker over 11 years ago

Jeff - I LOVED this post. I think everything you say is true, and then some. When I got into the industry, I got into it thinking "I can do this BETTER." That's not to say that I am perfect, because things are always changing in this industry and in this market. Staying on top of what you do for you business, how you communicate with consumers, and integrating new technologies and methods into your business plan is essential, whether you're trying to capture the baby boomers or Gen Y. Well done.

Posted by Laura Rubinchuk Schwartz, Your Northern Virginia and D.C. Realtor (Keller Williams Realty) over 11 years ago

If anyone would like Jeffs personal cell phone give him...more 'personal' feedback...lemme know!



P.S. Nice leadership

Posted by Tim and Julie Harris (Tim & Julie Harris® Real Estate Coaching) over 11 years ago

Interesting stat about why people chose agents!  Lowest commisson!??  That is surprising.

Posted by Stuart Dobson ( over 11 years ago

Thanks for the post - great headline followed by better information!

I love the internet and all the social networking options - I love a studied customer/client

Loyalty - these days - tough unless it's a personal relationship

Posted by Laura over 11 years ago

Jeff, I am always amazed. Sad thing is we all know agents like this.  I am glad I am not one! 2009 is rocking for me! I have almost forgot we are in a down market! Of course all of this is because of AR!

Posted by Jo Olson, Retired - HOMEFRONT Realty @ LAKE Roosevelt (HOMEFRONT Realty) over 11 years ago

One of my favorite bloggers!  Great notes and I'm in the middle of redefining my online "attitude" as we speak.

I personally see a huge shift in the business.  Those who are "old school" will be slowly phased out and the powerhouse Internet dominaters are going to take a tons of leads and business into the "new age" of business.  Discount brokers went too far but an ala carte mindset with a strong Internet base is a happy medium.

I think the baby boomers are still going to pick up books in the grocery store but everyone else is looking online first, researching second and then picking up the phone.  You've got to capture those people while they are in the early stages.  They're not calling off of signs anymore here...


Posted by Erica Crowell (eRealty Inc.) over 11 years ago

Good article Jeff, but when it's all said and done there is a reason Realtors have to disclose when seller their own property. 

Posted by Robert Schott over 11 years ago

it amazes me that there are agents out there not providing pics or providing horrible pics.  it costs me $60 to have my listings professionally photographed and is worth every penny and more.

tina in virginia

Posted by Tina Merritt, Virginia Real Estate (Nest Realty) over 11 years ago

Of course, a survey of California consumers is bound to skew results at least a little bit.  After all, isn't it California that led the nation in mortgages people could not hope to repay?  One has to wonder about how faithfully their realtor representatives discharged their fiduciary responsibilities.  Perhaps some of the ill will toward the relatively few commission-at-all-costs agents is spilling over into the larger population of realtors... 

Posted by Larry Gavrich (HomeOnTheCourse LLC) over 11 years ago

Well put Jeff...lets not forget about service and basic etica to return calls from these agents.


Posted by Alberto Magallon (Great Properties International Realty) over 11 years ago

Unfortunately, the public isn't aware of the continuing education classes that are required of us, they don't care about the CNE, GRI, ePro, etc. classes that keep us informed and motivated to do a good job.  I was out showing homes one day for a partner who was in class working on a GRI designation, and the client wanted to know why my partner was in class, don't they already know everything? (said with a chuckle of sarcasim).  I informed the client of the amount of knowledge and expertise we put into our work.  They thought all we do is answer the phone...... open the door to the home......... and collect the commission. 

Posted by Kay Raber (Keller Williams Integrity First Realty) over 11 years ago

I agree with the majority of this. There is a definite difference between the Old" way od doing things and the "New" and those Realtors who don't change and adapt to our ever changing industry only serve to give a poor impression of the Full Time Professionals who actually treat Real Estate Practice as a PROFESSION!

Long Gone are the days of "if I keep what I do a mystery, then the consumer will think they need me"

Now is the time of "If I consult, demonstrate, inform and show the consumer what I do...then the consumer KNOWS they need me" 

Posted by Brian L. A. Wess, Voted "Best Realtor" 2006, 2008 & 2013 (Infinite Horizons Realty) over 11 years ago

In this market you'd better do something to receive positive attention for the properties you present to the all seeing public. Buyers and sellers alike expect quality and in the information age - can find it with a little effort.

Do the job right - earn respect for yourself and our profession.

Denise March, REALTOR

Broker Associate

Bosshardt Realty Services, Ocala, FL


Posted by A. Denise March over 11 years ago

Survey says. . .SOME Realtors suck, but not all.  I won't sit here at this computer and state that I have made everyone happy for the most part over the last 11 years in business; however, I do give 110% to all my clients and sincerely have their best interest at heart.  So if there is that .001% of Realtors out there, I would place myself out there.  As far as commission versus experience, I would say survey the next 100 people and see what response you get.  As I always say, experience isn't expensive, it's priceless.

My Warmest Regards in Florida,


Posted by Donna Mason over 11 years ago

The brutal truth! Bring the pain!!!

Posted by Sky Minor (Sky Minor Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Jeff, you make some great points here and I appreciate you sharing them!  It astounds me how so many agents--and many that get a great deal of business--don't market their clients's properties to the fullest extent and use the vast technology mediums that we have available--for pay or otherwise.  There are two things that sell a property--marketing and price.  The price is ultimately up to the seller.  The marketing is up to us as professionals and it better be very good!
One point I would like to bring up is that the number one reason a client should select a Realtor is negotiations experience.  I come across agents all day long that cannot market themselves out of a paper bag and cannot negotiate out of one either.  At the end of the day, it's about getting the best possible price for buyers and the highest possible price for sellers. 
Thank you, again!
Dawn Thomas

Posted by Dawn Thomas, Broker Associate - CRS, GRI, SRES (Intero Real Estate Services) over 11 years ago

It is true that the reputation of REALTORS is poor and almost anyone can get their license quickly.  Therefore it is imperative to get a referral for a good agent so you don't get stuck with a loser.  In our defense I must say, Where else can you find a person who works 24/7 for their clients and sometimes earns nothing at all for all their work?  How about when the client changes theirs mind about buying, or walks into an open house and works with another agent or uses one agent to show them property and then has another agent write their offer.  All time spent with clients has no guarantee of payment yet we gladly do it for our "Client's Sake"! 

REALTORS have always given away too much and need to command more respect for the knowledge and expertise they give away.  We work all week while you are at your "Real Job" and then nights and weekends to show you homes or show your listed home because you are off work and need us.  Hello... The computer has definitely made our jobs easier and we welcome it but it has not replaced the caring agent with the knowledge to get you what you want and protect you while doing it.

My favorite saying is that a REALTOR wakes up every morning unemployed!

Posted by Dawn over 11 years ago

Here's how the top agents market their properties...



Posted by Bradley Feiner (VHT) over 11 years ago

Great to see this hit here! I have written blogs trying to tell the industry they need to do more than what was done before. I have asked agents/brokers to list on my site to expand thier walls worldwide to show the banks they are marketing the houses better than the next person--blah blah blah and so on and on. I have offered from the day I joined activerain for free to ALL real estate pro's only to be shunned and told they don't have the time. Hmmm let's see they do not have the time to do the job they claim the be the best at doing? Now for over 2 years I have said to get more done on the internet because the days of the old style real estate is gone. I even did a radio show for this even an X stepbrother and X stepsister inlaw did not do this untill just lately. Now they are joining all the sites I told them about way back.

The real estate has changed for good it will never be like that again. Just my nickels worth.

Now agents my free classifieds are still waiting for you! Open Your Own Real Estate Store Today

Posted by Jon Varley ( over 11 years ago

Great Post.... Well said....Crappy photos do suck... And no photo is worse. Iam not suprised at the lowest commision part. LOL....

Posted by darci over 11 years ago
Well thought out post and very well written. There is the top 3% in every industry. Thanks for the post.
Posted by Matt freeman over 11 years ago

The prettiest pictures in the world won't sell an over priced listing. If you can't show value at the list price for the local market, you're toast!!! Newspaper advertising? Forget it! Big waste of money. Open house? waste of time! Price is everything and value sells. SHow value in your listing price and you'll have agents all over that listing before you know it.


Posted by Ray Logan, Realtor and Mortgage Loan Originator all in one! (RE/MAX Platinum) over 11 years ago

Great post Jeff... I find these 2 stats pretty impressive and sad!

84% of respondent sellers are searching online and 96% Agents polled use print advertising.

Only 57% of agents use multiple photos or a virtual tour as part of an online home listing.

Like you said "technology won't replace a good real estate Agent, the Agent that properly utilizes technology will replace Agent that doesn't" is a great point.... It just seems alot of agents are happy with the status quo.... Time will tell....

Posted by Greg Afarian (Virtual Media Realty & ZIPVO) over 11 years ago


I wish the respondents to the survey could walk a mile in our shoes.  CLICHE ALERT!

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) over 11 years ago

Consumers are becoming more savvy and are doing research on how to get their houses sold for more money on their own. I own a home staging business and have been in business a year and a half. I'm amazed that I still receive more phone calls from sellers wanting assistance with staging their homes than realtors contacting me on their clients behalf. If I were a real estate agent I would pay a stager $75.00 for a consultation any day of the week. It prevents the agent from being the heavy, allows them more time to do what they need to do as far as marketing the property, makes them appear more professional and they end up with happier clients that are more likely to refer them to their friends/family when their house sells more quickly and for more money. I am amazed sometimes that my phone doesn't ring off the hook when I look at some of the pics on MLS. Just my thoughts for whatever they are worth.....

Posted by Pamela Bosetti, Richmond VA Home Staging (Richmond Home Staging And Redesign Inc ) over 11 years ago

Words like "marketing" and "teams" are overblown in value. Anything more then the MLS and basic internet is likely wasted money. Yes, it may bring you both sides, but isn't that greed rather than "customer service"? Why should your seller care about your "ego marketing". Or the car you drive. Or your "Million Dollar Club" ad nauseum.

Try to establish value. If your are honest, it's your lifestyle you are protecting. Face it, this business is going to change. Forget the large "agent mills" and "body shops". Business expenses are going to have to be reduced. Offices don't have to have to house agents anymore. You can have better technolgy at home.

Look at the travel industry. Real estate may look like that soon.

The last empire building is being done now by the Kingmakers (REO Managers) getting kickbacks from a few agents that are fed REOs. They had better put their acorns away for the day that they can't feed off the banks and the empire falls. Then they will have to work with the agents they so mistreated in this market. Like putting REO listings on their website and holding open houses weeks before they put them in the MLS. Never seeing the properties themselves. All communication being done by E-mail. You kings and queens know who you are. We will remember you when you get "normal listings" in the next market. Enjoy your selfish world now.

No, 7%, 6% and even 5% may be a dream for you in the future. Consumers will wonder about flat fees when the middle class makes 10-15 bucks an hour.

Posted by Stan Sexton over 11 years ago

I stopped all my print ads over a year ago. I have to laugh to myself when I see all the ones that still waste all their advertising money on Homes Magazine ads or newspapers. 

Posted by Lizette Fitzpatrick, Lizette Realty, Lexington KY MLS - Kentucky Homes (Lizette Realty - Richmond KY) over 11 years ago

I have to agree with "Lane" the industry is full of hacks... My last experience with a Realtor when purchassing my last home in Naples, FL was a nightmare... I asked her to email a few pics of an option on a new home... and after two weeks!! I recieve instant polaroids in snail mail!!!

Another recent experience in Chicago area, I requested a list of properties from a Realtor with a few specific needs, i.e. Granite Countertops and 2 car garage... So she sends me a list of properties and tells me, "Oh, there is no option to search for Granite Countertops so just let me know if you want to look at any of these??? Ummm, isn't that why you recieve a commision? Research the properties!!

I also hear many people with the same opinion of Realtors lack of profesional ethics... How can you honestly tell a buyer that now is the time to buy when prices still havent bottomed... And lets face it, it's only the time to buy because you as a Realtor want a pay check!!

As another Realtor friend of mine once said "Realtors are people who have failed at everything else in life, so they become Realtors"

Most realtors will tell thier client ANYTHING to make a sale, and that is just ethically wrong.

Sorry if you don't like my opinion, but it is not just mine, but what many others are saying. And of course it doesn't apply to all Realtors.

Realtors, step up your game! Educate yourself or get out the business!


Posted by Delete this account Delete this account (Delete this over 11 years ago

Jeff:  I would guess that if any of the general public sees how some of our Rainers conduct themselves on some of the Members Only posts... that would add to their coming to that conclusion.  Most Active Rainers are great professional people... but there are some in here who would drag any group down.  Just my two cents.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago

Great post!  I totally agree with you on the print media.  I was employed for nearly 20 years in the printing industry.  While there we utilized the worldwide web before most people knew it existed.  Our plant shutdown launched my career in real estate nearly 14 years ago. My first and best money spent in real estate was for my real estate website.  My associates thought I was crazy!  My first year in real estate nearly 28% of my business came directly from the internet. Print media is a thing of the past.  I agree that some bad photos are better than no photos.  It drives me crazy to pull up a listing with no pictures other than the front of the property!  I am not insulted by the fact, I agree with it!

Posted by Dawn S. Kilby (Realty Executives Hickory, NC) over 11 years ago

The internet is changing the game.  We need to understand it embrace it and make it work for us.  Relationships are what last in this business, and we need to be out there building them everyday.

Posted by Gary Meek, (916) 995-9385 (NewVision Realty Group) over 11 years ago

GREAT BLOG! I just came from meeting with new clients & young ones at that. Amazing point, they found me on facebook & have been watching me. YOU are RIGHT on target with this whole thing. There view of who is who & doing what matches it all.

Posted by mindy over 11 years ago

Maybe this is true in California but could not be further from truth in Portland Oregon.  Independent Surveys show a high level of consumer satisfaction with Realtors.  Most work very hard for what they make off a transaction.  I looked through our multiple and for the most part found excellent photo's and professional representation including virtural tours and plenry of information on the properties.  If anything, it is hard to make a trashed reo or forecloure look good without an agent spending money up front.


I felt the author of this article has some AX to grind.

Posted by JUdy Martin over 11 years ago

Very well said.   It is amazing to me how many agents do not realize that what worked to sell a property in years past no longer works.  Real estate should always be all about the client and the value of the services we offer...if the client doesn't see a value and only sees a "service" they could have done themselves, they certainly won't feel "warm and fuzzy" about ANY real estate professional.

Posted by Kellie Fitzgerald (Kellie Fitzgerald - Chiricahua Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Great comments, not really all that surprising as far as commissions. We have to think like the consumer, What is in it for me? Everyone today is watching their dollars, so why shouldn't the real estate transaction be any different. The consumer is always measuring value & services rendered for dollars paid. Excellent Blog.

Posted by Steve Parker (Re/Max Advantage Realty Ltd. Brokerage) over 11 years ago

Good post, I am learning something new everyday but I quickly learned that Realtors are perceived as "villians'.  I try to leave my customers feeling as if they have worked with a hero :)

Posted by April Stephens, Broker/Realtor - Johnston & Wake County (RE/MAX One Realty) over 11 years ago

Yesterday I pulled up a listing that had been on the market 410 days...not a single picture.  I wonder if the seller even knows.  But then again, I probably would not have driven by it if I knew what it looked like. 

The other thing that amazes me is I showed over 25 properties in the last 2 days and I only had 8 agents ask for showing feedbacks.  One of them I am dying to tell the agent the feedback...only because my clients and I laughed so hard we were crying.  I have never seen anything like it before in my also only had 2 pictures and no interior shots.  If it had we probably would not have gone to see it at all.

I am a full time agent in a market area that had over 1500 members on our board in 2006 and now have 496 members (give or take a few) and I am hoping that this market will get rid of the old school agents that won't wake up and face the reality of the internet and networking. There are still a few out there and we all know a few, but they can't survive in this market working the business their way anymore.

Those of us that have realized that we all need each other to survive are swamped with business and like Jo Koss said, 2009 is rocking.

Be blessed!!

Posted by Lisa Hatfield over 11 years ago


You with broker experience and me with title (escrow) experience -- we have both probably seen the absolute and utter worst of the Realtor pool.  Honestly, I'm so jaded with the whole Realtor aspect of the real estate process that I'm really not sure I'll use one when I buy this time next year.

That said, I'm probably more educated about real estate than the average consumer; I know which documents need to be put on file, at least! LOL.  When I buy, if I choose to use an agent, it will have to be someone who not only comes highly recommended by someone or several someones I trust, but with me being of the "Plugged In" generation, if they don't show up as ACTUAL OMG PEOPLE online, I probably won't utilize them, either.

It's weird that the market is tending toward the tech side that we've all incorporated into our lives; the members of ActiveRain obviously see the value in marketing themselves as people or they wouldn't be members -- it's these kinds of people that buyers who are of my age group want to hire.   Blogging is like an advanced screening method. 

To tie it all together - I agree with your post here and I'm hardly surprised that the results are dismal at best.  The agent who uses the technology is the agent who gets the sale.  Bottom line.  Since they're really going to have to start catering to us twenty-somethings coming into the market during this recession, (and I hate to sound like a freaking salesperson here - ick! Salespeople cooties! Get 'em off!) now's really the time to buff up on the tools you've got and the technologies available to you as a Realtor.




Mary: As valuable as the experience of "old timers" may be, they're going the way of the donkey.  We have cars now.  Heck, we have bicycles now.  If they don't keep up with the ways that people connect in 2009, they're simply not going to connect with those people.   No connections = no leads.

Brian: Excellent points all around.  Applause!

Posted by Claire C. (ActiveRain Corporation) over 11 years ago

I can only hope that the consumer will cause the weeding out of agents who simply don't want to provide the service the consumer wants by not doing business with them...

Posted by Christianne O'Malley, Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno! (RE/MAX Realty Affiliates) over 11 years ago

Excellent info! I would like to wean my firm off of the newspaper, but in a small town, people still do read it. I get great feedback from people who notice our ad, so it stays for now...

Posted by Tim Bradley, Commercial Real Estate Expert in Jackson Hole, WY (Contour Investment Properties) over 11 years ago

Interesting survey.  I am more intrigued by the interest in how consumers chose the agent and the lower commission response.  The survey does not disclose whether the agent listed the property or SOLD the property for that low commission.  There is a difference between listing a property and selling a property, and that is what the commission objection should emphasize.  Most sellers that list for a low commission end up on the expired list.  There should be a second part to this question as to whether the agent was actually able to sell the property at the low commission or actually sell the property.

Posted by Paul Galiszewski over 11 years ago

Dude, People have a low opinion about Lawyers, mechanics, etc...  There are good Lawyers and great mechanics. I'm not too worried about what the general public thinks about Realtors because I'm one of the good ones. Don't post such agent hating rubbish, it's offensive. There's enough hate out there without you posting this. Get a clue.

Posted by Anne Noniemoose over 11 years ago

Jeff, I think your post is a total bunch of crap! You are a total quack! The sample was tainted! Get a life!





Ha, ha! Just kidding! Very informative! Great post!

Posted by Jonathan Bowen, Advice. Education. Guidance. (Hub Edge Realty) over 11 years ago

Awesome Article.  As a new agent I have found that to list a home for 6% is robbery of a clients equity.  I can for 1% spend about 6 hours getting everything ready and maybe not doing a virtual tour but taking highquality wide angle photos and get it posted on the MLS.  90% if not more buyers go to the internet and will find the house via the internet or a showing agent.  I hardly think that the amount of work that goes into a listing is near that of what can potentially go into a buyer.  I list for a total of 4% give 3 to the buyer and find it great.  however I dont have a large name broker taking 40% of my commission and telling me what i can and cannot list for.  A listing agent might say, well they have print ads in whatever magazines or direct mailers.  That is great but how many people are gonna just pick a house out call the listing agent look at it a nothing else comparable and buy it.  Probably has happened but not often.  The majority of the time they will eventually get with a buyers agent and any good buyers agent wanting to make a sale will show them everything available if they havent already found it themselves.  

do to the fact that maybe Realtors were not responsible for the problems that happened it is easy to see why they would get blamed.  I say they because I just started a year ago.  there were obviously plenty of Realtors out there who knew the homes they were selling shouldnt be going to the people that were buying them and sure they turned their head to make the buck.  I am not saying that was the standard but it did happen and it is easy to see why the general publics perception about realtors is down.  

Posted by RJ_Avery Avery (Avery Properties) over 11 years ago

I would have to agree with it all. I don't understand how, as a "Real Estate Agent" you can ask for a 6% listing when you don't take any pictures! Answer, "Well, the paint wasn't up to par or the room wasn't clean or they didn't have a chance to pick up the home". That's a bunch of CRAP!!!!!!!!!!! Yes we may have to drop down a little to get the listing but I don't agree with dropping down to, get this now 1.5%. How can an agent make any money, market the property the it should be done & make any money????

We are in a sales enviroment! If any agent has done any type of direct sales; You can take control of the situation & tell the people what needs to be done. They called you as a "Professional" to list their home. IF you were truly a "Professional" you should be able to tell the people what needs to be done to sell the property. Obviousley the way the market is we have to make adjustments in the listing price. Can they sell for this & be able to buy another property? What's the bottom dollar they can take? There are more questions like that but those are the questions that need to be addressed when taking a listing.

Agents that take a listing for a "TOTAL" 3%, just to get a listing need to get some more education on how to make money!

I have an investor that told me something that I wish every person understood. Of course I'm going to tell you what it was. What he said to me was this; "I had an Agent tell me one time, since I have been working with you & you have bought X amount of properties from me, I'm going to help you out. I'm only going to charge you 5% to list this property". He looked at me & said; "How is that helping me"? I really didn't have an answer but I'm glad he didn't wait long to answer his own question. He said; "That's not helping me at all. That's hurting me! I'm willing to pay a 6% commission to the agent that is listing my property because I want my property to be SHOWN"!!! "How is cutting off 1% helping me"? "If agents want to make money, then they are going to show the property with the larger commission."

I know there are certain reasons that an agent will list a property for less, I have one myself because the guy needs to get out of it without it going to short sale. Am I helping him by listing it for 5%? Do I feel like I'm helping him?

I could go on but I won't. It's not a perfect world or market but the demand for an agent that will take care of the customer/consumer should be the highest priority. If you say you will do something then do it!! Say what you will do & Do what you say...

Posted by Mike Cowan (TCI Group Lowry & Foster, Inc) over 11 years ago

Sea-Town represent!  :-) Your posting could not be more right on, but regardless of what the consumer thinks, realtors offer a tremendous value (most of us at least). I agree that people would love to have an alternative to the traditional agent, but isn't that what Redfin is? The "alternative"? I find it humorous that the MAJORITY of buyers and sellers still hire the "traditional agent" to represent them and not Redfin. Now why is that? :-)

Posted by Peter Mann over 11 years ago

Nothing like a survey to lead professionals astray. Maybe they hired the same survey group that concluded that Americans don't pay enough in taxes.

A la Carte approach? What's next? Home surgery? Maybe, "Hi! I'm Billy Mayes for sell"

It may sound harsh, but if someone is shopping for the lowest commission, they probably deserve whatever level of service they get. Case in point: I had a guy from my church send me an email after listing with a discount broker, asking me to bring him a buyer. No kidding. I sent him a very nice response, explaining that I sell homes professionally, and if he had come to me, he might not have lost three months time and three mortgage payments. I explained that I felt I could have advised him correctly, priced the home accurately, and sold it quickly. Pride goeth before the fall. He was afraid to ask for any insight, and now, he is sorry.

Also, ask  yourself: are the NAR commercials not the most lame, insulting, and dry things you have ever heard? After hearing/seeing one, do you want to "ask a Realtor?" Nope. And that is a part of the problem. We agents and brokers are the most self-hating group of folks with a national image I have ever seen, and we refuse to raise our standards or define what constitutes "professional service," and what is NOT.

It's as if we would rather look pretty than stand up for what we do, or drive out the pretenders who get to call themselves "Realtors." 

The best thing we could do? Keep ALL listings on the MLS ONLY. We sell information. When we stop controlling information, we may as well hire some Nigerians to open a real estate website for us, offering to give away a house "if you will just help us pay the fees."


"And that's a memo..."

Posted by Art Houston over 11 years ago

Those stats are shocking, yet also warmly reassuring. 

Posted by Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089, Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info (Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers) over 11 years ago

So, so true. I work in Miami, a hard hit real estate area, and I cannot fathom how some realtors still use the tools of the past and are not willing or able to adjust. The good news is that over 50,000 agents have left the industry in the past year (FL). I can only assume because of lack of business. The cleansing process is not over yet. Those, who use the tools consumers want, will perservere.

Posted by Manon Mohammady over 11 years ago

Great post...I have to say the low opinions are not surprising.  It's sad that few can spoil the pot for many.  I guess it's just like any other profession, a few bad cops....a few bad lawyers, etc...  we just have to be the best we can be for one client at a time.

Posted by Tina Allen (Exit Realty Tri-County) over 11 years ago

Sellers who choose agents for "Lowest Commission" are idiots. It seems to me that Jeff based the title of his blog on the second most important reason for sellers to chose Realtors, and skipped right passed the top most reason (73%) for sellers to choose an agent, that is, "Agents can sell the home for more."

This reason is consistent with NAR's survey I outline in my blog post, Price Fixing of a Different Kind?

Jeff also "forgot?" to look into the all important "price fixing theme" given by 30% of the sellers who believed that "Agents control most of the buyers."

Realtors are inflationary agents who work on sellers' behalf. By looking for the "Lowest Commission" the sellers are leaving upto 20% on the table even after paying 6% commission.

Sellers must realize that MLS is their best friend. If they sabotaged it by monkeying with Realtors' incentive to be in the business, then they will have to deal with the real free market of perpetual buyers' market. :)

Posted by Lee Ali (Las Americas Real Estate) over 11 years ago

I found the blog to be somewhat enlightening but not disturbing.  The simplest explanation is, this is all about the consumer's perception of value. It's true any Realtor can take a few pictures, fill out a few fill in the blank forms and post to the MLS. If that's your business model its likely consumers will see little or no value in what you offer. Building your value proposition starts with providing superior service with personal attention. Marketing should be compelling and state the benefits you provide not ads that state you're better than your competition without quantifiable facts to back your claims.

Michael Smith

CENTURY 21 Solutions Realty

Posted by Michael Smith over 11 years ago

I totally agree with your post Jeff. I have only been a realtor for one year but I have 30 years of successful sales background and if there is one thing I learned is that without customers you dont have a job so you better give the best customer service you can. That also carries into real estate and after dealing with realtors as a customer myself I swore  that I was going to be one that thought outside of the box and did things other didnt. Because of that, I consider myself successful in just one year. I am also a professional home stager and I stage all my listings for FREE when other agents hire a stager at a cost of up to $1500. What does it cost me to do this for my customers? Nothing...what do I gain? referrals! Im hoping to hit the $1,000,000 club this year.

Posted by Nan over 11 years ago

Wow!  Jeff, I am almost speechless.  That was an excelent post and you could not have been more right.  Things are changing and what people want in an agent as well.  You have to separate yourself in so many ways.  Thanks for the post.

Posted by Lawrence Bland (Lawrence Bland International) over 11 years ago

reciprocity is alive and well, it is called active rain. live long and prosper

Posted by Mike Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Mike Russell & Associates) over 11 years ago

While I think this survey definitely reflects a downturn in the perception of the Real Estate Agent in general, I also think that there is a correlation between two points on the survey:

1.  The reason for selling the home has changed significantly - more people are having problems meeting the mortgage payment

2.  People are dissatisfied with the length of time the home is on the market (hence lower price) 

Both of these seemed to be the main reasons for dissatisfaction and consequently both are reflective of market conditions and the economy in general.  This trickles down to the agent having to spend more time marketing properties, sellers having to lower the price to get the house sold - not necessarily a result of the agents marketing and the end result is an unhappy seller.  The reason is not the agent's in many cases but we are the ones who are responsible for them not being able to afford the mortgage which they probably shouldn't have had to begin with and of course, they followed all of our suggestions to have the home in tip top shape so that the marketing time is our fault too - not that the absorbtion rated has tripled in many cases.   I for one am not jumping on the band wagon and taking the blame for someone else not doing their job - I do mine so I have a clear conscience, agents who don't do a quality job should and will be out of business.  Liked the post!

Posted by Pat Moore over 11 years ago

Jeff I am glad that you view me as one of the Realtors that don't suck - LOL I guess I am not surprised by some of the survey results.  I can see the consumers side of their dissatisfaction because I have worked with plenty of less than competent agents. Looking at the survey, however, I can also see why consumers continue to make poor choices in picking a Realtor.

BTW - Beautiful pictures:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 11 years ago

I don't know the others "personally," but Missy Caulk deserves the honorable mention she received in this post. I couldn't help but read the article after seeing the title. Jeff, I especially liked the Feng Shui picture!  LOL


Shari Roberts-Osojnak, REAL ESTATE ONE                                                                              Chelsea, Dexter & Ann Arbor, MI

Posted by Shari over 11 years ago

Jeff, Such a well written and worthy post...You'd best start putting your knowledge out there if you hope to attract a client...get a blogsite that rocks


Posted by Margaret Rome Baltimore 410-530-2400, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 11 years ago

I enjoyed reading your piece. I agree on the low quality or no pictures. They SHOULD have their licensed revoked or have a large fine. They make their "Flea Market" listing approach make us all look bad.

Posted by Sheryl Moser over 11 years ago

Amazing that all 63 posts prior to this one, think the other agents are to blame.  But the reality is that a great majority of Realtors are poor marketers. There are so few niches that have been exploited nearly all 2.6 million Realtors are doing the same thing.... and not very well.




Posted by Brian over 11 years ago

Wow! Love the thoughtful feedback!!...I go off to play on Twitter for a minute and shablam!

I shall properly respond later, need food and drink first.

Posted by Jeff Corbett (BoomTown) over 11 years ago

Many good points. Although I think maybe one of the reasons that the consumers think Realtors suck, especially now, is that Realtors are telling people things they don't want to hear. A few years ago when we were telling people they had made a gazillion dollars in 6 months, they loved us. Now they have to actually clean up their house and work for any profit.

Real estate is changing, and those that evolve will survive. Thanks Jeff.

Posted by Linda Jandura, Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist (Raleigh Cary Realty) over 11 years ago

Great post, but I do have a bit of a bone to pick. If your seller refuses or is unable to actually clean his/her home, get rid of junk and excess furniture, etc., it's going to take a lot more than hiring a professional photographer to fix the problem.

I agree, terrible photos reflect badly on the agent as well as the seller...but what's a gal to do? Particularly if the home is a rental, in which case the tenants have even less incentive to clean up their act.

I've been fortunate to not have to deal with this particular issue, but several fellow agents have been in this situation with a seller and I honestly don't know what the answer is. Throwing money at it may not even solve the problem, as many sellers just don't see the necessity and/or think their home looks lovely as it is.

So...should an agent have his or her license suspended on principle, if the problem lies with the seller? And how do you convince sellers to "clean up their act," literally and figuratively?

Posted by Sonsie Conroy, Energetic, Enthusiastic, Knowledgeable Realtor (I serve buyers and sellers everywhere in San Luis Obispo County) over 11 years ago

I am not an agent.  Just a reader of AR posts, because I am in two affiliated industries.  One of them is running a Real Estate Appraisal Managment Company and the other is senior managing a Interent Paid Search Marketing company call Merchengines.   Not one person even mentioned the power of Search or even wbsite SEO.   My suspicions are that Realtors have few ideas of how powerful paid search is and the way it works. 

It all starts with somebody searching and somebody else making it easier for that searcher to find what they are looking for.  Search, particularly well executed paid search.  While Google is probably going to suffer a down quarter for 1st Q. 2009 - it took in in revenues $5.1 billion dollars in 4th Q 2008.   Search by almost every analysts estimates is growing still, and even in a down economy it suffers less than most other media channels.

Why is it then, that with people no doubt using search to connect them to the house (and realtor, one would hope) of their dreams, are realtors not actually spending money on both Paid Search to market their clients homes?  I know firsthand that getting what I call "Big Hat - No Cattle" Realtors to even spend $100 on paid search is a syssphisian feat.  

We started our Search Company in the Real Estate space, but quickly went onto to other verticals that embraced the power of paid search to offset that costly initial forray.  We have never looked back.   Maybe one day, Realtors will come to see that the horizontal white space with the letter "G" in their internet browser bar is the most powerful way to connect buyer and seller and is worth the investment.  I hope someday this changes.

Posted by Robert Ross over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff!
I found your summary of the survey interesting...and not very surprising.  I was more surprised by the comments...the ugly opinion of some of the members regarding Realtors and the huge generalizations. 
I am not a Realtor because I was a failure at everything else.  It was a very purposeful move on my part.  I had been a successful clothing buyer and family owned ski rack business manager.  My mother is a Realtor and 14 years ago I decided I wanted to enjoy my career like she did.

California Realtors did not cause the mortgage was the loans that were being offered to buyers.

Dual agency does not necessarily translate into a conflict of interest...anyone can tear down a home inspection...without being a dual agent.

Open houses, to the contrary, seem to be the up and coming way to pick up buyers...if you read many of the posts here on the Rain.

Realtors need way more that "basic internet".  I just revamped my website...the first tab?...Property Search...because if they find the property they want, easily, on my site, the odds are improved that they will use me when the time comes.

Actually, here in Sacramento, it IS the time to buy.  We only have 3.4 months of inventory, we are short on foreclosures, we have doubled our sales over last year.  We are experiencing multiple offers and if you want a foreclosure, you had better offer signifcantly over asking or you won't get it. So, I am not looking for a paycheck, I am trying to service my clients.

I agree that photos are paramount, we need to be more flexible with our commissions (remember, as house values sink, we get pay cuts and when they rise, we get raises), and you had better have an internet presence geared towards service to and information for the public.

Posted by Paula Swayne, Realtor-Land Park, East Sac & Curtis Park -Dunniga (Dunnigan, Realtors, Sacramento (916) 425-9715) over 11 years ago

Well from a home inspectors point of view most Agents do SUCK!  They try to manipulate the inspection, pick their favorite inspector (Billy Bob) pun intended, black ball a really good honest inspector, and the list goes on. 

It is really a crying shame, and guess who suffers?  The consumer!  Yep the unwary uneducated consumer will get screwed every time.  Now there are a few savvy consumers that are wising up to the fact that they need to do their own research, and choose a truly independent home inspector that is not in the Agents pocket. 

Folk’s honesty if the best policy, do not try to manipulate the game.  Keep it honest then the Realtor and the Inspector will both gain a good reputation plus they can sleep at night.


My two cents.



Posted by Larry over 11 years ago

Great article... terrific response to NAR survey results that most members have not read and/or ignored.

Posted by Richard Paille over 11 years ago

Well, it seems that it makes sense why they are so unhappy if they Most Often choose a Realtor based on the one that offered the lowest commission.  At a discounted rate, you get a "discount" on everything else- slower response time (If you have one client paying full price, and one paying 2% less, and they both called you at the same time, who would you call back first?), less marketing (you couldn't AFFORD to do the norm- it's not cost effective), and I could go on with each point.

I think the fact of the matter is, we need to focus on communication, hard work, and enthusiasm.  Some "free" advertising is the best way- and that's getting out there and networking.  Put the web address with the home on it and hand it out on the back of your business cards. 

There are things we can't control.  Location (um somebody's got to list em, and they're gonna have to be a competitive price to sell quick), price (notice how many sellers were upset they didn't get the amount they wanted and it took to long to sell?  Well, if they listened to the proper market analysis, they'd KNOW what would sell it quickly), and seasons.  (It's just a little more difficult in the winter and Christmas, period.)

SO!  If we're enthusiastic- truly they are the most important person of the day when they try to get in touch with you- by response, marketing, assistance, home staging, suggestion, referral, or plain just getting to know them (go MEET with them, get to know them, they have to TRUST you, sincerely.)  They will be much more likely to feel well informed, satisfied, and use you again.  Just do everything you can- and don't sell yourself or your service short by discounting your fees!  Regardless, it will be VERY difficult for you to "happily" give forth all your effort if you feel like you're being cheated.

Keep on, we're an intregal part in making the housing market and economy start turning again! 

Posted by Ann Marie Godbolt over 11 years ago

Hi Robert Ross!!

You hit the nail on the head! I to am not a Realtor but attempted to start a web design and internet marketing company geared to realtors... only to find out that on a whole they are absolutely clueless when it comes to the importance of Internet Marketing including organic ranking...

All they would say is... ohhh I dont have time to blog... I'm not paying for a Pay-Per-Click campaign...

Or I would sell them a Search Engine Optimized website, and then a month later were CRYING that they werent getting leads! LOL, DUH!!  You have to market your website!!! Surprise! That costs money...

Needless to say, Realtors are now the last niche we ever want to work with...

Posted by Delete this account Delete this account (Delete this over 11 years ago

Very provacative title, very "edgy" but according to the survey quoted (I hope you folks who commented actually READ the survey and didn't rely on the posters interpretation!) the consumer which the poster thinks needs help and defending won't even see this post as "Active Rain" isn't even mentioned as one of the sites a consumer would even consider during the home selling process! The poster is  entitled to his own interpretation and opinion of the survey outcome but the facts speak for themselves. A "Pre-sale" question shows the commission as the #1 deciding issue when interviewing an agent--it dosn't say it was THE which made them LIST! The "post-sale" question, "If SELLERS could change one thing about their recent sale?", getting MORE for their house is the biggest point getter while commission DOESN'T even register!! When the "experienced Seller" is asked if they'd use an agent again 99%!!!! say they would with the 1st time Seller stating 97%!! And no where does it state or lead one to belive we SUCK as far as the consumer is concerned. Our poster should go directly to bed with no escrows for a month!

  Using a 1 to 5 scale with 5  being the best, when asked the question: "Agent offered the BEST DEAL/Lowest Commission" this rated 4.3 Why does our poster ASSUME this mean LOWER COMMISSION!!?? Does he speak from experience on this one? ALL Sellers wish to sell for less! When I analyze my own market (because that is ALL that matters to MY CONSUMER) we find REO's and Short-Sales at 80% of ALL Sales! So just WHO is CAR talking to nowadays? IF it's a consumer selling as a "Short-Sale" you bet your booty they are concerned about "costs of sale" and getting enough for their home as they've got a lender breathing down their neck! But when's the last time you actually spoke to an Asset Manager! I can barely get mine to pick up the phone and if you're NOT doing REO's as a listing agent you'll NEVER get their number so how CAR even professes to be speaking to the REAL Sellers of California property calls into question the validity of the whole survey.

  But hey, he did have a real sexy, hot, provacative title, "Realtors Suck!". Yes, he does!

Posted by Michael Kelly, CDPE,CIPS,CRS,SRES (The Kelly-Norman Team Keller Williams RE) over 11 years ago

Spot on Jeff.

With regard to the pictures - a constant source of frustration and amazement to me - the California Agency Disclosure states that the Seller's Agent has the following obligation: "Diligent exercise of reasonable skill and care in the performance of the agent's duties."  When one of these duties includes marketing the property and the agent fails to include photos, or puts photos of a toilet in a listing - I view this as a breech in that fiduciary obligation to that client.  I frequently talk about my commitment to professional photography.

As for the way we are viewed - as my local colleagues continue to market by bragging about a sold listing irrelevant to the neighborhood, or the tag line 'Experience, Integrity, and Knowlegde' or some such thing, I'm reminded of something I heard marketing expert Jennifer Cummings say in a seminar.  She said you are way off course if you are putting out marketing material that makes the consumer think 'well I should hope so'.  Touting your knowledge is clearly a 'well I should hope so' moment.

We have become an industry of narcissists with our photo plastered everywhere and talking about our integrity.  It's not surprising that the consumer is rolling their eyes and looking for an alternative.

Posted by Linsey Ehle (M Realty) over 11 years ago

Jeff~   Very nice post.  Thank you for a well written blog that should open our eyes about the realities of providing what the consumer really wants. 

The statistics are not surprising, but are a great reminder to all professional Realtors that now is definitely not the time to take their profession lightly.  It is, however the perfect time to listen to the consumer, be knowledgeable, and make our presence known using the technology we all have access to. 

It is very true that today's clients are learning from all that is available to them on-line.  They can and will sell by owner if a Realtor doesn't stand out enough in their minds to warrant a commission.  We are worth every penny when we make the process one the client will perceive as valuable based on our abilities to provide quality, professional, honest real estate services that allow the client to experience a less stressful, more enjoyable real estate transaction.  It is vital that we embrace the newest trends in marketing ourselves and our services as well as utilize every possible means to showcase our client's homes to the broadest audience possible.

I have had many potential clients comment that they found me on my various networking sites.  I am thankful for the opportunity AR has given us all to voice our opinions, network with other great industry leaders and meet new clients along the way.

Posted by Gina Bendel (Realty Associates) over 11 years ago

Jeff, if not for what I have learned here about internet marketing here on AR, I would be one of those backward ones.  Unless I learned it on Zillow or something.  Joke.  Great post, the numbers surprised me, but so many are complaining about their clients expecting so much from them - they better start giving more service to those clients.

Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff,

Right to the point... Thanks God, this market got a lot of agents to hang their license has inactive due to the fees that came due.  The fact is they jumped in the wagon with no business plan just to make a quick $$$ made us all look like "use car sales person".  I am a shame to see how some agents have abosulutely no ethics nor integrity.  I wonder how they get and retain clients.  You look at their listings and they are doing the least to receive the most.

In Arizona everybody is a short sale expert with no experience... it is a joke... they make their own rules as it pleases them.

Enough with that, Jeff, that is a great blog and thank you for posting.

Carmelle Bernier

West USA Realty, Scottsdale, Arizona

Posted by Carmelle Bernier over 11 years ago

Personally... I think pages 23, 24, and 25 of the survey were even more enlightening..

Posted by Paul Francis, Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes (Francis Group Real Estate) over 11 years ago

@ Claire:  As an "old timer"  I really take offense at your above comment to Mary.  You really should have listened to your MOTHER when she tried to teach you about manners.  Clean it up, will ya please !  Please try and show some respect.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) over 11 years ago

My clients love me... I find this post rediculous.. I feel a very small percentage of agents fit the bad profile...

Posted by Jack McSweeney (Redondo Beach REMAX expert) over 11 years ago

I think there is a perception that we are some how making more money than most of us do.  If people do not like an over paid agent (said with sarcasm) they ought to try one that is not making it in this business.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Very Interesting post, but limited to a small survey of CA residents, so that is not a very accurate accounting imho. 

I do agree that we need to raise the Bar though. It is too easy to pass a real estate test and voila! Be in charge of peoples most expensive assets and have no clue what you are doing.  Experience and training DO make a difference.

I belong to a group of agents who believe that one size does not fit all, you don't have to necessarily charge by commission and claim you are the best agent in the world, best negotiator, best marketer, etc.  The consumer only cares about WHAT IS BEST FOR THEM. PERIOD.

They like choices, options and education.  ACRE (Accredited Consultants in Real Estate) gives them that power.  NO need to run ads in the paper, open houses, flyers, don't want to pay for that which doesn't work? Then don't.  Its all about educating the consumer as to what we do, finding out what they want to accomplish, and then laying out a plan to get them what they want and getting paid for our expertise.

If you would like to know more about this new way of helping people buy or sell real estate visit   Many of the AR group already know about this, and have joined them in order to be more transparent about how we work, and get respect for what we do, charge only for what really needs to be done and when it is all said and done, maybe the commission route is best for the client because they don't want to risk any up front fees, but then again if they are educated about the market and can pick what they feel is most important to them with unbiased imput from a professional Realtor, at least it is their choice.

Mollie Wasserman, Founder of ACRE says it best and sellers and buyers should take heed:
"Despite advertising claims to the contrary, the internet is NOT an experienced Real Estate Professional. It cannot consult, counsel, advise, have knowledge of local laws and market conditions, make judgments, "own" the result, or most importantly, understand your individual goals and needs and care about you as a Client.  Furthermore, data by itself can be very misleading. To obtain an accurate interpretation of any information you are receiving online, you should consult an experienced professional Realtor."

As Mollie says, the internet is wonderful at providing information, what it is NOT good at is negotiating in your best interest, putting clauses in a contract to protect your best interest, knowing local market conditions and he law, advocating for you, and whether you have pictures or not it doesn't matter if the price isn't yes, some Realtors may suck, (apparently all of them in CA according to this post, lol) but I just got back from a Dentist appointment today and I think Dentists suck!  Why is it they always wait til their hand is crammed down your mouth to ask a question??  Is that a part of graduating from  Dental School? 

  I also think some Doctors Suck! I had a bad back for a year and a half and was given pain pills, PT, shots, cat scans, and finally decided to educate myself on my problem so I went to WebMD.  Lots of great info, but I couldn't really interpret it.  What I did do is make a Dr. appt and ask a lot of questions, and finally demanded an MRI and figured out I needed surgery. So does that mean ALL Doctors suck?  No... but in every industry there are the elite and then there are, well, those who suck. 

It is all about being informed and getting someone who will listen to you and advocate for you. So, for all you Suckers out there, check out and see if you can pass the sucker test ;-)   I can get you a special discount for all you poor CA agents.  Why is it that CA always gets picked on the most?  I think FL is #2 on that list, but we all need to be in charge of our own destiny. I disagree with  the statement made that the seller is in charge of the price and the agent in charge of marketing.  I am in charge of what I spend my time and effort on.  If they want an unrealistic price, I just say thanks, but I'd rather go have a tooth pulled ;- 

Now if EVERY agent would be professional enough to walk away when they are in this situation, we'd all be viewed as more professional.  I interview people for my services, I don't let them interview ME.  If they are educated about the market, realistic, motivated and priced right, then we have a win-win situation.



Posted by Paula Bean over 11 years ago

"Number One factor considered when choosing an Agent?  Lowest Commission."? Then why the heck are all the discount brokerages out of business? You pay for what you get. You want top notch service? You pay for it. I don't see any other industry butchered the way Realtors are as far as the price of conducting business. It's a crying shame. I have no problem defending my commissions and yes I am worth it and yes my sellers are happy :)

Posted by Stacy over 11 years ago

It is exciting to read all the great responses!  Most of us work very hard to keep alive in this sometimes brutal business.  Our MLS recently passed this rule: 

Participant shall submit at least one (1) photograph, rendering, or drawing on new construction properties and at least three (3) different photographs, renderings, or drawings on resale properties to a new Residential, Multi-Family, Commercial Improved, or Rental listing within seven (7) days of entering the listing into the Service. The required photographs, renderings, or drawings must be an actual representation of the property.

We can now breathe a sigh of relief that finally all agents will have to post photos!  Note they gave them 7 days to do it!! It seems to be true that that most people  use the first agent they talk with.

Posted by Anonymous over 11 years ago

Can't say I'm surprised.  Most sellers knew what their houses were worth at the peak of the market and are trying to salvage profit by cutting commissions, or going FSBO. They perceive themselves as losing money even if they  bought the house 20 years ago. Those that bought recently may have no equity at all. The market is what it is but agents that can offer good sales techniques may have a chance to list FSBO's after the sellers realise what a "buyer's market" means.

A more internet savvy buyer is fine by me. With the large inventory available it means they have often pinpointed the area they want and saves me spending hours driving buyers around while answering hundreds of questions. This is a big city. By the time I meet them, they require the local knowledge that the net can't provide and somebody to shortlist the properties that meet their requirements to save them time. They are educated and don't need a sales pitch, just somebody with knowledge of the subdivisions and an idea of what would be a  better long term investment.

And THOSE agents? Drive me nuts too! Had a couple recently that were very frustrated that their house hadn't sold and asked me to take a look at it. I offered to look at the photos on the MLS - guess what?  One outside photo. At the wife's request I went to see the property, warning her that I spoke the truth and may be giving them work to do. It was lovely inside, clean, well presented and much nicer than the interior shots of other houses for sale in her community. No sales pitch on the MLS. No open houses. The agent had told them that only nosey neighbours would come. Can't say I've ever thought that keeping something you want to sell a secret was a good sales technique. Let the neighbours come, the house was nice enough that they would tell their friends/ family/ work colleagues about it.

Probably they're the same agents that bring buyers to my listings and tell them to submit offers 50% below the (already adjusted) market price, often to the embarrassment of their clients. Are they the same ones that put in over-inflated offers in the seller's market?

Fortunately there are enough good agents around for me to keep the faith and to learn from. Thanks Active Rain!!




Posted by Janet Riley (Coldwell Banker Residential real Estate) over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff,

Well, I heard about 6 months ago that REALTORS now rank below used car salesman in the public's eye. (I wonder what everyone has against used car salesmen? LOL!) The best thing about this downturn in the market is folks that never should have been given a license to begin with are dropping like flies. The days of easy money are well behind us.

Your post mentions several times utilizing strategies that lend themselves particularly well to social media. Social media is causing everything to become so much more transparent. It well behooves us as real estate professionals to embrace that mindset and technology.

But if you can't even get a decent picture...

Thanks, Jeff, for a terrific post!

I'd like to share a super ninja secret on how to reach thousands of prospects in seconds using Facebook. Simply go to now!

Posted by Mary over 11 years ago

Page 54 is also interesting with the decline of prices that took place. I think somebody who sold in April of 2008 might be a little happy in comparing it to what they could sell for in April of 2009.


Posted by Paul Francis, Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes (Francis Group Real Estate) over 11 years ago
90 plus percent interviewed 3 or more agents? 50 plus 6? Apparently everyone of these respondents had a compelling (and possibly very valid) reason not to work with their preious agent. Wonder if that past experience (and the 20 to 50 percent value declines in the CA market) might distort the consumer perception. Agents who build their business on relationships and repeat business likely have less of a sucky perception. Agents who only go after new business are more apt to be received by consumer as mercenaries.
Posted by Ben COS over 11 years ago

This was a great post that I intend to share with all of the agents in our office.  it is always an uphill climb to fight the perception of the value of a real estate agent.  I just want to go on record that I am proud to work with the best and brightest REALTORS in the city of Seattle. 



Posted by Linda Aaron over 11 years ago

In my market I am astonished at how many pictures I see in which you can still see the side view mirror of the car the agent is still sitting in, or the reflection of the agent taking the picture in a mirror, or dark pictures from agents that have no idea how to adjust the shutter speed of their own camera.

My listing appointment today was about two and a half hours long. About an hour and a half of pictures and virtual tours, the remianing time was used discussing my marketing plan, the concerns of the seller, measurements and floor plan, what they expect of me as their agent, and the amenities of the home. My point is that there are many statistics out there, but accroding to NAR 87% of Buyers start on the Internet before contacting an agent. So take your time and get it done right the first time, if for no other reason but to avoid being displayed on the "MLS Trash Can".

I admit that the only reason I read this article is because of the adverse reaction I had to the title...but I understand what you are trying to get accross. This field needs to be treated with the respect that it was built on...not the respect it has been given by those who have some time to kill to stick a sign in the yard.

There is certainly something to say about "New Wave's" I listed a $140,000 property, a couple weeks ago I closed on a $22,000 property. You take the pictures you can or no pictures at all. When the next house is a click away you take your chances.

Posted by Erik Armstrong over 11 years ago

@Michael- I hope everyone reads the survey as well...which is why I linked to it.  Was shutting down for the day but your comment spoke to me...

"the consumer which the poster thinks needs help and defending won't even see this post as "Active Rain" isn't even mentioned as one of the sites a consumer would even consider during the home selling process!"

Surveys typically ask questions with set multiple choice answers.  AR didnt happen to be one of those choices (neither was Trulia, Google, or any of the major brand franchises).  

"If SELLERS could change one thing about their recent sale?", getting MORE for their house is the biggest point getter while commission DOESN'T even register!"

I agree, at the end of the day, the biggest gripe consumers have is they didnt get the price they wanted...commissions and everything else tends to become very secondary to getting less than what was perceived.  So, who set those price expectations? 

When the "experienced Seller" is asked if they'd use an agent again 99%!!!! say they would with the 1st time Seller stating 97%!!

Agents are and will remain central to the sales process...I wouldn't sell a home w/o an Agent, however the Agent I choose would have a very refined set of skills that were personally important to me.  

And no where does it state or lead one to belive we SUCK as far as the consumer is concerned. Our poster should go directly to bed with no escrows for a month!"

I highly doubt a state Realtor association would ask a consumer if their contingency 'sucked'.  Escrows?  Thats another subject for another time. 

"Agent offered the BEST DEAL/Lowest Commission" this rated 4.3 Why does our poster ASSUME this mean LOWER COMMISSION!!??

Your looking at the wrong slide.  I was referring to page 36. 

"ALL Sellers wish to sell for less!"

Really?  Fascinating trend.

"so how CAR even professes to be speaking to the REAL Sellers of California property calls into question the validity of the whole survey."

You'll have to take that up with CAR...the association that awards you the designational alphabet soup after your name and you pay dues to. 


Again, thank you everyone for taking the time to respond so thoughtfully...not ignoring anyone else, there are some great comments to respond to...ill be back in the morning.




Posted by Jeff Corbett (BoomTown) over 11 years ago

Wow this post got a lot of people blogging.  Even though the vote was for the lowest commission from what the survey said... what would those people actually do rather than say?  I find people are always proud to "say" they got such a great deal on this and that,  It seems as though the general public feels that if they don't haggle and feel like they "stole" whatever it is that they bought, then society somehow views them as weak, or senseless.  Every time you open a paper or an email, there is some AMAZING deal that you just cannot afford to miss.  This is actually a troubling trend.  We are all believing we got some great deal, when in fact we probably still overpaid for the item if we really know what the cost to make the item cost.

The other item I read that I agree with is that if we do follow the Buffini idea and stay connected to our database, we should have the right relationship to generate business from people we already know.  There seems to be a thought that this is "using" people, but when you truly believe you offer the best client care and service, and you really believe if the client chooses someone else, then you will ooze this confidence to the clients, and they will know you are there for them, and they need to use you and refer you.  People need to know how much you care before they care how much you know.  And let's not forget, they don't care how great we are, only how great we will be for them.  It is not that they are not interested, but that you did not interest them.



Posted by Jim Swanson (Windermere Commencement Associates) over 11 years ago


It is California. Of course that want the lowest rate. They're bleeding money in California, because they don't know how to say NO! Henceforth, they have tax hell. As far as knowledge, well what can I say. Perhaps they think they know it all?


Posted by Charles Kraus over 11 years ago

We all have probably heard this phrase attributed to Benjamin Disraeli: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics."

The first line in the survey Jeff refers to says: “300 telephone surveys in 2003 and 2004. The 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 data have 600 surveys”. All together they surveyed 900 people in 6 years. Is this a good market representation? How many houses do you think were sold in California in six years? I don’t know, I am not a realtor, I am remodeling contractor, but I suspect that the number of houses sold in California from 2003 to 2008 is well over a million. This means that we are talking about 0.0009 of 1% or less. I don’t think you can conclude anything from this data.

Now, I do agree with many points Jeff made. Printed advertising is dying, web is much more powerful is one of them. I don’t make any purchase without researching it on the web. However, I am not sure that “low commissions” is one of the main reasons people select a realtor. It may be different in real estate, but in my business, I would not want to be selected because my price is the lowest. People who select based on price rarely give referrals (just my observation) and if they do, they usually refer you as “the cheapest guy”. This is not the way I want to be referred.

However, price consideration is a major factor now days. The buying behavior is changing and we all need to address it. Read this article from Wharton - The Shopper of Tomorrow: Trading Down Great post Jeff!


Posted by Alex Shekhtman, Design Build Remodeling, Washington DC, Bethesda, Chevy Chase (A&A Design Build Remodeling, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Great post with excellent information. Thanks for sharing your research with us.

Posted by Alice & Jim -- Team Hayes Realtors, Double the Service - Double the Care! (Loveless Realty) over 11 years ago

Love it!  Goes to show "money talks"

Posted by Marty Woomer (Windermere Real Estate/WSI) over 11 years ago

I want to pass this on to other agents in my company..............

Posted by Duane Hosek (Coldwell Banker - Lewis-Kirkeby-Hall) over 11 years ago

I have been saying for many years that "we need to raise the bar" of our profession.  This survey only PROVES that as an industry we need to figure out a way to have higher entry standards, higher sustaining standards, and create a higher level of service for the consumer.  I know this is not a popular opinion...but it is my belief.

Diane Beck, Broker

Missoula, MT

Posted by Diane Beck (Windemere Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Excellent post! There's gold in your words for those who are willing to look for it. Pointing out the advertising media disconnect in the way you did "Helllllooo!?! "...made me grin from ear to ear. You could have been sitting right beside me.  - Tana

Posted by Tana Plewes, CEO, Discovery Centre for Entrepreneurship ( over 11 years ago

Responding to feedback with continual improvement in your systems and marketing is our job.  Good enough is not good enough.  What is the best?  You are selling what for many is the largest investment they will ever make, and they depend on you to apply incredible creative talent and marketing skills to set apart their home above the competition.  Is the marketing material you create for your listings exciting or run of the mill?  What will compel a buyer to jump at the chance to see your listings?  Do agents like doing business with you?  If you want to be your client's Realtor for life you need to be a professional all the way every day.       

Posted by Keith Mathison over 11 years ago

So, so true. I work Miami, a hard hit real estate area and it astounds me how many realtors still use yesterday's methods in today's world. The good news is that over 50.000 agents in FL have left the industrie the past 12 months and I assume there will be more leaving the field of real estate. Those how adjust to today's market and to their customer's expectations will perservere.

Posted by Manon Mohammady over 11 years ago


In 2007 some sellers used their previews transaction real estate agent to list their property, but there is a reduction in 2008 and in 2008 sellers used agents from the internet. In 2007 and 2008 lowering the commission was increased.  In conclusion Sellers were satisfied when agents lower their commission and when they got the best price for their home. Great post! Thank you for sharing

Posted by Mayra Espinosa Realtor San Mateo Pacifica Homes, Pacifica -San Mateo,CA Real Estate agent, Buy,sell (Mayra Espinosa Broker- Realtor| Call 650-996-8961) over 11 years ago

Hello...knock...knock is anybody home?  We are in an information age.  If your clients are not all over the web...their dead.  Super post!  Do your research people.    Saturation and absorption rates are through the roof in many American cities.  Not only do you have to make sure that your client's are properly marketed but most important...they are positioned properly.  Advocate...educate and teach your clients what really makes this business tick in the current market conditions we face.  An educated client is a client that SELLS THEIR HOME!  This is no longer a practice run!

Posted by Andy Decker over 11 years ago

Great post. Teaching statistics. First, I was surprised with falling number of people who would use the same agent again. The seconf thought was that we the Realtors(R) are not as important for sellers as the price and time of sale is. Sellers are confused and Real Estate agents did not do a lot to eliminate this confusion.

19 % of sellers interviewed 8 or 9 agents before chosing the right one. And yet just 57 % of agents use multiple photos?!!


Posted by Svetlana Stolyarova, Local-n-Global Realty, Broker 216-548-4663 (Local-n-Global Realty, Cleveland and International Real Estate Solution) over 11 years ago are right onwith the exception of the demie of print media. You should kow that print still drives the internet. if an agent thinks that just because they have a great website they're going to be found at the top of seach engines, then they're sadly mistaken (unless they have a ton of money and time on their hands). This is why so many fortune 500 companies still use print media to drive traffic to their website. Why do you think you get so many catelogues in the mail each month? Becuase they've already spent miions in research to know that consumers like the connection they feel holding a physical magazine to look at. They still believe what it shows in print over what is sid online. Their next step is normally to go online to find more information...or to order. Local targeted niche magazine such as real estate magazines still make sense to use, and branding/name recogition is a major part of print media.

The olld saying "Out of sight, out of mind" holds true in your local market. Aain, major corporations spend a lot of money to stay in the mids of consumers. What do you first think of when I say "Geico"? about "Afflack"?...and which soup comes to mind when your  walking down the soup re probably saying to yourself "Mmm...mmm...Good" right now! Agents don't have to spend millions to be known nationwide, but print media will keep their name out there in their local market.

You also left out the part of why agents MUST have a professional photo taken at least every 2 years. I can't TELL you how may crappy photos are published both online and off. You wouldn't go out to a listing presentation with a grubby shirt would you? Then why would someone post such a crappy photo of themselves to the world knowing that this may be the only perception consumers have of them? It's har dot believe how little common sense some agents posess.

For the most part, it's refreshing to finally hear somoeone tell it like it is. Way to go!

Posted by Jim Sedgwick, Bucks County, PA over 11 years ago

Actually a pretty good post. I agree with a lot of what was posted as well as many of the responses. Fortunately my wife and I are not viewed as one of the "bad " agents. We have been in business for a combined 56 years. And we may be part of the "old timers group" spoken of who are not up to speed with technology.....we actually are doing pretty well in the Tech dept.

We do tend to get a lot of repeat clients and their families. And we don't have to worry about running into one in the mall and trying to hide. Heck, some of them invite us to their kids birthdays, graduations (since we knew them as babies) and even to a wedding in India. I guess we tend to pamper our clients and seem to make friends with them , one generation after the other.

I also hate it when there are no photos ....especially when it is a vacation home on a lake about 75 miles from town. Yes we do cover a large area here in West Michigan. The Realtor will make comments on the listing about the great spot on the lake, the totally redone kitchen, the amazing views of the lake etc....nary a photo. When you get to some of them when showing to a client, you wonder if you have the correct property. Doesn't look at all like it was described.

Then there are the Realtors who haven't the foggiest idea of how to take a picture, so under exposed and dark, all you can see is a window shining through the darkness. Don't some of them know a wide angle lens is a better buy than a twenty times zoom. I really want to see the entire kitchen , not just one of the appliances.

And for those who don't do photos....someone please tell them "DIGITAL FILM AIN'T ALL THAT EXPENSIVE"... :>)   


We have had a few good comments from people who said it was really helpful when wondering if their stuff would fit the rooms.... 

Hope there are a lot of non Realtors reading these comments....just so they may see that not all of us are are in the bad guy group. And that many of us feel the same as they do when being short changed during a transaction.

And we don't work for free, and are not the least expensive.....I will not be shopping for the cheapest doctor when I need a heart operation, I will want the one who has the best results. Maybe that doc isn't the one who does the most operations, just the one who most of his patients live. WOW, I saved a thousand dollars, but I died on the operating table will not be on my tomb stone !!!

Larry Mennetti  Grand Rapids, Michigan Five Star Real Estate

Posted by Larry Mennetti over 11 years ago

sorry for so many spelling errors...too late at night, too fast on the keyboard, and no spell checker! Please don't dismiss my post due to poor spelling...

Posted by Jim Sedgwick over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff,

Great post! Seriously, it drives me crazy when agents don't post pictures or post horrible ones! You'd think that would be one of the first qualifying questions when interviewing your agent! I guess some people will always learn the hard way, and wonder why their home hasn't sold!



Posted by Bethany Poole, Bella Staging & Design SLC, Utah (Ski Utah Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Why do people think ActiveRain is the one they're searching for?  It's the posts we write and the topic we gear our posts for.  okay...had to add those two...maybe three or four cents. :)

One thing is for certain...the more someone says they won't use an agent...the more I start to wonder why they wouldn't want the best representation.... if they come highly recommended...and see their tech qualities all over the internet....not some book reading material only....words and info from the ..... individual. Yeah..I like my pictures... they do the seller justice...they help my relo clients see what paradise and buying in paradise is all about :)

Now...Jeff....I dare you to answer each and every one...there are some great comments, input etc here....'s the time thing huh?  lol     

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 11 years ago

"Consumers are lurking on your blog, stalking your FaceBook page, following your Twitter stream, viewing your Flickr account, reading your answers on Trulia, Zillow & ActiveRain"

Ut-oh...I said what at 3am on facebook?

Posted by Damon Botticelli, Realtor - Las Vegas Real Estate (Silver State Realty & Investments) over 11 years ago

I just wanted to say I really enjoyed reading your post. I know that's sounds cliche, but it was very informative, and an eye opener for some.  Post well done Jeff!

Posted by Cindy Bryant, "Houston Home Staging Pros" (Redesign Etc. Home Staging) over 11 years ago

I am so totally using this on my page:

Jeff Corbett, who "was a 7th grade school system ‘computer experiment', learning and teaching computer science to college professors at the University at at the age of twelve." says:

"Seriously, an agent who can't manage to market a property with quality photographs should have their license suspended on principle alone." rock!  8}

Posted by Tim Downin (Miraculous Memories Photography) over 11 years ago

Enjoyed your post and the comments that followed.  The rate of change in business is getting faster and faster, and real estate is no different.  You can't just do what you did before.  The true real estate professionals will be the ones who adapt to the consumer.  Advertising in newspapers (in most markets, not all) is practically dead.  What's next on the Internet?  Whatever it is, we need to be there.

Posted by Don Anthony, Charlotte & Triangle NC Discount Realtor (Don Anthony Realty ~ over 11 years ago

Who's to say consumers are wrong? I believe very valid points have been illustrated. My quarrel is this:
You shouldn't say "Realtors Suck" that is technically against our COE....

Join my bandwagon and be realtoritically correct. (yes I just made that word up.. I think)

I say "many real estate agents suck"
It is true, and your use of actual MLS photos proves it.
My clients know that I focus on marketing and that is my job. There is a method and a reason behind EVERYTHING that I do. It is a profession that I participate in, and I love my job, therefore I take it very seriously. I love that I am self employed.. I love the fact that if I fail to bring in money, then you know what? I FAIL... there is nothing wrong with that. Our business and especially my business runs in cycles and I must prepare for them just like other businesses. There are no handouts.

I must work hard everyday, because I know from the time "I ALLOW" a client in my car, they are 90 days from closing on a property and I KNOW that I must satisfy that client more than enough to ensure that they refer at least 2 future clients to me. All of this on top of maintaining my license, my marketing and my family life.

We must take back our profession! We must prove ourselves and do our best to point out when something is incorrect or blatently wrong. If we fail to do that, then we fail to properly represent our current clients and potential future clients. Otherwise that agent who does suck, may be across from you at the closing table, or on the line submitting an offer all the while your client expects you to "PROPERLY" represent their best interest.


Posted by Brady Pevehouse, Your Orlando Real Estate Professional (RE/MAX Downtown) over 11 years ago

What a great survey! All I can say is that the we, as real estate professionals, have a golden opportunity to prove ourselves by becoming excellent at customer service, a great listener, and a knowledgable professional. I find that many of our clients find us in much the same way that they shop for commodity products, but, it is up to us as real estate professionals to show them the level of concern and professionalism that they deserve. Especially when we are earning the amount of money that we earn. I do say that the money is deserved by those professionals who prove themselves worthy.

Posted by Bob over 11 years ago

In my dealings with real estate firms as a marketing professional, one of the biggest hurdles I deal with is the Agent's ego.  It is always about them and the commission.  The public perception of the realtor is not far from the car salesman - the bank and the manager (read broker) make the deal, not the sales person.  Buyers see the agents more as a docent, or concierge and resent paying the commissions.  Ironic, that they will pay all the points and fees in the world to a mortage broker who can get the financing written, but they hat paying the person showing the property to them.  The reality is that most of the business in realty will probably eventually be mostly automated and the role of the realtor will be significantly reduced.  Leads generation tools, processes, methods etc are fast becoming the growth functions in a real estate business.  I agree entirely with the IDX integration bit. Those who are not properly IDX integrated will consistently struggle to manage their inventory.  IN THE END, it's about the inventory and the market.  You can be the most experienced realtor in the world and if you have neither, you are doomed.  If you truly KNOW people, KNOW communities, KNOW businesses, and KNOW how to capture leads for your inventory, you will stay afloat.

Honestly, who can't build a web page and print a flyer these days?

Is that all your marketing really comes down to? - An 8.5x11 sheet of paper in a box, a sign, and a web listing?

Why not try something new.  Why not try to encourage buyers in other markets to relocate to your area... why not work collectively to DRAW buyers to your market?

unthink your marketing plan....

spend less, do more, and do it well.

Posted by Jay Antonic over 11 years ago

Just a year before I began my life as a professional stager, I had to sell my home in California. I had already purchased my home in Oregon by going online ... instantly disregarding any property that didn't have at least 6 very good photos ... sent the list to a broker ... flew up ... saw all the houses the first day and bought one. So, when I went to sell the aforementioned home in Cal, I had a fit when my broker only had one photo up on the MLS. His excuse was that it would cost him too much money. I felt that we sold it in spite of the marketing because we had done such a great job making it beautiful. At the time I didn't even know what "staging" was. I hope he has since learned the importance of lots of good photos.

Several comments further up, someone was wondering what to do if your sellers don't want to clean-stage-fix-prepare for the market --- whatever you want to call it. I can tell you one thing my broker did RIGHT! He showed me photos of another house in my neighborhood that was up for sale and looked great!! He pointed out that this was my competition.That spurred me into action.

Here is my free tip of the day. Take a photo of your sellers room and show that to them compared with a photo of a comparable home that has been prepared and staged and photographed beautifully. You will be amazed at how seeing a photo of their room opens their eyes to how it really looks. Much different than standing in the room. It works!

My two cents on brokers: A good broker is worth their weight in gold. I would never buy or sell a home without a good broker. But it isn't just the act of listing it if I'm selling, or helping me find a house, if I'm buying. Where you really make the difference to me is in getting through the entire negotiating process and the whole process of escrow. My brokers have had to go to bat for me when my counterpart in the transaction became unreasonable or some unforeseen thing came up. Also their creativity in making the deal happen when I couldn't see how things would work out made a huge difference.

Posted by Pangaea Interior Design Kitchen & Bath Design, Remodeling (Portland Oregon) over 11 years ago


You woke me up and I think I smell the Coffee!  I really did get a handle on PART of what my problem has been since I left the "discount" brokerage I was working for.  We charged 4.5% commission paid out 2.7 of that to the selling agent and actually gave the client more full-service than many others charginr 7%!  I got about 90% of the listings I went after and usually a referral or 2 after the house sold.  Unfortunately, we were just a 2 agent office and the downturn caused my broker to close last year.  I went to what I consider to be the best national company, but I did see my listing side drop off considerably.  I have found that people ARE interviewing more agents and more often taking the cheapest.  I was with the "discount" company for 3 1/2 years and I found that people trusted me more when I charged them a devalued price for my service than when I ask for 6 or 7%, so your survey does seem to validate this.  Thanks for the great post and I plan on reading the entire survey

Posted by Bill Dean, William Dean - Broker, Salesperson (Haggerty Team St. Louis, Mo.) over 11 years ago

The public really sucks!  We give the public everything that they want for free and expect nothing in return unless they allow us to receive a commission.  Since we give them everything for free including knowledge, time, stress and money they don't need to appreciate us.  Once they have learned the community and all of our local knowledge they can wak away with it and work with another Realtor that is happy to show and sell.  Our profession sucks!  But most of us wouldn't do anything else. Why? Well we are rewarded well for our successes and we take pride in what we do.  We know that we make a difference in the lives of others!  We glow in our own pride and our true reward comes from within.  We Realtors belong to a club that no one else can join. We have an understanding and bond that makes our lives unique.  We know as Realtors we work together over 99% of the time and compete with each other less than 1% of the time.  We have paid our dues and we are survivors!  One day the public will realize our benefits.  Personally I feel that won't happen until we as Realtors realize that we earn our money and make those we work for much more than they pay for.  In the case of buyers, wouldn't you agree that's quite easy?

Posted by Tony Lewis, Summit Real Estate Santa Clarita & OC Laguna Nigel (RE/MAX of Valencia (Hall of Fame) 30 year Valencia Resident) over 11 years ago

Tony: Your statement "We know as Realtors we work together over 99% of the time and compete with each other less than 1% of the time," sounds like price fixing to me. LOL!

And your are absolutely correct...sellers are not grateful enough.


Posted by Lee Ali (Las Americas Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Well said.

You wrote: "Of the reasons given for using an Agent only 7% said it was for 'Better Marketing Exposure'.  Ummm, isn't this what an Agent's core value proposition is supposed to be, to market property?"

Gone are the days of an effective monopoly on marketing exposure (when properties were printed in a book)  Perhaps the real question needs to be, "What is the core value proposition supposed to be, in this evolved world with free access to publish or find information?

Posted by Robert T. Boyer, San Diego Real Estate & Mortgage Loans, Ph.D. | VA Home Loan (FHA Loan, VA Loan, Jumbo Loan,FHA Loans,VA Loans,Jumbo Loans) over 11 years ago


It's hard not agree with you on all counts.  We can  blame ourselves for a lot of the negative feelings.  We have idiots at NAR and CAR touting that now is the time to buy  because the bottom of the market is here while the markets in most of the California  continue to slide downward and have yet to find some stability.  Our professional organizations make us look ridiculous!

I hate to say it but we are at fault for not demanding better standards for those entering our profession.  I can truthfully, but sadly, say that in 30 years I have never  had to deal with so many unqualified agents as I did from 2003-2007.  Half of the agents I encountered couldn't even check the right boxes on the contract... let alone actually write  a counter  offer or an adendum.    Every Broker who let an unqualified agent loose should not only be ashamed but should lose their Broker license.  

The number of license renewals in CA has dropped drastically.  Fees to renew are probably going to double which will weed out a few more.   As for those who don't use the internet and the vast number of tools that are available... I suspect they will leave the business sooner rather then later.  

When the market finally does turn around consumers are going to expect a lot more from agents.    Consumers will pay if they receive the service they want...but the service has to be excellent.  Those that don't meet the demands of the consumer will not be in business... whether you are a full service or discount broker. 

Posted by Kaye Thomas, e-PRO, Manhattan Beach CA (Real Estate West) over 11 years ago

Jeff, your opening line sure got a lot of us going, so  many that I couldn't read them all. Good job, really I liked it. I am going to use the old adage "you get what you pay for". After many, many seminars, I actually listed every task involved in a transaction, when you sit down at a listing appointment and get asked "that question" about cutting commission, you ask Mr. Seller which services that they would like you to cut,sellers start to understand. In fact years ago I was at a listing appointment, the potential seller was the owner of our local grocery store and he asked me to cut my commission, I asked him if that meant that I could ask for a discount on my groceries the next time I shopped in his store...he laughed, point well taken and I got the listing as well as the sale. I believe that I did see one post that someone was willing to take a listing for 1%, that person does not have much self worth. I am probably considered "old school" and I take that as a compliment, because I take care of my clients, but I also have taken every step that I can to stay up with todays trends & technology.

Posted by Melinda Hoff, Keeping the Real in Realtor! (Bradley & Brown Realty) over 11 years ago


Read your post and most of the comments and I am feeling very had pressed to say anything positive about it. Too much negativity here. The bad ones will be weeded out by the market.... However the survery was done in CA .... (  most people are not happy in CA with anyone right now in this state of the market. Period. ) Also they are looking at agents to list they homes and choosing not based on how good that agent is "  theLast reason?  Most knowledgeable " but based on the lower listing fee.... that tels me everything I need to know about the survey and the consumer.

You get what you pay for~  pick the one that don't lower their commission for a listing but promise you personal attention. I for one think the reason we got here is the discounted stuff ... discounted this discounted that and then where is the quality when I need it ? like buying  major appliances made in China and it breaks in 2 years. Oh yes I saved a few hundred bucks but lost 2 thousand. 

 I;ve read somwere that banks are considering sending BPO's to India !!!

If I list a short sale as part of the negotiation with the bank I might have to take less if the bank doesn't approve the 6 % I charge so why would I agree to start lower to begin with? ( And I bet most of the sellers in CA are doing just that ) Short sales are not easy transactions to do.

People think lawyers are bad too .... so what ????? we go get educated and read some law  books on line and start representing ourselves in court :) 

Band news sells !!! too bad. We need more good news .... maybe you can write about something agents do good these days ! like about all the stress they take while working with the short sales and the abuse from the banks,  we have to worry about our own turning on to each other. We have to work together not against each other.

 If you have nothing nice to say sometimes is better to say nothing :))))



Posted by Elena Martinovici, Associate Broker- Phoenix , Arizona (MY HOME GROUP 602-321-1273) over 11 years ago


After 31 years as a Realtor one thing has never changed, in boom years everyone gets a real estate license and in the down market (the late 80's-early 90's Houston lost 40-70% in home prices) the same agents leave the business. It gets tough plus according to NAR the average income per agent is only $31,000 GROSS a year

I hit the ground running, I didn't have any options, and thank God I love this business!  The basics are fairly simple, list a home, get the home sold then tell the world you did and then do that all over again and again.  This last step is the hardest part and most agents don't put enough effort into it.  No question this is a tough job with a ton of sacrifices especially in the beginning.  We deserve every dime of what we charge.  The key is doing it so well that the client feels the same way...that they received value for their money.

The bright spot in a down market is the industry goes through a cleansing by agents leaving in droves that should have never been there in the first place.,

Which is good for all parties, the buyer, the seller, the great agents that put in that hard work.  Even the agent that leaves, now they can find a job they truly love and are willing to do whatever it takes.

 "There is one quality that one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it." - Napoleon Hill

Thanks for reminding us all we need to always be improving and upgrading, so we can deliver that WOW service the clients want.  Liz

Posted by Liz Carter, Broker/Owner of Liz Carter & Team Realty, Katy TX (Houston) (Liz Carter & Team Realty-Your Real Estate Resource For Life!) over 11 years ago

One of these days, someone, perhaps now yet born, will seek positive opinions from consumers and seek positive reasons consumers closed on successful transactions due to the actions of performance of their agent.

Sadly, that doesn't make the news.

The satisfied consumer is the silent majority.

I'm insprired.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Great Post Jeff!  Here are my two cents ~ 

1. "It's all about them", the customer.

2. As a professional it is okay to charge a fee for services rendered.


Posted by Eunice Waller, Working Together, We Can Do Great Things (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Simpson Realtors) over 11 years ago


I enjoyed your post but wanted to add that I have an Exclusive Buyer Agency. We never take a listing so we devote 100% of our time representing buyers. I became an Exclusive Buyer Agent because I personally felt I did not want to represent both a seller and a buyer in a transaction. To me this is a conflict of interest. I would not want to go to court and have one attorney representing both sides of the case and I feel purchasing a home is too large of a financial commitment not to have someone fully committed to a buyer's outcome. We listen to what a buyer wants and help to educated them through the process so they will be just as happy with their home in years to come as they are on their day of purchase. There are no guarantees in life but knowing that I have given the buyer 100% let's me rest easy at night. It is not as profitable as being able to do both sides of a deal but it is more gratifying. I would like to see some of the listing agents step out and become Exclusive Listing Agents, devoting 100% of time to their sellers. To me this would be a plus to their seller as their time would not be divided between the seller and buyer.

I know most agents will disagree with my philosophy but I am used to that. I have ran an Exclusive Buyer Agency in Florida since 2003 and get many referrals from out of state. I am a member NAEBA (National Association of Exclusive Buyer Agents).




Posted by Anonymous over 11 years ago

Very Good. You have reminded me that I can't just send mls listings and expect the customer to do the searching. I need to participate many times


Posted by Kieran Loughman over 11 years ago

Wow, this post has gotten the most LONG comments I've ever seen!  I love the comment about negotiation skills, such an essential but sadly lacking - do we need more training?

Posted by Stanton Homes, Design/Build Custom Home Builder in North Carolina (Stanton Homes - New Home Builder) over 11 years ago

the results are not surprising. i think this market is weeding out a lot of the agents who suck. i think it will make our industry stronger.

Posted by Jen Anderson (Exit By the Bay Realty) over 11 years ago

Yes, I guess I have to agree ... Having been in the business since 1993, and many of the Realtors I have had to deal with really do (suck).    I have even brought a few up on various charges of improprieties and have won every time.    It's no wonder to me many people you speak with either think or believe that Realtors on the same level as a "used car salesman" but, only make more money.    I wonder how many of us were smart enough to warn our Buyers about the inflated prices of the homes that they were thinking purchasing, or were we greedy enough to hope that they would just "buy-it" so we could make our commission sale?    I'm a little surprised that some of the Buyers that "bought" just before the bubble-bursted haven't gone after their Realtor with a "law-suit" for their injuries.    I sincerely hope that ALL Realtors have finally learned something out of this however, I also sincerely doubt it.

Posted by A.J. over 11 years ago

Great post! I hope it breaks the AR record for most reads. Cheers!


Posted by Tre Pryor, Realtor, e-PRO - Louisville Kentucky (REMAX Champions) over 11 years ago

Great post Jeff, and was smiling all the way through it!  None of this suprises me as I go to extremes to find things out for a client as most of us do if we don't know an answer.  Although, people may find things out on the way they also can be misleading, so clients do need to be aware of that. 

As fas as the pictures, that happens to be my number one peeve!  If you can't take photo's don't take the listing and bother to put it into the MLS system.  It's like doing job half way. 

Myself personally, I feel like this, "Do onto others as you would have them do onto you".  What a great motto, don't you think?

Posted by Katie over 11 years ago

You're right! Realtors Suck!

We need to make it a law, that if you are going to be an agent/broker, you and anyone in your family can no longer have more than one house.

I am tired of finding good deals, going through the trouble of looking up permits, finding out if there are any leins or incombrances, driving out to look at the neighborhood, and at the house itself, etc etc etc... only to find out that the house is now off the market. Later that year when I drop by the house, to "see how it is coming along," I find out my own realitor had a hand in selling it to a friend, relative, in-law, or purchased it themselves for an investment.

And it makes no difference what agency they are with, what race they are, what neighborhood they come from, how old they are...  they ALL seem to have become a Realtor so they "can be there first," to get the juicy ones before anyone else knows about them, etc.

The competition is too great for me to be in competition with my own real estate agents. Laws need to be made!!!

Posted by Disgrunteled Investor over 11 years ago

Great stats, great leadership, great post!

Posted by Anonymous over 11 years ago


Excellent post.  There are many agents who are still in the dark ages, do poor marketing, are afraid of learning new ways, better and more efficient ways of finding buyers for their listings.

Posted by Marzena Melby, Realtor, Twin Cities Minnesota Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Burnet Realty) over 11 years ago
Don't lump every realtor in that. Maybe some of you should feel guilty for taking advantage of the boom years. You are the one's who gave realtors the bad name. There are still honest,ethical people left in the business. Those are the one's who will stand the test.
Posted by Sandy over 11 years ago

Speaking from the perspective of a home stager and our role in the sales process, I see time and again that Realtors who are armed with professional resources can set them selves apart in the sales process.  A good stager can really help with the property preparation and allow the Realtor to focus on all the other marketing responsibilities.  In regards to the quality photographs, you should rely on your stager to provide quality photos of the staged property. 

Posted by Jo Potvin, Home Staging Cincinnati - Design To Market (Design To Market LLC) over 11 years ago

Excellent post Jeff!

I would also like to say that the very same thing can be said of home inspectors. I like to think that I am in the 'next' generation of home inspectors. I really think the problem with home inspectors as well as agents is (and I know I'm gonna catch heat on this) the 'old timers'. While they may have many years of experience and knowledge, many lack the ability and willingness to accept the current changes in this industry and change with the times. (Don't believe me? Just look at your parents). It also appears (in my experience only) that many of the 'old timers' really resent 'new comers' into the real estate field. Instead of using their experience and knowledge to act as mentors and a positive influence to the 'newbies', they instead seem to look at the more technological new comer as a threat and will do everything in their power to discredit the new comer to make themselves look like the almighty of real estate. What they do not seem to realize is just how they are being perceived. Many will act like childish fools and as a result, wind up looking very miserable and bitter. Consumers have picked up on this and who could really blame them for not wanting to be associated with someone who is coming across as being bitter and angry? Especially when it comes to such a large investment. People today not only want professionalism, fair price and good value, they want to feel as though someone really is looking out for their best interest and not out to just get 'the sale'.

It really is way past overdue for this industry to change. Whether we all like it or not, change is inevitable. Technology is the future and the up and coming 'first time homebuyers' in this country are all very 'tech savvy' people. It only makes sense to use today's technology to reach out to them. We simply cannot continue to rely on the ancient way of advertising anymore. Print advertising? No photos? Hand written reports? Snail mail? Are you really serious? Come on. We might as well be drawing on the side of the cave wall with a rock and a stick.

Just my 2 cents.

Posted by MC2 Home Inspections (MC2 Home Inspections LLC) over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff,

    Well, all I can say is that technology is the great equalizer. I see many answers about marketing and price, but not many answers about client service. Not customer service. Walmart has customers. Doctors and Lawyers have clients. Imagine if a client of a could follow their Realtor all day long to see what they are doing to sell their home? One of the ways the industry can change is by having an apprentership for newer agents. This is a business where you learn by trial and error, so why wouldn't the consumer be upset with a portion of the industry. As a Realtor you have to take an ethics class, but if you do not understand ethics and do not have any, then the class does not mean anything. How does a new agent who has no contract training understand what they are doing.

Just my thoughts after reading some of the responses. 

Posted by John Palmisano (Keller Williams Properties Weston, FL) over 11 years ago

While I didn't have time to read all of the comments I did read Claire's and would like to comment to her:  Claire,  I have tech savy young buyers like yourself but you don't perhaps understand the complete buying and selling process.  Technology will not help you negotiate inspections, get loans approved, stage a home etc.  Marketing a listing is just a small fraction of what a good listing agent does and showing property is a small fraction of what a good buyer's agent does.  I understand how easy it is to think the way you do but if you were to interview any of they really great Realtors on AR you will learn about how much more there is to buying and selling a home!

Posted by Diane Aurit, Lake Norman Real Estate (LKN Realty, LLC) over 11 years ago

Great information Jeff!  In this buyer's market selling homes is different from the past.  There are three keys to selling a home in todays market. Hire a Professional Home Stager, higher an agent who is going to market your home and list the home at the price right.   

Agents, Professional Home Stagers are here to help!  We can get your listings ready to sell.  By working as a team, we will help you sell your listings in this slow market!     


Posted by Creative Staging-Atlanta over 11 years ago

Nice post.

I've often said that our business would go crazy if buyers ever asked themselves "who is the best company to use when I buy a home?" but few ever approach it that way.

I'd like you to write about the buying side of that report also.

Posted by Jon Boyd, Ann Arbor Real Estate Buyers Agent (Home Buyer's Agent of Ann Arbor) over 11 years ago

Jeff, Thanks for the great post.  There was nothing in there that I had not heard before and truly believe, but it is always good to be reminded.  Keep up the good posts.

Posted by Pat Varnell over 11 years ago

Jeff -  That's strange.  I thought Mortgage Folks cornered the market on "sucks";)

Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) over 11 years ago

ABSOLUTELY THE TRUTH!  I run into agents all of the time, who say that the internet is a waste of time and those same agents are the ones who are not putting ANY pictures online.  My philosophy is simple, either GET WITH THE TIMES OR GET OUT!  We don't need agents like that in our business ANYMORE!



Posted by Shannon Pyatt over 11 years ago

Jeff, that survey was interesting in many ways. It confirmed to me a lot of what I already knew. Sellers are most satisfied when the home sells quickly. I hope folks here downloaded the report as there is so much to learn and take away from it. I plan on printing and sharing with my team.

Thanks for saying, I'm a Realtor that doesn't suck. Like your post said, if you named everyone it would be impossible to post here.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 11 years ago

Great Post, Jeff!  Having been a real estate virtual assistant for the past 7 years, I have seen more and more agents and brokers going from on-paper advertising to on-line - but there are still those that are still stuck on believing that their sellers insist that their property is advertised in "fill in the blank" magazine or newspaper.  For a realtor to listen to this "oh, so 10 years ago" advise is not only ignorant, but A WASTE OF MONEY AND TIME!!  One of my main projects that I oversee for my clients is their online listing coordination and enhancement.  It has gone so far past just posting it on Craigslist once in a blue moon... now there's places like THIS (!), facebook, twitter, digg, youtube, and awesome online tools such as RealEstateShows, etc.,  If this doesn't impress the realtor's sellers, then MOVE ON!


And, ABSOLUTELY, having multiple, quality photos is a MUST!  Oh, and those lazy realtors that just put "Short Sale", or "Great First Time Buyer's Home", in the description are obviously missing the mark too... hey it's easy for me to point the finger, but I am just dumbfounded by realtors who scratch their head when they put such nondescript descriptions on their listings on the MLS (and beyond) with the type of photos as described by Jeff in his post here, wondering why their property is not getting many showings or interest! 


Anyway, again, great post - this is what keeps me hopping in my business and thankfully, I LOVE IT!  Marketing properties as if they were my own is what makes my online advertising for my real estate clients stand out from the rest!

Posted by Suzanne Roy over 11 years ago

Thanks for the post, Jeff.

A friend of mine, Erica Ferencik is an excellent writer and just placed the following post on

There are 127 responces and not many of them are positive. Just a little anecdotal confirmation of what Jeff has reported.



Posted by Mike Hunter, Wicked Awesome Realtor (Gibson Sotheby's International) over 11 years ago

Wow.  So many comments, I had to reread the post, lol.

Photos - I am astonished when properties hit the MLS "hot sheet" (new listings) with no photos.  My theory is that many agents read the hotsheet but do not go back for a second viewing days later when photos might be posted.  So if there are no photos, you have lost them.

The listings with bad photos make me cringe.  The importance of great photos directly correlates with the amount of inventory. i.e. In a down market, with lots to choose from, great photos are critical to getting a showing.  I use a professional photographer, all the more reason for the Seller to get ready for the photos.  I let the numbers do the talking:  one listing price if the property is ready to be shown,  Another, substantially lower price, if not.  I refuse overpriced listings - I spend way too much time and money on listings to take these.  So armed with great photos, we concentrate on web marketing with property web site, showcase on, placement on premium web sites, etc.

Print Ads - Of course, they don't sell many houses.  But they do give you market presence, esp in vacation towns like ours where folks on vacation check out the local real estate pubs.  And we do get some response, just not a lot.  So,,,,   we concentrate our print budget with publications that link to premium web sites.

Commission - Hey, I let them know that there are plenty of agents who will discount their home but if they want me to market it, there is a minimum that I will need to do so.  Funny, but the Sellers who beat you up the most on commission are usually the toughest, most demanding ones that you wish you could charge double.  And if they still want a discount broker after we go over our marketing plan, well good luck to them.

Great post, great comments.


Posted by Margaret Mitchell, Seacoast Maine & NH Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Yorke Realty) over 11 years ago

Internet is key and photos are critical in our business.  if you don't have good photos you are just hurting the listing.  I like to take preliminary photos just to have the right angles to shoot from before I take final photos.  If I don't get the right pictures I will go back and take more.

Posted by june over 11 years ago

It doesn't surprise me that consumers see us in this light when I see lots of my colleagues in the same way.  This week in particular has been fraught with uncooperative listing agents who don't return my calls and I have to hound them just to show their listings. 

This is an uphill battle all the way.

Posted by Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101, GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay | (eXp Realty LLC) over 11 years ago

Jeff...  I still run into buyers that think all Realtors do is open the door and they collect a $20k commission.  I believe these are the consumers that put us as the lowest profession.  Need I say more.

valerie osterhoudt

Posted by Valerie Osterhoudt, ABR, Cromwell, CT Real Estate ~ 860.883.8889 (Johnson Real Estate, Inc.) over 11 years ago

As primarily a listing agent, I am perplexed to see that so many agents rely on professional photographers to take their pics for them. I have a very basic, but good, digital camera that produces great MLS and online photots of my listings. It couldn't be easier. Why would anyone pay $50 to $80 to have a couple of photos taken by a pro? My camera cost less than $200.

In defense of some agents. It is the seller's decision if they want to have a sign in the yard, be listed on the MLS, have interior photos, etc. Sellers have various reasons for their requests. One being, if the property is vacant and they have moved out of state, they may not want it "put out to the masses". While many use our sites the way we intend for them to be used, there are others out there looking to take advantage of whatever they can.

I must agree with one of the comments I read. It doesn't matter how many wonderful pictures you have of your listing. If it's not priced correctly, forget it. Some agents don't have a clue as to how to pick the best comparables for a property. Again, this comes down to how easy it is to get licensed and the basic training we receive. If you aren't looking at recent sales, active listings and adjusting accordingly on both in regard to market analysis you may not be pricing correctly.

Posted by Lisa Bullerman, NE Kansas Realty Specialist (Keller Williams INTEGRITY) over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff,  Absolutely terrific post.  Your thoughts on pictures is so right on !

Posted by Anonymous over 11 years ago

I really enjoyed your article.  I am still amazed by listings put on with one bad picture.  When you are trying to show someone multiple houses, they will pass on some of those just because there isn't a good picture or any interior pictures.  Sometimes even pool homes with no outside pictures.  Buyers think there is some reason why they don't put the pictures on, like they don't want them to see something. 

Posted by Terri Hanna over 11 years ago

Jeff: I think this is a great post and I re-blogged it.  I want other Realtors in my area to read it, because IF we don't read what  consumers think "about us" we can't "fix it."  I wrote a post last year (BEEFS CONSUMERS HAVE WITH US) that is still featured on Southern CA Forum. I believe we should ALL try and repair the misconceptions people have about us and get out heads out of the sand.

P.S. It's not ONLY CA Realtors that need to READ this, it's Realtors in ALL States.


Posted by Kat DeLong, Realtor DRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate ( (LakeView Realty Enterprises, Inc) over 11 years ago

Nice Post!

I will add that I would rather step aside and not practice than not be able to give clients what they deserve.

Posted by Rudy McCormick over 11 years ago

This post makes me feel so proud of what I spend my time doing and the kind of business I am trying to build! Thank you!

Posted by Jacob over 11 years ago

I have been in the real estate business since 1985, I love the business.  I have managed offices, sold to and for individual owners, sold and marketed entire condo and townhome communities, was a Director of Marketing for a successful condominium conversion company, Property Maanager, been extremely involved with several NJ Board of Realtors in several committees and Boards of Trustees, basically have done it all.  This is not to brag but to tell you of my passion for it.  The most satisfying part of the entire business is when you can sit at a closing table and your client tells you that they could not thank you enough for the positive experience and that they would have never found and closed without you or that they would have never been able to sell their house without you - that is the true satisfaction of being a Realtor.

In response to your well written blog, Realtors have brought that public perception upon themselves and they are paying for it.  I believe it will continue the same unless us as realtors change.

Point #1.  We give everything away before we get a signed agreement.  Free market analysis, Free marketing tips, Free staging tips, Free school information, Free advertising sometimes, FREE FREE FREE and then we ask for an exhorbitant amount of money to list a home when our value has already been compromised with all the free stuff.  How then can we justify we are worth or even 5%? 

Point #2.  ME ME ME!  When will agents realize that it is not about them?  It is the consumer.  The public does not care about the Circle of Excellence, CRS, ABR, etc., etc.  They want to know either how much money will they have at the end of the day when selling a home or how much will save when purchasing.  And will they be able to close.  THAT IS IT! 

Point #3.  Real estate corporations must change their attitude from agent-centric (recruit everyone because they must know someone wanting to buy or sell) and think consumer-centric.  When was the last time a company look , (not just an outside study as metioned) really looked at their buying and selling public and found out what they wanted not what the compamies, themselves want.  The public is looking for what they are looking for.  Sellers are looking for choices.  What fits them.  They are looking for a menu of services.  Give them that choice.

Point #4.  There is no need for referral agents, NONE.  Either an agent does it or not.  The belief that if the large companies can have an army of referral agents out there that have absolutely no real estate knowledge helps - is further from the truth.  All it does is dilute the value of the REALtor and their abilities.  Do doctors have referral doctors, do lawyers have referral lawyers, do mechanics have a referral network?  I understand that companies make money off these referral agents but it is a sham and the public is well aware of it.  Also, the qualifications to become an agent has to be raised to include a college degree, national mandatory education as well as on the state level, and closer monitoring by consumer groups as well as the government.    

Point #5.  The model must change either by changng the status of agents from 1099 status to W-2 status.  Or at least giving the agent a choice in which program they prefer.  even break it down to commission split schedule and services provided to those agents or a salary. 

Point #6.  No need for newspaper advertising anymore.  The internet is the answer, plus the cost factor is far less while expanding the scope of buyers.

Realtors and their companies need to get their head out of the sand and realize that we are in the consumer-centric service business and have to change as our customers do.  We are no longer the the keeper of all the informarion with in our public perceived ego driven greedy hands, we are a professional that lives under a Code of Ethics and federal and state laws and regulations to protect and serve for the better of the community.   

Posted by Jeffrey Halpern over 11 years ago

Jeff, loved the article. I agree wholeheartedly! Really liked your comments about agents who take these ridiculous pictures of their listings. Too funny. Alot of agents need to wake up and realize the technological and informational times we are living in and actually provide real value to the "more now than ever educated" consumer.

Posted by Lance McSwain over 11 years ago

Whew! Now that I can pick myself up from your "sucker" punch! hehe You know perception is reality and we can either look at those results and whine and complain or we can say: Hey! What can I do to change that perception? Chances are more agents will be lazy and choose to complain, the ones who choose to clean up our image will be the ones getting ahead. Thanks for telling us we suck today!!! :)

Posted by Pam Graham, Jacksonville, Clay & St Johns Counties (All Real Estate Options) over 11 years ago

Great post, all true.  Personally I am growing exceedingly tired of agents claims of being Number One, or Expert in the Field, or Leader in Sales without disclosing that they are referring to their status within their own office, and quite often have very few employees which of course explains their position on them selves!  I now tell sellers that I do not do print advertisement, as it is a huge waste of money, the only one that gets anything out of print advertising, is the seller when they see their home in print.  I have also found that a good majority of sellers in my community are going to list with the agent who lists the "highest".  In a community as small as the one I am in, there are an abundance of agents to choose from, and in order to get the listing many agents will come in with a grossly over market value list price, because that's what the seller wants to hear about their home.  I simply will not do that, and let the sellers know right up front that I will not inflate the list price to land the deal.  I followed this frenzy for quite sometime now 10 years in the business, and quite frankly I would just prefer to wait until the first, second and often third listing on the same home has expired.  Very often the seller calls and says, "perhaps you were right with the lower list price", can you come and list our home for fair market value.......Sure, no problem.  Never an "I told you so" attitude, just an appreciation for recognition that their are some agents who list to sell and not to stock pile over priced homes, so their ad looks good!

Posted by Dana Ray Associate Broker Windermere Real Estate over 11 years ago

LOL!  I just love the title of the blog!  It is true...the consumers, like it or not, are all tuned in to WII-FM!  What's In It For Me???  And we MUST step up to the plate and deliver or be left in the dust!  I am getting listings through prospecting because I offer a comprehensive online marketing plan that my competitors won't!  My late father used to say...FNFI...Find a Need and Fill It!!!  Thanks for the post!

Posted by Jeani Codrey, If you're not learning, you're not living! (The Learning Jeani) over 11 years ago

Great Post. Good points, but bad picks and IDX are just a tip of the iceberg.  The general perception of real estate agents has dropped every year for the last 10 or 15. For some odd reason agents think that getting a hundred or so hours of education puts them on a par with other professionals. There is nothing more impressive than observing an agent bragging on thier expertise while dressed in the same clothes they change the oil in.  No longer a exception, but quickly becoming the rule.

The business is changing the the proof is that the top 5 or 6% of agents are pulling in close to 95% of the commissions. Could it be they are constantly updating skills and technology? They market from a point of value to the customer not how cheap they are.  Discount brokers will lalways have a place ubt most would not want to compete head to head with a true professional armed with the most current tools of the trade. Great pictures, virtual tours, easy access to information, and current market information are truly hard to overcome.  If the agent does not have the money or expertise to market a property the customer always looses.  We call those spiritual listings "put up a sign and pray".

37 years in the business and learning every day. New tools, Active Rain blogs, Association updates, the information is out there it only takes the desire to become one of the best.

Posted by Steve Cramer over 11 years ago

It was no surprise to see the consumer's number one reason for picking an agent as "lowest commission".  Obviously they are not informed about what the reasons are when working with a Realtor or another professional like a mortgage consultant.  Which brings me to my next point.  When you are letting your consumer "shop" around for a mortgage.  Are you telling them that you can find or they should find the "lowest rate"?  So often I hear the consumers tell me that their Realtor said "I can get them a great rate".  What comes around, goes around.

Posted by Jim Costello over 11 years ago

Jeff,  That was an interesting post.  Now I know why when I'm inspecting a home 80% of "my" clients (also the REA's client) tell me on the side that they dont  trust their agents!  This drives me crazy!  If you dont trust your agent...why use them?  There are plenty of qualified Agents that would be happy to have you (Buyers) as clients.

It is obvious to me when a Buyer has a "good" agent.  Good agents dont try to interfere with the inspection process...they compliment it.  Good agents dont try to hide problems, they try to solve problems. 

Nothing bothers me more then an Agent that trys to distract a buyer when I am performing an inspection or who literally climbs up my a#$ when I'm walking around.  Believe me when I tell you that annoying the Inspector does not help you sell houses.  Having information and contacts to help your client repair problems or get estimates does help.

It's my job to tell a client how dangerous a condition is. It's my job to explain how easy or inexpensive a repair may be. It's my job to help the client understand how energy efficient syatems in a home are.

I know Agens are supposed to present the home in its best light, and lets face if we are at the point of inspection you did a good job!  Don't blow it it right at the end.

Always work in the best interest of your CUSTOMER! It will ALWAYS pay off in the end. 

Posted by Jeff (Licensed Home Inspector) over 11 years ago

In my dealings I have only had one damaging experience. I listed it here:

Rocky Coennen and Remax of Valencia- the nightmare


When I listed my house with Rocky Coennen and Remax of Valencia, I had no idea the horrors in store. When I agreed to list the house with my ex-wife's lame friend, Rocky, I thought that we all had the same goal in mind - to get the most money for the house in a changing market. I purchased the house prior to marrying my ex and remained in the home after our separation.

When I signed the "seven" month listing agreement, I never received a copy of it - even after I asked Rocky for a copy months into the listing. Six months and four price reductions later (totaling $100,000 less than the original listing price) we received what I thought was an insulting low-ball offer. After countering back and being unable to reach an agreement with the potential buyers, I was ordered into court by my ex-wife. In court, I was given the choice to either take the low-ball offer or buy my ex-wife out of the house through refinancing in my name. When I chose to keep the house, my ex presented a letter to the court by Rocky of Remax and the judge was told that Remax would indeed sue for the full 5% of the buyer's agent and seller's agent commission.

Not having any time in court to obtain a release of contract from Remax of Valencia, they refused to cancel the listing agreement without a cashiers check in the amount of $27,000. It's amazing how they received FULL commission and they didn't even sell the house!

I would not recommend working with Rocky Coennen or Remax of Valencia. I felt that Rocky worked harder at trying to get a lower price for my house instead of working for the best price. I didn't feel that Rocky or Remax of Valencia had my best interest at heart or cared about their reputation. I fully understand having to get a loan to refinance your house, but certainly didn't expect to have to get a $27,000 additional loan just to pay my realtor for not selling my house. Posted by shafted sellers at 4:54 PM 0 comments

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Rocky Coennen is NOT to be trusted!!


Posted by Paul McKay over 11 years ago

There are so many factors to consider.  I have been providing agents with beautiful websites for years now.  It always amazes me how somebody will call, literally try to pick a fight because they can't afford our services, but want us to do the work for dirt cheap!

Agents will spend thousands on products such as Hobbs Herder, sounds good, stacks of product sit in their closet.  Then they come to me, feel they have been burned and want a smokin' deal, oh and of course it all needs to be done in 30 days because they waited for months and their business is in trouble.

So now I'm scratching my head and wondering why I'm wasting my time.  They want to spend several hours picking my brain, making it all sound as though they want to be a client.  Tell me about all your success stories, give me lots of references, and I want to know everything about how all this works.  Give me all your IDX providers.  Tell me how I'm going to make money.  I want exclusive rights to 23 zip codes.  This type of agent treats their clients the same.  It's all about how cool I am, and how many years I've been in business.  I'm a top ___ agent because of ____.  What about the buyer and seller's needs?

Then I'm going to look for all the right reasons to not work with you.  I want my site done in 30 days, and there have been delays in your design work.  HELLOO PEOPLE!  Trash me if you want, but you have a beautiful website.  Sure it could have taken a little longer to put together.  Do you not have something that your competitor does not?  A custom design that you can work on?  Something to be thoroughly proud of?  You feel good when you go into a listing presentation?

How does this relate to this post.  Plenty.  The internet is critical, stats show this, I do not need to repeat the same thing that I have said for years.  Print can work, if it's smart.  I have agents sending postcards and getting responses.  Perfect for listings.  Buyers will hang around on your site if it's beautiful, engaging, and easy to navigation.  If you cut corners on your IDX, why would you expect to compete against a site that has what the visitor needs.

I see so much arrogance in our industry.  I don't know if it's ego, lazy or fear.  I'm done giving exclusive rights.  I just had somebody demand that I give them the rights to about 23 zip codes, not put my name on the design, have it done in 30 days and waste hours of my time. 

This does not mean it is the typical real estate agent. 

BUT I had to listen to how he had been in the business for 27 years, blah blah blah, yet he was in trouble, and wanted my help.  Brought all his woes from past designers (negative people produce negative results) and of course found every negative reason for this not to work.  This is the type of agent that expects 6% on his deals, but has no solid internet marketing to provide his sellers.  If he has any buyers coming to the site, they are not staying.  Again, I say ego, arrogance and fear.  The 3 killers in any business.

Did I say that I've been in real estate for more than 20 years?  No one cares about that, even I don't care about that.  The bottom line is results, experience and good old fashioned service. 

The photos were so bad, we see them all the time.  Don't take a listing if you can market it properly.  There is no excuse.  That is what staging is for.  Hire a house cleaner for two days, renters will love you.  Take photos.  Put butterflys on the chain hanging down from the light, whatever you have to do.  You are getting paid to market a property to sell.  If you can't do it right, don't do it.  Do something else, you will never be happy in real estate if you simply do it for that next transaction.  You will not survive when the cycles change, and they always do.

The last 2 years were rough for me.  I love it!  I put my nose to the grindstone and came up with insane products that no one in my business is doing right now.  So instead of trashing people, I got busy.  There were some tears and fears, but I got up, pulled my boots on and ready to work.

Don't expect others to be your lifeline.  You are in the wrong business if that is your attitude.  Real estate is fun and can create relationships that last for generations.  Have a system that follows up for you.  Stay in touch through the internet with quality pieces. 

Don't expect canned drip campaigns to work with a lousy website.  Don't expect your buyers to give you information if you don't have a great website.  Chances are they won't leave information right away.  They are surfing your competitor's sites too.  Stop cramming as much information about you on the homepage as you can fit in, of course in CAPS and all RED. 

Expect to get good results from a great site.  I repeat, GOOD results from a GREAT site.  You have to be consistent.  Don't have time for a website, nor the money?  You need to do something else. 

Posted by Cherie Young over 11 years ago


Good stuff.  I've known this for years.  My job is to work internet leads all day long.  I don't list or sell anymore.  Does that tell you anything?  Check out page 21 in the report if it doesn't. ;)  I'm working on going back to school for more education on web technologies, etc. and I already have my second ePro designation (Prudential's eCertified was my first).  Not that designations matter to me, just the education.

I actually like it when agents don't provide more than one picture and just a few of only the exterior.  That drives our website users to me because they want more pictures.  I can usually get more pictures for them and that positions me and my agents as the "get er done" people.

What I need to do is find out what the next step is.  From reading your bio, I think you've been down that road.  I'd be interested in hearing more from you on this subject.

Posted by Richard Hoffart (Beverly-Hanks & Associates) over 11 years ago

Jeff - I'll never understand the lack of quality photos that I see in my MLS...  The business is changing due to the amount of dataavailable on the internet, the challenge is setting yourself apart as an agent who can quantify and qualify the data for consumers.  Most agents don't do it or don't know how.

Posted by Debbie Summers (Charles Rutenberg Realty ) over 11 years ago


A good and thought provoking post. Quality management and customer care are things any business cannot do without. I hope (as suggested by several) that more respondents will go to the actual survey, instead of using the knee-jerk reaction that data is infallible...this is a small(?) part of why our market is in the mess that it is. We do not research. Thank you for including the link so I could go and browse the data.

California does not dictate the actual market nationally...or it shouldn't dictate it...but it is in the spotlight, so to our typical person that takes anything in print or anything on the web as an absolute...well, n'uff said.

I'm not a statistician, but did take some statistics in college, and there seem to be some rather glaring problems with numerous parameters. If you look at the data...actually look at it and question it a bit, there are some definite oddities and some things of interest that arise.

When the data states that 46% of the sellers had a previous transaction with the selling agent, 46% of the respondents must have been satisfied with their previous service (?)

First time home sellers showed 0% using an agent from from a previous transaction. Maybe it isn't allowed in CA, but wouldn't at least a few possibly use the agent that sold them the home as listing agent? Wouldn't this show up as at least 1%???

Use of the internet: Look to page 21 and we see the over 80% figure we all like to quote...and look to page 23 and find that "seller online activities" is actually lower in 2008 in almost every category listed for virtually ALL the previous I reading that right??? This even includes data from 2004!!! (I am guessing that this is indicating a poor sample size or method of acquiring data)

Page 28: This is indicating "reliability of data from the agent compared to the internet" I suppose. IMHO it should have 3 variables, i.e. 1)better,2)as good, or 3)worse. Including DIFFERENT as a choice skews the data. "Different" tells you nothing valid and accounts for a whopping 47% of the sample!

Sorry to take up so much room here, and not intending to rant at you at all Jeff (I am ranting at the statistics). We all need a reality check at times, and a major reality check for me is to check out trends and statistics whenever I can. Statistics can be "tweaked" so much as to border upon complete manipulation (not that this study was manipulated). They can also be poorly aquired and constructed from the get-go. The danger is in when we blindly accept them as being a perfect representation of the facts. The research is actually up to US, isn't it? That s why we know our markets and know our systems and documents and know our deadlines...but most importantly, know our clients and customers.

Even in this age of easy "information", it is so vitally important to actually LOOK to the source of the information provided. There is still no substitute for hard work, honesty, and putting the client first and foremost.

Posted by Bill Saunders, Realtor®, (Meyers Realty) over 11 years ago

Here is a great example of agents that care about their sellers and buyer's needs.  It's brand new, we are still adding some pieces.  More than 70 pages of content.  Check out their golf course map page.


Cherie Young
Online Marketing Strategies

Posted by Cherie Young over 11 years ago

Well Jeff, if you raised some eyebrows, they needed to be raised.  I personally have never understood why Realtors don't include pictures.  If you are in the real estate business, you've surely got a camera.  If you got one, use it.  When I am searching for property on the MLS, I avoid those without pictures.  Buyers have told me what they are looking for and a picture really helps you visualize what they are looking for.  As far as ads in the newspapers, don't do them because they are expensive and a waste of time and money.  You made some great points.  I just hope that it will promote a change.  As with most professions, Realtors are judged by the worst experience that a Buyer/Seller ever had.  We have to be more than just on the cutting edge, we have to be visionaries of the future.  The future is technolgy.

Posted by Jerry Hill, Network Real Estate, Inc., Little Rock, AR over 11 years ago


I'll have to come back and finish reading all the mini-blogs in your comment stream. I just wanted to share a bit with you. There was a time when being a Realtor did not suck. As the organization and our Communities grew, our reputation, as an industry, became tainted. After the recession in the 80's the real estate market sky rocketed and people could finally afford homes. Unfortunately, as time passed, many people got into this business for the almighty dollar. The rep we acquired became hard to change and even harder to avoid. All we can do is pray that all the suckie Realtors find they can't survive in this new day and age. Those who can't, won't, and will be driven away from this business in droves and have been. When you're in it for the money...It shows...You can't fake it, so why try? :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Lots and Lots of great comments here!  The public's perception of us is a shame and we have let it happen, both by letting really bad agents remain in the business and by not educating sellers as to what is truly important when it comes to selling your home. 

I do not agree that our main value proppsition is market exposure anymore.  While it is our job to expose homes to the market, much of that market exposure (not all of it!) can be gained by a seller through a limited service provider.  My main value proposition is guiding people through the market, using specific skills, both negotiation and otherwise to help them get them most money possible. It's the problem solving skills (and actually the problems I prevent through my experience and knowledge) that make me worth the money. 

WI recently raised our level of CE requirements to 18 hours from 12 every biennium.   While this is a step in the right direction we all know that it's not contractual missteps that define agents but everyday practice.  I don't think requiring a bachelor's degree or something else like that will help.  We need as agents to continue to pressure and support our peers to become the best agents possible. 

I could go on and on but many of my thoughts have been covered.  Great post!  

Posted by Becky Brand (Shorewest Realtors) over 11 years ago


And I forgot to mention the comments about how we conduct ourselves on Members' only posts...Who passed away and made you the judge of all of us? How do you know what the Consumer is thinking when we act like humans? When did you become a mind reader? Inquiring minds would like to know :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

This is old news....surveys have been showing that for years now...  of course when prices are in a decline consumers will seek the lowest commission...problem is you get the weakest realtor to sell your home...many realtors only have a low commission and a picture of your house to offer....there is a lot more to marketing and consulting with a client then that... learn why and you'll be above the rest of the herd...

Posted by Dan Ryan over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff.  Interesting Stats.

Stats can be misleading.

If 97% of respondents said they interviewed 3 or more agents, this is a strange survey.

NO WAY 97% of people interview 3 agents.

I am skeptical of these stats (though do agree with your underlying thesis.

Thanks for writing,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 11 years ago

We all know there are two sides to every story, though if we, as professionals, whatever the profession, are truthful as to what we can and can not accomplish, then we do not have the need to back track or tell another lie to cover up the first one.

Seems many people, even the consumer, at times do not want to know the whole truth, just what will enable them to do what they want, then when the consequences come down, who is at fault?

Same goes for the Realtor, or Broker, or Banker, ethics do matter, no matter how much some seem to dislike the word these days, though it could just be my own personal perception, and perceptions are not the Reality, as some seem to believe, which just adds to the problem instead of providing a solution.

Thank you Jeff for your thoughts and research. 

Posted by George Merritt over 11 years ago

Well said! We put ourselves out as "professionals" shouldn't we actually be professional. The public is doing us a service by crying "bull*&#?" on our colleages that give "crappie" service. It is time to have the cream rise to the top and stop acting like part time sales people and actually be professional. We must demonstrate every day that we have knowledge of the market, we are very TECH savy, and our services are actually worth more than what the customer pays. Treat REAL ESTATE like a business not a hobby!



Stan McLaughlin Keller Williams Norman, OK

Posted by Stan McLaughlin of The McLaughlin Team Norman, OK over 11 years ago

Lots of good comments here, again, stats and surveys don't give the complete picture but enough information to provide a signpost for the roadway up ahead.

Posted by Bryan Anderson, Real Estate and Waterfront Property In Austin Texa (Bryan Anderson at RE/MAX River City) over 11 years ago

...definitely one of my biggest pet peeves ....I wish I had license to repost some of the pics I come across in our mls ... they are simply dreadful, and those realtors DO SUCK !!!

Cheers Jeff !


Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) over 11 years ago

If a consumer were to search "real estate training" on the web, they would find hundreds of offerings on how to get listings and none that offer training on how to serve the client better.  There is a huge gap between what is collectively promised and what is delivered.

Posted by Graig Griffin, SIOR, Commercial Real Estate - Utah and Nevada (Utah Advisors | Windermere Commercial) over 11 years ago

JEFF, YOU ROCK with this blog post!  PUBLIC PERCEPTION and EXPERIENCE WITH MANY, MANY AGENTS IS REALLY PATHETIC.  It is too easy to get into the business and then create chaos and damage.  The public has every right to be angry and suspicious of our industry when their own experiences have been so very negative.  I loved all the comments from our Realtor community.  This is a very real issue and it is great to bring it up, lay it on the table and discuss it with each other and with our clients and prospects as well.  Sometimes I ask or it seems to easily come up....have you had any negative experiences in the past with buying or selling a opens the door to listen and care about your clients concerns, experiences and how we can offer them clear and positive actions, attitudes and results that will be a win-win process for them.

you tell'em Stewie!

Posted by Lucy Huckeba, CRP, CRS (Keller Williams Realty Red Stick Partners) over 11 years ago



Great post with a lot of useful statistics which are being proven in the market today.  I have worked for a "cut-rate" realty office in the past and although people use the lower commission companies many of them walk away unhappy.  They continually question your actions as an agent, they always wonder if they could have gotten more from a higher commission agency.  What I find now that I have joined another agency "non cut rate" people still ask the same questions.

My clients receive the same service now as they did before.  Because although I worked at a "cut rate" agency I refused to cut the quality of my customer service.  I treated people like I would want and demand to be treated.  I walked beside my clients every step of the way and I made every attempt to remove the stress of selling and/or buying in each transaction.  I do not believe the commission rate is a fair factor for people to judge Realtors by but that seems to be the message that is more widely spread.  I think we fail to draw our clients in by ineffectively communicating our services and letting them know WHAT it is we do. 

Many people believe all they need a Realtor for is to show them a house or put their home on the MLS.  Our job is to show them the value of our individual service - make them realize how they benefit from utilizing our skills and talents.  If we have special talents, training, skills or great past history, we should be communicating that to the public.  People care about what we know, what we can do for them and what we have done for others in the past.  Our best or worst MARKETING tool is our past client.  If we did a great job, they tell their friends and family; if we did a bad job, they tell everyone!

If we as Realtors use all of our skills, talents and history to our advantage, we can change the perception of the public.  We need to show pride in what we do and how we do it.  We need to sell ourselves and help them see all that we do to help them buy and sell properties.  Case in point:

Before becoming a Realtor, I was a professional stager.  I loved staging homes but found many Realtors didn't see the value in my services.  Since obtaining my license, 18 months ago, I have closed over 25 transactions.  Many of those transactions were as a result of referrals from clients who were pleased with my services.   Recently, I decided to sell my home and used my skills as a stager to present my home.  Once I had the home staged (prior to listing it), I had some great photos taken of it.  I posted it on a Wednesday and had a showing that afternoon, two the next day and two on Friday.  I had a contract on Saturday.  Several things played into this situation...I handled my home like I would handle my clients home(s).  Priced it right, staged it, photographed it, marketed it, showed it and sold it in less than a week! 

I plan to use my situation as an example of the services I offer to clients.  Promoting ourselves via multiple means is the only way to show the value of our services to the public.  Promoting my success on my own home can be a great example of what I can and will do for others. Cut rate commissions or not, people want a Realtor who gives them the most service and dedicates themselves to helping them get the best deal possible when buying or selling. 

Posted by Shonnie Luquer (First Carolina, REALTORS) over 11 years ago

Can you believe what some agents consider interior shots?  and the one photo thing still amazes me.  I know way back that it was a form of getting the consumer to call the agent because they had no other choice.  But today's consumer's are much more savvy and available to get information anytime day or night that by offering a terrible one photo will cause the consumer to move on.  The consumer is now purchasing or shall I say browsing for the home just as with any product. Thanks for providing a great insite to the California market.  I will definetly use that information for my next marketing promotion.




Posted by Cathy Arzola over 11 years ago


Your post is exactly what I'm talking about.  If you are going to shout at someone, especially in a post (using caps), then take the time to spell check, that was frightening to see a professional retort like that.  COE is out the door, look at our government, it's a mess, been able to get away with whatever for decades.  Real estate agents are no different.

I looked at your website and the #1 rule is NOT TO TALK ABOUT YOURSELF WHICH IS IN THE FIRST PARAGRAPH.  I guess you missed what I said about EGO, which is why I'm not surprised that you slammed Jeff.  If you are going to shout at someone for being arrogant, take the time to spell it correctly.

You expose your level of professionalism when you don't take the time to spell correctly.  There is no excuse for that.  If you are not a good speller, then use spell check.  Scares me to think about your contracts if you do this type of thing publicly.  Did you miss why agents have a bad reputation?  Sloppy.  You need an updated photo on your site, how old is that?



Posted by Cherie Young over 11 years ago


Don't tell anyone.....

Posted by John Cobb, REALTOR - Warner Robins Georgia Homes for Sale, Subdivisions, Foreclosures, Real Estate, New Homes (Fickling & Company) over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff,

Quick aside - I started commenting and would have been post number 142 but the cable guy was outside "fixing" someone elses cable problem and disconnected me. I think many of my comments have been addressed since but here goes:

The old addage, "you get what you pay for" is so true in real estate. Unfortunately, many agents have not kept up with technology and the clients, sellers and buyers, know more than the agent when it comes to the Internet and marketing property on line. I think this problem causes some of the negative survey results. It can also be the reason sellers base their decision on commission and chose the cheapest - they believe all agents are the same and provide the same service.

The focus of my business is on-line marketing and face-to-face. I spend a lot of time, and very little money, creating a strong presence in my market "niche", Interlaken, Lake Isle, Eastchester, NY. Active Rain has been a major component and success factor in these efforts.

I am often teased about having multiple cell phones. "Why does anyone need more than one cell phone?" I am often asked. Each one serves a specific purpose and I explain this. I also need two laptops because I love my Mac and my MLS changed to a new system that only operates on a PC platform, and that is part of the technology problem in real estate. In an age when Web 2.0 creates almost seamless integration among computers, why any company or organization would limit its use to one platform is beyond my imagination.

I love your comments with the "marketing pictures" in your post. I STILL find pictures of the bathroom with the toilet seat up. Aren't the agents paying attention! All the Staging in the world won't correct that problem.

Very recently, an agent said her broker thinks they are giving out TOO MUCH information to buyers and the buyers don't need to contact the agents directly. He thinks we should post fewer pictures, provide less information and that will make the phone ring. I believe this is a common concept among Realtors and unless they join the Information Age/Age of Technology, they should close shop and go out of business. Only then will the perception of value a Realtor can provide change within the market place.

Well Jeff, you touched a nerve.

Have a wonderful day,
Catherine in NY

Posted by Catherine C Capasso, Cottage or Castle, What's Your Dream! (Catherine Cornelia Real Estate) over 11 years ago

That's very interesting and sad. Hopefully, this market will continue to weed out the agents who seem to give the industry a bad name. How come the survey didn't interview my clients? We would have different results. :)

Posted by Jen Bowman, Realtor - Anna Maria Island & Bradenton FL (Keller Williams on the Water) over 11 years ago

Jeff - Great Post... Any post that points out facts or opinions or survey results about Realtors is sure to draw a crowd of comments isn't it?

Thanks for posting the link to the survey

It is great to have the information, after all... Applied knowledge is power, I'm sure we can all learn something from this IF we choose to use it for good, instead of EVIL :)

Posted by Jason Daley, Kitsap County Real Estate, Bremerton, WA Real Estate over 11 years ago


I can tell that you are a kind person to work with.  I like your photos on your site, you look approachable and your photos of yourself and your team member look current.  Feel like you could be someone's friend.  Everyone has a different approach, but right away I get a feeling of kindness.  You can't photoshop that into a picture.

I want to encourage you to rewrite your homepage.  I have never lived in NC, so paint a picture of a lifestyle on your homepage.  What you have done is so remarkable in a down market, you deserve accolades.  But, put that on your "about page."

Can almost feel ocean breezes by coming to your site.  I know this is a template and very basic, but I get it right away.  Laid back, approachable, lifestyle.  Use your flaire for home staging in your homepage text.  You have 10-13 seconds to grab their attention.

Even more important than your listings ~ the ability to search for homes.  I see it on your AA site, flex mls, be sure to have this as your #1 button.  Visitors are searching for homes & want to see your listings.

Love your domain name,, brilliant.  You did not name your site your name, another sign of understanding the internet.  You can forward your name, but you want to treat your website and marketing as though it is valuable real estate that can be sold in the future.  You can't sell your website if the primary domain name is in your name.

Another thing with photos, it's just as important on your website.  For your top banner, find a beach scene where the water looks nice and blue, skies very blue.  Maybe something with a child playing in the sand, or a sandcastle.  Maybe some beach chairs.  Show the visitor that your beach is a fun place to go to, or a quite place that children can play in the sand.  A picture speaks a thousand words.  I like your photo at the top, choose a nice beach photo from,,

You have an excellent start.  And with your background in staging, that is exactly what the market needs right now.  You can take a small amount of money and turn it into the a sale of a home.  Stagers are valuable.  In San Diego, we know the value of staging, so keep up the good work!

Cherie Young
Online Marketing Strategies


Posted by Cherie Young over 11 years ago

Jeff, great post and thanks for linking to the PowerPoint - great information.  I am shocked and dismayed at how many people make lower commission the most important factor.  Though I guess not surprised.  I am a professional stager and am constantly surprised by how many agents out there only want to know price from me, I've even had agents tell me during the initial call they didn't need to see my portfolio because "you all do pretty much the same thing, don't you?"  I was so taken back I was speechless for a moment.  Are you kidding me?  No we all don't do the same thing.  Just like all Realtors are not the same.  But enough of my personal rant...  Real Estate, done right, is an art (just like staging) and that includes (but is not limited to...): internet presence, marketing, pricing (now that is an art...), and knowing where to get competent, professional help when needed - photographers, stagers, fininacing...

Posted by Joanne O'Donnell (Chic Home Interiors) over 11 years ago

Bottom line is that we have to reinvent ourselves in the public eye, but as individuals. I was never one to enjoy being labeled and "real estate agent" had been a dirty word for a long time. When I made the decision to switch careers and get my license, my number one refrain was that I was going to change the perception of the RE agent and become the most caring, attentive agent - ever! After a few years of  successfully selling real estate, I have never ever wavered from giving my clients my absolute respect and attention. I answer emails and calls right away and go out of my way to do whatever I can for my clients. This includes AFTER the closing. I've spackled and painted and driven many miles to accommodate a client. And after a closing? My clients from a year ago had a problem in their building and turned to me for help.I gave them advice, made a bunch of calls and attended an association meeting. The problem was finally solved and the clients were extremely grateful. They're still my clients, of course I'm going to do whatever they need. That's service and that's what will set me apart from the traditional agent. Each of these people has become part of my circle and they know it. I wish more salespeople felt this way!

Posted by Carolyn Shea (Weichert Realtors) over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff,

Excellent article. My company specializes in mystery shopping agents that sell at new home communities. Over the 20 years I have been conducting mystery shops in the new home sales arena, I have seen everything from the superstar to the clueless in the sales centers. It amazes me, that even in the new home industry, there are still agents out there that think the sale comes to them.

Resale is a different animal in many ways. You don't have the builder bank to provide you the marketing tools to drive traffic. However, I have long believed, there are valuable crossovers in both worlds. Each side could learn from the other.

Kudos for your insightful comments. I would love to use this piece in my next newsletter, The Home Front, which goes out on a quarterly basis. Let me know if I have your permission! You would get full credit of course. (

Mary LeBlanc

Posted by Anonymous over 11 years ago

This profession is a constant process of educating people.   After this recent binge of sub prime loans and over priced homes and greed by all, it is only natural that people, consumers, whomever blame the other guy.  The Realtor or the gravey sucking mortgage broker.

It is the wise person who admits their own part in the play. 

The lessons are: always educate consumers on the big picture and be willing to recommend a transaction NOT be done if it is not in their best interest.

AND police our own industry.  I will admit to feeling some regret today for not doing something to expose some of the mortgage brokers and Realtors I suspected of unethical behavior.

One of the best decisions I ever made was hiring a GREAT Realtor to list a group of homes in Park City Utah.   We paid full price and got more than we bargained for.

Posted by Bill Burns over 11 years ago

It's interesting how the majority chose their agent by who offered the lowest commissions, and yet they were dissatisfied by the results. Maybe if they didn't go with a bargain-basement discount agent they'd have gotten better results. There are great agents out there and horrible agents, and you often get what you pay for. I have little sympathy for those who tried to save a few bucks and got burned.

Posted by John Angell over 11 years ago


You seriously hit a nerve X :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Good stuff, thanks for sharing.  I think your statement says it all for me -

"I often state that: While technology won't replace a good real estate Agent, the Agent that properly utilizes technology will replace Agent that doesn't. "

This is happening everyday in my area.

Posted by Tyler Wood, Big Bear Real Estate (RE/MAX Big Bear) over 11 years ago

Wow, quite an eye opener for agents. Being a home staging professional I am looking from the outside in and I were an agent I would have a lot of thinking to do. Also, my pet peeve is terrible marketing photos, such as you're examples, unfortunately seeing photos like that isn't all that unusual. If all agent worked with a home stager they would know that their photos would be top notch and appealing to all potential buyers.  That's all.

Posted by Jill Nelson, Interior Design (Jill Nelson Design Services) over 11 years ago

Ouch, very hard reality to face, but I know it to be true.  Love your blogs and envy you.  I am terrible at the written word - as you can only tell.  I have never been adept at expressing myself on paper but I can talk you ear off in person.  Does anyone one know of a good class on writting for the realtor who does't know everything but loves the internet?

Sharon Shepherd

Century 21 Olde Tyme

Posted by Sharon Shepherd, Realtor, Norco/Riverside, WCR, Relocation, ePRO (Century 21 Olde Tyme) over 11 years ago

Wow, that is very very interesting. I completely see the "lowest commission" point however. Unfortunately I think it is very valid. In the times like now where belts are beginning to tighten up, many deals can be made or broke over a % or 2. I was just in a commission war a few weeks ago and am now a believer. Just as buyers and sellers have market conditions to "roll with" so do we as agents.

Posted by Josh Hunter (Longmont Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Truthfully, I am horrified by the photos or lack of good ones I see on-line..Most folks do not want to speak to an agent until YOU SELL THE HOUSE to them thru the pics..Can't understand why good Realtors aren't either getting a better camers with a wide angle lense, hiring a professional (well worth the modest cost) or at least using some very easy software to beef up those photos up...!

I have found that the free download of Picasa 3 from Google is has many great features that make the rooms look better, brighter and larger...

Posted by Judy Hirshburg, Experience Counts (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago

@Karen-Anne - Someone alerted me that you'd sent a comment back; truly, my comment wasn't meant to offend any "old timers".  Honestly, when I mentioned them, I was referring to those who DON'T keep up with technology.... 

Obviously, you and Mary don't qualify under those terms.  ActiveRain's members are the forefront of this movement to market yourself as a person, to allow the consumer to know you by reading about you and what you do, to not rely on those statements that are, "I can sell that in five days!" or "No money down! No closing costs!". 

People don't want to hear that anymore, and those "Old Timers" that I'm referring to -- the ones going the way of the donkey? -- those are the people who are still relying on buzzwords to bring in business.  It's simply not the way of things anymore, and if those people want to have the business of the new and younger generation that is coming into the market, they're simply going to have to market themselves better and more efficiently by making the connections in the way that THIS generation knows how to connect. 

What good is your experience if your audience doesn't know you exist?  We're talking business here, not respecting nor disrespecting my elders by not hiring them.  Why would I hire some old man still putting ads in the classified section of the newspaper when I could hire you who would market my property online and potentially reach someone like me who connects with people the same way I do who is looking for that starter home like I was when I bought it?  None of my friends or associates purchase an actual physical newspaper anymore, so it makes no sense to me to market in a way that is no longer relevant.  

As to my mother -- well, suffice it to say that she's one classy lady who taught all of her children very well on manners.  She also taught us to speak our minds and be independent.  So let's leave her out of this little tete-a-tete :)  If any offense is to be had here, I strongly feel as though I should be the one feeling it on my mother's behalf.

Posted by Claire C. (ActiveRain Corporation) over 11 years ago

I tweeted a link to the post on Twitter last night around 3 am because IT IS SO GOOD.

Posted by Susie Blackmon, Ocala, Horses, Western Wear, Horse Farms, Marketing over 11 years ago

Come on California, you are giving real estate agents across the nation a bad name.

Posted by Ryan Martin, Bellingham Commercial RE Broker (Windermere Real Estate / Whatcom Inc.) over 11 years ago


Very well said. I'm sure your Mother is very proud of you. I would be :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

In Washington state, it is exponentially more difficult to get a license to cut hair than it is to get a license to practice real estate sales.  I often marvel at how much anguish people expend finding the right stylist than they do finding the right person to handle what will easily be the largest transaction they will have in their life (well, for 99.5% of buyers, at least). 

I love real estate and construction and have licenses and businesses in both.  I am quite frequently (read:VERY FREQUENTLY) astounded by the lack of professionalism and outright poor attitude of many real estate agents who think nothing of being rude, under-educated about many pertinent topics, and carry a sense of entitlement to 3% of any and every transaction.  And at the same, I am just as frequently thrilled to interact with many highly intelligent, warm and engaged real estate professionals. 

I do believe that as our society as a whole becomes more informed (over-informed?) people in many professions who are unable to adapt to the ever-evolving expectations and needs of their customers will be summarily put out of business.  Builders who "build to the site" rather than build something buyers want to buy, agents who don't seek to have a well-rounded knowledge base, mortage brokers who continue to believe that nobody's paying attention to the fine print, and anyone else who fails to show their value are now and will continue to be in big trouble, as well they should!

After this recession, people will move forward demanding even more information and be much more careful about their transactions.  The consumer will no longer tolerate being told what to expect, the consumer will now brazenly outline what they want and search until they find exactly that. 

Commissions are bound to be effected by the new alternatives- it's a simple supply and demand phenomena.  The demand for alternatives to traditional agents and traditional trasaction structures is increasing and the supply will increase alongside it.  Flexibility, agility and adaptation will be paramount to survival. 

Look no further than the travel industry to see what will happen to the real estate industry.  The internet slaughtered the need for traditional travel agents and only those who specialized, showed true value, and adapted to the consumer survived.

Onward and upward!  Be smart, be savvy, be kind and be successful.


Posted by Eleanor Trainor (Ready-Set-List!) over 11 years ago


In my previous life I was a CPA and I will say that I'm appalled, almost on a daily basis, of the lack of professionalism in our "so-called profession".  I agree with most of what you've said in your post and it just doesn't seem it would be that difficult for REALTORS to get out of our little bubble and start thinking like the consumer and acting like the professionals we proclaim to be.  Thanks for the post...should be a real RUDE AWAKENING to many!!

Posted by Deanna Slep...RE/MAX Executive Realty...Charlotte, NC over 11 years ago

I've found another interesting report by RIS Media which "reveals the more photos a listing has, the quicker it sells. A property with a single photo spent 70 days on the market (DOM) on average, while DOM fell to 40 with six photos, 36 with 16 to 19 photos, and 32 with 20 photos. Additionally, listings with one photo sold for 91.2 percent of the original price, while homes with six or more sold for 95 percent of the original price."

Also, check out the FEB 2009 Staging Stat Report prepared by RESA at

This report will provide you with additional knowledge in this industry which WILL definitely assist you and your sellers to consider STAGING FIRST.



Posted by Elaine Vecchioni - Alaynes Home Staging over 11 years ago

Jeff - Sadly to say, this survey and the results don't surprise me.  I'm sure there's another survey out there somewhere about mortgage agents too and the results are probably very similar.  Like so many other commenters stated, until we agents (Real Estate & Mortgage) start improving our reputation as well as our value and level of service, we will become unnecessary to future home buyers and sellers.

It's our responsibility as professionals to weed out the losers and align ourselves with the winners.  Until we do that, we will be at the mercy of the public to do it for us.

Posted by Donne Knudsen, CalState Realty Services (Los Angeles & Ventura Counties in CA) over 11 years ago


I know a lot of the industry has to change. In the resort vacation market we have encompassed the internet faster out of necessity because all of our clients live away from our area. Great post!

Posted by Daniel Seider (BTRE Big Trees Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Great post. Not only does the industry have to change-it is changing. The realtors who don't see the changes or are stubborn will be left behind. As a "marketing professional", it frusterates me to see how some Realtors market themselves. Instead of venting, I'm trying to reach out to them with my design services. If you read this blog post, you probably aren't one of those Realtors because you are making an effort to better yourself by reading this blog post.

Funny you mention the bad photos, because my activerain blog has a post on Taking better photos of real estate.

Thanks for the post! I'm heading out to take photos for a realtor :)

Posted by Calvin Hanson (Design Smart Graphics) over 11 years ago

This blog may come across acerbic to some but nonetheless these are some very valid points.  Either redefine your value proposition or become extinct...

Posted by Patrick F. Fleming over 11 years ago

Excellent BLOG!

When I decided to go to Real Estate school I was SHOCKED at how EASY it was to become a real estate agent.  90 classroom hours and one exam later, you too can be an agent and begin your new real estate career!  Then you deal with agents that don't know how to calculate a net sheet nor do they understand how to even calculate a Seller contribution! Then the listing side of it? That's just plain laziness!

What perplexes me in our industry is how easy it is to go through the schooling and get a license and start working. But in order to maintain your license, THEN you have to take more courses, but albeit I can respect this as our industry is everchanging and we must as professionals keep abreast of new laws, legislation, etc.  And we all know that what you learned in RE school isn't the same as in the real world!

I love what I do and I'm proud to be a professional in this industry.  Too bad for those bad apples in our bunch! I think that if the standards were tougher from the start, many of our "so-called professionals" would have been weeded out from the beginning!

Posted by Jo-Ann Cervin Serving your Real Estate Needs! (Easy Street Realty ) over 11 years ago

Jeff.... I am coming back once in a while just to watch a few feathers fly.  

Posted by Kat DeLong, Realtor DRE#01235311, Lake Arrowhead Real Estate ( (LakeView Realty Enterprises, Inc) over 11 years ago

It seems that this is the general sentiment regardless of what state, county, or city you live in.

Patrick F. Fleming

NYS Licensed R.E. Broker

WorldSelect Real Estate



Posted by Patrick Fleming (WorldSelect® Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Some very usfull information as to what and what not to do. Thanks to all of you.  Wish I had 3 more hours to read all of the comments. Pictures, yes some properties are better off with less pictures, but any Realtor should be able to find at least two good  features on a property that can be printed, even in the worst situations.  A little Staging also can do wonders. If your property owner has no clue, you might have to show them how to. Take your owner to a few really good looking properties on a  "preview tour" so they can see what they are competing with. However, If you list  a good looking property, there is no excuse for not showing it off. Clara

Posted by Clara Hahn over 11 years ago

Jeff, this is a great piece, well researched and articulated. You have made a number of very good points that for some may be hard to accept. That said; there are some exceptions that I would like to take with the conclusions at which you have arrived.

The devil is in the details

Surveys can be a useful tool as part of the information-gathering process we engage in prior to developing business strategies. We must be cautious, however, about the conclusions that we draw from any one part of a survey. Look at Gladwell's coffee analogy in his book "The Tipping Point." In one particular survey the majority of survey respondents, when asked about their coffee preference, indicated that they preferred fresh roasted whole coffee beans from the sun-drenched hills of Hawaii or some Central American country. What do the vast majority of us drink? Coffee that comes in a can that we bought at the local grocery store.

Their Perception, Our Reality

Public perception of our industry has never been particularly great. Consumers have always seen our industry as a necessary and expensive evil. Any time consumers have to buy a product or a service and its cost includes a comma, their expectations are going to be high. Add to that the extremely emotional nature of the move and the attendant turmoil that it creates, and the bar becomes understandably higher.

While there is no question that there are thousands of very good Realtors across the country, the fact remains that for every one true professional there are four others who "dabble" in the business. Undoubtedly most of these people are well intentioned and honest individuals. Unfortunately, they are also uninformed and undereducated and consequently incompetent. Conducting transactions that involve the most valuable asset people own is not something in which one should be "dabbling." Until Broker/Owners, The NAR and local Boards get serious about standards, our industry will be saddled with the negative perceptions brought on by the incredibly unpredictable and unsatisfying experience that consumers are subjected to by more than just a few Realtors. How long before the states get serious about licensing requirements and regulation? Will it take as many as 1.3 million members of NAR and 4.3 million transactions? Give me a break. Admit it; the barriers to entry in our industry are pretty darn low.  Until that changes, customer satisfaction levels will remain dismal.

 "Where's the beef?"

Think the Internet has changed our business in the past 10 years? Wait till the next 10 years pass! Think that the "100%" concept changed the business model? That will be nothing in comparison with the tsunami of change that is on the horizon. When Realtors lost the proprietary relationship they had with the data, the writing was on the wall. When the core of the value proposition that Realtors brought to the table went away ("I have the information, you don't"), the game changed forever.

"I'll put your home on the Web"

Thanks to the Internet, consumers can now do what only the Realtor could do just seven or eight years ago. Available properties? No problem. Comparable sales you ask? Right at their fingertips. There are of course some Internet companies that permit only agent-provided listings on their sites but how long will that last? How long before the DOJ forces open access to all Realtor sites in the name of restraint of trade. Tick tock tick tock...

If I can get the information myself, what else do I get for the commission I pay?

Any Realtor who believes that technology in and of itself is the answer to our growing issues with customer dissatisfaction is badly mistaken. The consumer's access to data and the real estate industry's reaction to it are central to the issue of value received for services rendered. "I'll put your listing on the Web" is not a marketing plan. Before long sellers will have equal access to all sites. Remember; price is an objection only in the absence of value. The potential revenue stream that future FSBOs represent will be far too attractive for Internet pure plays to pass up. 

Survey says what??!!

The idea that 96% of agents use print is simply not accurate. In fact, simultaneous with the drop in seller's satisfaction with their agent over the past two years has been a significant reduction in the number of agents who use a balanced marketing approach that includes print.

What kind of print?

The idea that print is dead grew out of the issues facing newspapers - the fact that the daily newspaper has been replaced by the Web and television as a source of news is simply not germane to the argument of whether or not print is or is not part of an effective marketing strategy.

An October 2008 survey by Mediamark Research and Intelligence showed that there are 23 million more magazine readers today than there were in 1994 when the Internet went "mainstream." Even more interesting is the fact that readership rates correlated with age; younger adults and women (the decision makers!) are more likely to be magazine readers.

The reality is simple - people picked up a newspaper for dozens of reasons; people pick up real estate magazines for one reason and one reason only: they are interested in real estate. The Latest NAR survey is very clear about one thing though. There are a very large number of people using the Web as part of their real estate search. However, only 3% of visitors to real estate websites are there specifically to find an agent.



Entertaining ourselves to death

I am not a young man, so perhaps I have missed the boat on this but - I have a Twitter account because, I was asked by other "Twitterers" to join. I guess that I can allow people to "follow me." Thank you very much, but I don't care to be "followed," nor can I think of five people in the entire world that I would care to "follow." The potential dangers of social networking are real. Buyers and sellers, while they may not be "lurking" on your Facebook site, will include visits to social networking sites as part of their due diligence when evaluating potential agents. Having pictures of you on the beach in Cancun doing tequila shooters out of your partners bathing suit is probably not the image you are want to convey.

 So what's a girl to do?

Start with involvement with your local, state and national association of Realtors. Lobby for stiffer regulation of the industry. If we regulate ourselves, perhaps we won't be subjected to the whimsy of state and federal regulators.

Get smart. If the consumers are dissatisfied that's likely due to the fact that expectations are either not explained or explored up front or they are being ignored. While it is rather unlikely that we will ever reach a 100% approval rate, we will never get close if we don't communicate more clearly.

Even for many very good Realtors, effective marketing seems to remain a mystery. There is a BIG difference between marketing and advertising. Learn the four "Ps" of marketing:  Product, Price, Place and Promotion. Realtors have limited control over some of the "Ps," but they do have control over the promotional aspects. There are a lot of consumers out there, and they use a variety of resources when considering a purchase. To buy into the concept that the Web is the only place you need to market yourself is to relegate yourself to the status of a commodity. Sellers know that the Web is cheap, which only contributes to their angst over value received for the price paid!



Posted by Anonymous over 11 years ago

Still amazed at the time and thought put into all these comments...

Real quick about print advertising.  IMO, its a dead (dying) medium for real estate yet still has great upside for many other industries.

Posted by Jeff Corbett (BoomTown) over 11 years ago

Any agent who doesn't know how to take a good picture should hire a photographer. No excuses. You're getting paid a nice commission. Earn it.


Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 11 years ago

@TLW - ;)

Posted by Claire C. (ActiveRain Corporation) over 11 years ago

Great info and title! 

Posted by Garrick Werdmuller (Caliber Home Loans) over 11 years ago

Amazed at the discussion here.  Boy, just goes to show...nothing gets a bigger response that saying 'Realtors Suck'.  Either we are clearly defensive, we agree, or both.  :)

Posted by Linsey Ehle (M Realty) over 11 years ago

Ok, so the solution is to be more professional, take better photos, and expect less money. Correct? I think that what Realtors do for  clients is minimized in the eyes of consumers because there is so much information available--it looks easy, "piece of cake, I can do this. why do I need an agent?". Yes, it can seem "easy" when there are no problems foreseen. How many transactions in the world of real estate are without some challenges?

So, do we take the position that consumers know more than we do? Are they sitting in classes getting licensed, taking CE's, learning more and more? No... they want enough info to sell their home.  Consumers know enough to get themselves into trouble.

Love us or hate us it is the consumer who loses when he thinks he can get along very well without us.

Posted by John March, "Engage, connect, prosper" (Matt 6:33) (Charisma Media Group, LLC) over 11 years ago


Some of your comments here are insightful and well thought out. You should consider turning some of them into Blog posts. You really should :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago


Everytime BB tries to comment on this post his pc freezes up. Something in your sidebar appears to be conflicting with IE. He asked me to let you know. And...Yup, in spite of my protests he still uses IE :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Jeff, I think it really depends on what market you are in. In my market the top agent doesn't not even have a website. he does however have about 500 REO listings and closes between 50-60 transactions a month to the tune of roughly 175 million in business for 2008.

Nationwide about 50% of the closings this year have been distressed properties. Do you really think these short sale sellers and institutional sellers care if we blog?

In my area of Florida 85% of the transactions are distressed sales. it doesn't matter at all what Mr and Mrs regular seller want from their agent because they have no chance of selling anyway.

So it really depends on the market. My knowledge of short sales is what gets me business. Not only am I able to charge a higher commission but I also charge upfront transaction fees. The commissions are increasing because the few regular sellers that are in a position to sell know they need an experienced agent to help them maneuver in this difficult market.

I do agree though that many REALTORS(R) suck :)

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 11 years ago

HI Jeff, like all surveys there is some truth here.  I too hate seeing the bad pictures on the MLS, consumers see those and it makes no sense to them either. And we are allowed 12 photos on our MLs many times one only sees 1.  What kind of representation is that? Little to none, if I were that seller I would fire that agent and tell the whole world how he/she sucked too!   Fortunately there are many good Realtors out there.. .so the consumer needs to know we don't all SUCK.  And you are right we need a good website and blog to help let the consumer know we are here.  Ready to help them be it for a $50,000 home or a $800,000 home.  Customer service should be the same at any price.

Posted by South Austin Real Estate Blog (Sky Realty South Austin) over 11 years ago

Hello Jeff,

I'm located in Ontario Canada and find that the survey results in California do not shock me at all.  When will real estate agents understand that the public is now empowered and use the internet as much as possible to research a prospective real estate agent.  Why wouldn't they, it's so efficient.

I feel that Mike Parker stated it perfectly when he said that in a few years "It won't be possible to succeed in real estate without a strong Internet presence."  This is music to my ears!

I wish you all the best in your real estate career,


Posted by Mark Argentino over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff,

I also wanted to add that regarding the issue of photos of the listing, if an agent can't take 20 or 30 photos of a $400,000 home and post them on their website and blog or post the maximum on their local mls system, then they are doing a huge disservice to their sellers.  I wish the sellers knew that they were being under-represented when photos are missing or of poor quality.

Thanks again,


Mississauga Real Estate

Posted by A. Mark Argentino (RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc.) over 11 years ago

One of the best and most eye opening blogs I've ever read!  Thank you.  I look forward to hearing you in class tomorrow.

Posted by Wendy Ferguson, CSS, CFS (Arkansas Property Brokers) over 11 years ago

Finally!  Someone who says it like it is for once.  Of course most of the prima donas won't see themselves but, that's ok the rest of us know who they are, LOL.  Loved, loved your article.  Right on the money.  I hope all the new agents use your article as an outline and start out on the right foot.  There is too much sloppy real estate going on everywhere and it needs to stop. 

Thanks for writing, keep it up!

Posted by Ana Lee over 11 years ago

Some serious comments here.  I did a post on PA buyer stats not that long ago and they were eerily similar.  Just today I sat and helped a fellow agent improve some photos she had taken at a listing.  She's buying me lunch!  Hmmm.  Business model?

Posted by Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff,

You are right on the MONEY.  Interesting how some agents just don't get it.  You don't have to be a rocket scientist to see the shift and trends.....or perhaps you do????  The interesting sidebar is that those who really need to read this probably are not Active Rain members because they are not in the loop.



Posted by Kelly Parks, M.S., Broker/Owner (Paris Gibson Realty) over 11 years ago

I am a relatively new REALTOR(R), just past my second year in the business and have worked a lot of hours learning the internet, computer and blogging in general.  Not to mention short sales.  I have talked to other agents until I am blue in the face about marketing online.  The majority just don't get it.  Thank goodness I do and am working on improving my position!  AR Rocks! AR Educates!  Thanks to all of you who so unselfishly give your knowledge and help.  Great Post!

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Trust me.... I have worked with plenty.

Most DO SUCK!!


Most are part time though..... So this is not news!!



Posted by Tom Burris, Texas/Louisiana Mortgage Pro - 13 YRS Experience (NMLS# 335055) over 11 years ago

I would have to say that the industry has a big contributor to the whole "you suck" perception held by the general public, NAR.   Given what has been happening in the housing industry over the past couple of years, and NAR's early on denial of facts and blowing sunshine everywhere, its no wonder. 

However, that doesn't let individuals off the hook.  I just posted about one broker who refused to let me negotiate directly with his seller on a unique situation on a very distressed property.   He was not doing his clients any favors. 

As to "experience" and the TLA's after everyone's name, fagetaboutit, the public has. These have pretty much become just designations to brag about at RE industry events and with colleagues. You know, "Mine's bigger than yours".

Good article.

Posted by Mick Michaud, Your Texas Lifestyle is Here! (Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107) over 11 years ago

LOL @ Mike .. That whole mine is bigger than yours wraps things up :)

And...BB finally broke down and loaded FireFox :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Great post, I am going to share this with the rest of my team today to keep us on track.

Posted by Brenda Magness, Brenda Magness Realty Group, Southlake, Texas (Ebby Halliday REALTORS, Southlake) over 11 years ago

Incredible post, man - and what a wake up call!

In today's market, a potential listing agent comes in not as the savior, but as the executioner!  Their home - the one they have lived in for so many years, and taken care of, is truly worth far less than they think it is.

Then, an agent has the gaul to tout why he or she is the ONLY soluction, and why his or her fee is "well justified," before they justify anything!

Agents not getting with the program are simply getting frustrated - and soon will be out of our business. 

You've got to evolve, man, or die!

Great post!


Posted by Dean Moss, Dean's Team Chicago IL Real Estate Team (Dean's Team - Keller Williams Realty Partners Chicago IL) over 11 years ago

We have seen an evolution in how agent's market their properties and the only viable solution is using online media tools such as

This virtual tool solution not only provides a prospective buyer with photos, both still and via a Walk Thru, but also the added component of the floorplan rendering. The agent also has links to a customized flyer, area map, and printable plan. One stop resource...check it out.


Posted by Cathy Major (FloorPlanOnline) over 11 years ago

As long as there are buyers and sellers out there who will continue to hire sucky agents, they'll still be around. I'm shocked each and every day by what I see. I'm not surprised at all by the survey. I agree and I tell most of clients, that realtors do suck and most of them are lazy and overpaid. Then I step in and explain what separates me from all the turkeys I have to deal with. Works pretty much every time. 

Posted by Jeff Daniel, Managing Broker, John L. Scott 360.581.9020 (John L. Scott Ocean Shores) over 11 years ago

Any one whom had a negative reaction to the survey and posting, it's probably because it hit a nerve, its  tough looking in the mirror some times.  And oh by the way, could Realtors or photographers, please learn to put the toilet lid down before they take the picture??? l.o.l.  Ive seen empty room pictures with a mop bucket in the middle of the room, really is it so hard to move the bucket take the picture then return the bucket, better yet how about put it AWAY!

Posted by Sheila Santini, GRI (Waterfront and Boaters paradise Realtor! ) over 11 years ago

Absolutely true! To overcome this negative image and change things around for the entire industry, we will all have to work very hard... There are still  a lot of agents who go by their hard-set rules of spending not more than 10% of their potential commission on advertising for the property they list... Who are they kidding?

To be considered a try professional, a business person, an entrepreneur, just like in any other business, you need to spend money to make money. Do your job well, so you can sleep at night.  Than the perception will change.

Posted by Joanna Gerber over 11 years ago

As Realtors and agents, we need to turn this negative customer attitude around. 

Let's get out a changed message that CUSTOMER SERVICE IS WHAT WE ARE ALL ABOUT.

Realtors care for their customers and friends, take care of needs of clients, are careful with their real estate business and what's necessary to help people, use correct and up to date information when informing clients and the public, keep educated about real estate law and trends, and tell the truth and abide by the code of ethics.

Information available from and through Realtors is indispensible for a successful purchase or sale transaction.

Your Local and State Association of REALTORS® Provides Excellent Information For Buyers & Sellers (see my article)


Posted by Harrison K. Long, REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney (HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty) over 11 years ago

I didn't read every response here but my opinion is this. Consumers who are the most vocal are the ones who feel they were short changed or cheated. As Agents we need to make sure our clients best interest is always first and make sure they know how we are puting them first. We can do a lot our clients never see therefore when they see us collect a commision they think all we did was a short presentation and take a few pics or just show a few houses. If we show what we actually do and the time we spend on thier behalf they become much happier and more likely to think they got a good deal. As with any product it's value not price. Stress th value. Think of the services you use. Why do you use them? You see benefit! Show you prospects the benefits.

Posted by Dale Falkowski, The Honest Agent Full Time Pro (Remax Town & Country) over 11 years ago

Let's remember a couple of things here.  First, this was not a comprehensive survey of both sellers and buyers.  So, broad-based generalizations of both buyers and sellers agents is making a leap to a grand conclusion from a limited set of facts.  This is a zero sum game folks.  For every disgruntled seller, there is a buyer who is delirious.  In point of fact, it is the reality of being a Seller's Agent that sucks!

Posted by Bart Schroeder over 11 years ago

Wow, didn't know I sucked.  Maybe I live in a bubble, but I love my job, and so far that has been reflected back to me.

"if you want a clean world, sweep your own front porch"

Posted by Kathleen Frawley, South County Sacramento, 916 730 4404 (Keller Williams 916 730-4404 Elk Grove, Wilton, Folsom, Sacramento) over 11 years ago

.....ah...the individuals....

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 11 years ago

I just have to add my two cents to the many responses. 

I think this information (as well as the advice) is so relevant today.  We as agents are constantly having to prove our worth whether working with buyers or sellers.  Here is a guideline to help us become more proactive, current and professional.



Posted by Gloria Laughton Allston, Realtor(NJ)/Broker(NY) (COLDWELL BANKER RESIDENTIAL BROKERAGE) over 11 years ago

WOW Jeff! Way to get everybody talking. It is hard to keep track of your points when you read so many of the comments. You get distracted.

I agree with you that most agents SUCK! I myself have sucked at some parts of my career. I don't like to admit it, but I haven't been through a downward market shift. It helps me realize I need to keep educating myslelf. I have to make myself a better agent and lose my bad habits. I have marketed properties overpriced not relizing how soft the market has become. Was I doing a disservice to my clients? Not on purpose, but when I realized it, I had to change my services. I do what is called a "forcasted market analysis", rather than a "current market ananlysis". I advise on prices that will keep your property ahead of the market trend in your area. I'm up front with seller about where the market is going. I talk about price adjustments in our initial meeting. Alot of it is about education. We as agents can only interpret the market, we don't make it. Know your stats. Educate your clients and then your value will come through. But you do have to know more than what they can find on the internet. Know your DOM, the median prices, the absorption rates of the areas you work. Bring them the hot deals before the send them to you. Help them get there houses ready for better pictures. If you don't know how, hire somebody to help you.

I love it when my clients are internet savvy. They are easier to deal with and they understand our lingo better. As someone who uses the internet, I do alot of my research there to start. I could look at 100 guitars online, but eventually I want to hold one, and play it. I will research the right questions so I know what to ask the salesperson ahead of time. But, I wouldn't buy a guitar off the internet. They like homes are unique and have to be physically handled. Homes are the same.

The agents who know there value proposition and can relay it to their clients will succeed.

I think there will always be a place for agents and the internet, but the agents who don't sharpen their bag of tools right now, will be left behind. Don't fight technology. Embrace it!

Posted by Ryan Allie, Creating Your Puget Sound Lifestyle (Living Puget Sound) over 11 years ago

Studying the sucesses of other Realtors and being able to look into the minds of the consumer puts me up a flight or two above the rest.

Posted by Sabrina Kelley, Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land (ERA Herman Group Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Jeff:  Uh . . . WOW.  What an eye opener.  My sister and I joke that no one likes Realtors, guess we're right.  Regarding photos, I blogged on that topic a while back.  I cannot believe the lack of concern some show towards this advertisement of the property they're representing.  It always surprises me that the homeowner doesn't object.

Posted by Carrie Sampron, ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R (Home Smart Realty Group) over 11 years ago

The title "Survey Says-Realtors Suck" stirs the emotions at first glance.  I thought the article was great and appreciate the post.  Hopefully it will get Realtors of the ol' School to open their eyes to technology and how wonderful it is. 

Posted by Brian Togubat over 11 years ago

Look, isn't there good and bad in EVERY industry?  I know some really bad lawyers and doctors, it's not just the real estate industry. I pride myself in what I do and I do a pretty good job, always learning and improving, isn't that what life's about?   So, it is what you make it.  Anyone who puts the industry down probably is ANGRY because they couldn't pass the exam, is my guess or they tried it and didn't have "staying power".  

Century21Alliance, NJ  

Posted by Laura Castellucci over 11 years ago

Some of your article is dead on, the part about the photos, and the fact that some agents still use the papers for ads and the fact that many agents don't do a very good job. Some agents do a very poor job.

However, that could be in almost any line of work, in fact I think reporters fit right into that mold also. Some will do anything to get a story & then distort it to fit their adgenda. Then there are the professionals who will give you their opinion along with the truth.

 The part about the public choosing the cheapest and then complaining about what they get is not surprising either.  If they would search for qualified professional with CRS,GRI, e-Pro designations from the National Association of Realtors, and then have bad experience, it would be rare.  I hope the public gets more information about the difference between an "agent"  and a Realtor.  It's like the difference between a rent a cop working part time at the mall and the State Attorney General.  They are both doing law enforcement. 

There is an old saying I'm sure most people have heard, "you get what you pay for", well sometimes you don't even get that much when you go for the cheapest.  Pay a fair price get a fair deal.  How much interest is the cheapest agent going to have in doing the best job for someone who doesn't want to pay a fair price for their knowledge & expertise in negotiating, marketing etc.

Posted by Clyde Ellingwood, CRS, GRI, e-PRO over 11 years ago

Way to go out on a limb my friend. Exactly what every agent needs to see!  gonna put  you up on our Tallahassee FB page. ; ) You validate everything I have said...and will say again in about 2 min.! ROCK  ON!

Posted by Debbie Kirkland (Century 21 First Story Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Hi Jeff~ There are a LOT of Realtors that are on activerain and NOT on activerain that are fantastic!    You just skimmed the surface  in here and picked out the most popular ones. You really left a lot of really good ones out...... Just wondered if you have ever used a Realtor yourself for a purchase or a sale?  

Posted by Vickie McCartney, Broker, Real Estate Agent Owensboro KY (Maverick Realty) over 11 years ago

Brilliant. I didn't find myself amongst the bad apples, but you have inspired me to change up my business model slightly. This post is one of the more popular ones that I have seen in the real estate community. I have seen references to it popping up all over the place and have even seen some "rebuttals." If someone was offended by your post...GOOD! I saw someone refer to it as rude and that some of the comments were rude. I did not read every single comment but the majority seem positive. You have hit the nail on the head. I believe that your remarks are right on. Thank you!

Posted by J. Mark Bangerter (Ascension Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Well I agree, I am a memebr of CAR and I hope the association does something about what has happend to the industry.  Fax me your Highest and best with no response or better yet what I see tonight " 


Hmmm ya think this is listed way below what the bank will accept??

Do we really have any value??? I was told today by another Realtor when asking where they were in the short sale process and I quote "You don't understand this is a seller's market and we haven't accepted an offer yet to send to the Banks".  Fair enough I said, this property is listed well below market value and I asked if the seller would accept the listed price and the REALTOR laughed and said we have offers well above the listing price.  I could go on, so I won't, I hope you see where I'm going with this.  I really hope the association comes down on listing agents that continue to mislead the public and sell well above listed price continually.  The REO listing agents, well I won't even go there.  So yes, in this market we have lost our value when this is how we as professionals conduct business.  You know who you are...


Posted by Scott S over 11 years ago

I think agents tend to have myopia when they hear negative comments from consumers.  I agree with this survey.  I had 3 real estate transactions before I became an agent and they all sucked, and I thought all 3 of my agents could have cared less about me, one couldn't even spell basic words, the other never responded for a day or two after the purchase agreement was signed (even after talking to her broker) and the list goes on.

Agents (not all agents) need to wake up and realize that many consumers view us a either one step above or below used car salesman.

The barrier to entry is so low in this field it's beyond ridiculous.

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) over 11 years ago

Thanks for some of the graphs.  Yes, many REALTORS need to consider what they do and what they are paid for.  Using California is about as good as using the Mars as a typical market place.  Five years ago the first question out of a sellers mouth was "What is your commission".  You did not have to have any skills to market and negotiate a sale as a REALTOR.  Three of my last four listings wanted to know what I was going to do to get their home SOLD and how I would negotiate a low offer.  Definately, paper advertising is not worth the cost and effort.  Open houses are as good as you make them.  If you stop talking and listen to the potential buyer it could result in a sale.  In one year I sold nine of my open houses every other year I have sold at least three. Sellers and buyers expect the lastest technology although they do not expect to have no personal service and no contact.  That seems to be the biggest problem!

Thanks for your effort,


Posted by Kurt Albers - Century 21 Humpal, Inc. Loveland, Colorado over 11 years ago

I have found this post to be SOOOoo true, even with the derogatory language in the subject line.... ;-)

I have premission from my broker to advertise ALL my offices listings on my real estate website......

BUT...I only advertise a SMALL percentage of them, because of the HORRIBLE quality of the pictures I see.

This is NOT just on homes priced in the $50-150,000 category...BUT I found exquisitely HORRIBLE pictures for homes priced in the upper $250s to over $500,000 dollars......

COME ON people !!! You are supposed to be MAKING MONEY as a real estate agent...get some picture taking skills......



Posted by Alexander Harb, Dallas, Texas Real Estate Investing (Knights Investing) over 11 years ago

You have to wonder sometimes when an online shoe store such as Zappos has seven (yes SEVEN) professionally shot photos of a shoe (yes, a shoe) PLUS a close up photo, and most real estate listings have fewer photos than that - and most are dark, blurry and crooked on top of it!

Realtors are sellings homes worth hundreds of thousands (or millions!) of dollars.  90% of buyers start their search online.  Therefore, that internet presentation is SO IMPORTANT.  "Curb appeal" of yesterday is "web appeal" today.  Buyers (right or wrong) are making their initial decisions completely based on the presentation they see on their computer screen.  90% of them!

It seems like less than 10% of Realtors actually understand the disservice they are doing to their sellers with the abysmal presentation online!  MLS photos by design are small - that right there is a negative that can't be changed.  Many MLS systems limit the number of photos to 10-12 - again - that is a negative that can't be changed.

But the presentation that is viewed by the buyer CAN be changed!

For example, here in New Hampshire, the photos are tiny and a maximum of 12 are allowed.  Yet, with one click on a virtual tour link from the MLS, you CAN show a presentation like this.  This is the virtual tour link directly from the MLS, yet you have almost 50 FULL SIZE, professionally taken photographs PLUS a video tour!  

There are obviously ridiculous rules in play by the MLS to hinder your presentation (like the size and number of photos and the ridiculously short description allowed), but you CAN expound on it with the proper use of virtual tours.  



Posted by Fred Light, Real Estate Video Tours for MA and NH (| Nashua Video Tours) over 11 years ago

Jeff ... I regret for the sake of Realtors and members of the public that you took such a negative journalistic approach to your spin on the CAR survey from 2008.  Your commentary approach could easily have been more neutral.

It is true that we should address the negative public perception of Realtors and real estate agents.  Much of that public negative thought is deserved. 

We need to find the Realtors and agents who are not trustworthy, who are not truthful, who are not educated about business and real estate, who do not act according to the Realtor Code of Ethics, who work for their own intersest alone, and who do not care about customer service ... then get them on track for success, or get them out of the business.

I hope that consumers look at our business, at our real estate blog, at my FaceBook, at my Twitter stream, read my articles and answers on Trulia, Zillow & ActiveRain, evaluate our IDX, the quality of our marketing, and see how we engage with people there.

We are dedicated to our clients and customer service  ... take real estate and business seriously, while enjoying the opportunity to connect with folks who care about us and want to find out how we can help them.

Posted by Harrison K. Long, REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney (HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty) over 11 years ago

Jeff - Well I finally made it through all of the comments. I do agree with everything you said in your post. Many REALTORS need a wake up call, I only hope they recognize themselves when and if they read your post. Thanks for the thought provoking post.

Posted by Kathie Burby, REALTOR, SFR, Tuolumne County Real Estate Guide (Coldwell Banker Mother Lode Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Hello Jeff

I believe your summation of real estate professionals and the consumer commentary from the survey is accurate across the boards. You mentioned several points that I have wondered about my self, such as when I open the newspaper and see sales listings...some times without pics and the photo of the agent next to the ad...I feel sad for these folks. I was, however, a little surprised to see someone, who clearly has his finger on the pulse of the industry, so surprised that all of this exists. 

Whenever I get a call from a prospective client, one of the first questions I get is, "What kind of commission do you charge?" Choosing agents based on the lowest commission does not mean that consumers have a low opinion of agents - it means they want to save money! If I go to Best Buy to purchase a televison, and there are two 42" 1080 P models that I want, let's say the Sony is $1100 and the Sharp is $1200...I bet I would take the Sony model. It's only going to go down in value anyway! All the survey showed is that people want a bargain...and hasn't that always been true, especially now.

Real Estate agency is not going away. As someone said earlier in this stream, we give the consumer time, sweat, stress, research, and knowledge of the local area in which we work and don't ask for a dime unless we find them a property AND they take it. The consumer knows this and that is why people relocating to another area use agents. Everyone, I mean everyone, whom I know personally uses an agent to buy or sell a home. The public at large ovewhelmingly uses an agent for home sales. The percentages are even higher in the retail, commercial, and industrial sectors of the industry. people have jobs to work, children, pets, and family members to take care of, and lives to lead...we are there to do the leg work for them.

Another perpetual issue is that our industry is a real mixed bag.  No one wakes up and says, " I think next year I'll be a doctor or a lawyer, my friend made a lot of money doing it last year."  This, obviously, is because the level of commitment, money, and schooling necessary for those occupations is prohibitive for most people. But, take a single course, pass a single comprehensive test, and pay the licensing fee and you're an agent! In a few weeks, you could be affiliated with an office, responding to Craigslist ads or advertising your own services, and handing your business cards to friends.  This is the reason why the failure rate in this industry is so high and why you hear continual gripes by consumers about bad experiences with disorganized and uninformed agents. No one works as a doctor or lawyer on the side, yet police, firemen, waitresses, bartenders, and the unemployed try their hand at real estate.

Where you see stagnancy, bad PR, and technological insolvency, I see opportunity. If your competition looks unattractive and is behind the times, be all of the things the savvy consumer in this info age wants you to be and grab a bigger share of the market.


Michael Licchi, Prudential Prime Properties, Boston


Posted by Michael Licchi over 11 years ago


This post is destined to be a post that never dies. I have a few of those myself and of course I vividly remember the last post you put up that took months to die down :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Good post.  There are Realtors out there that don't deserve to be in this business.  It is all about the consumer.  That is why we are supposed to be in this business.  Yes, it used to be that we always heard about all the "rich" Realtors and many folks got in the business just because of the "big" commissions.  Well, yes, I want to make the commissions also, but not at the expense of my Buyers.  My Sellers know what they are paying when we take the listings.  We do market our listings to just about every type of media available and we show them where their properties will be advertised.  Most of us Realtors work extremely hard for the commission we receive and I have taken enough educational classes and have been told over and over again "do not negotiate your commission".  If I have to discuss it, I take it to my Broker, that is the ultimate decision maker.  We all need to be as educated as we can be because our customers/clients are also getting more educated because of the internet and the many publications out there that they can read.  I try very hard to give mine Buyers/Sellers as much information as I can about the processes involved and I try very hard to stay in touch (sometimes it isn't as often as it should be).  Here goes the "I's
.  I work very hard at my business, I get all the education that I can afford at any given time so I cn better serve my clients/customers with the most up-to-date information, I take my own pictures of my properties and most of the time they are very good.  I don't take picures of rooms that need to be cleaned because of the filth, not the clutter.  Even if you only take one picture to put on the MLS to start, that's  at least one plus.  Most people that are looking for homes or property want more and more pictures.  How else are they going to know what it looks like if they live in ND and your property is in Texas.  Well, I can go on and on also, but guess you got me started also.  Guess my big soap box is education.  They more we have the better we become and as far as designations go, if the person in front of you doesn't know what those letters stand for, explain them.  Wouldn't you want the doctor you are seeing to explain all those letters behind his name if you didn't understand them and he was treating you for some horrible disease or just a sore throat?  Same thing.  Think about that.

Any way, it is a good post and plan on printing it out and giving it to the rest of my office to read and take head.

Posted by Emily Hudkins (Shepherd Nelson Realty, L.L.C.) over 11 years ago

Does anyone have a river to put out the flames of this post?  Yikes!  Sometimes, the truth hurts.  None the less, it's the truth.  More consumer, less "me" is a motto we should all adobt.  Get rid of the plaques on your walls, the consumer doesn't give a hoot about them.  And, take a class on how to shoot great pics.  No 2nd chances to make a 1st impression.  

Jeff ~ Right on with your bad self :)  

Posted by Melinda (Mel) Peterson, The Blessed Realtor - ABR, CRS (Grants Pass, OR) over 11 years ago

I like the photo descriptions you took the liberty of writing...funny stuff!  Yes, there are many "bad" agents out there that cause the publics poor perception for the rest of us.  You know how it is, if someone has a bad encounter they tell 10x more people than if they had a good one.

Posted by Sonya Loose, Helping Buyers & Sellers of Waterfront Property (Modern Realty) over 11 years ago TLW said, these are not comments most are post!  A few things things amaze me about the response to your post;

1.  Agents that are amazed by the survey results...have they been living under a rock all these years?

2.  Totally agree with Lynn, "one of these days, someone, perhaps now yet born, will seek positive opinions from consumers and seek positive reasons consumers closed on successful transactions due to the actions of performance of their agent. Sadly that does not make the news, and the satisfied consumer is the silent majority."  The # S do not represent enough people for a true picture.

3.  The length of the comments is staggering...with so many agents being defensive, or letting their EGO egogo crazy in the opposite direction.

I have no problem charging what I do, and most of the time I believe it's not enough for the time & work involved.  I believe a lot of Realtors don't give themselves enough credit!  They beat themselves up way too much.

A.J., whoever you are, I hope you come back to Jeff's post, along with a couple of other commenter's.  I would like to recommend the following Time magazine article to you;

Time - Busybodies & Crybabies - Whats Happening to the American ...

 - Apr 7Each approach, that of busybody or crybaby, is selfish, and each poisons the sense of common cause. The sheer stupidity of each seeps into public discourse ..

Gary Woltal recently wrote a post about all of us taking responsibility for our actions....not just Realtors, everyone!  That post only got 40 comments compared to Jeff's post "Realtors Suck" has 288 as of my comment!

There is great and awful service in all professions, not just ours.  Let's focus on being or becoming great at whatever you decide to do in your life and business.  Liz

Posted by Liz Carter, Broker/Owner of Liz Carter & Team Realty, Katy TX (Houston) (Liz Carter & Team Realty-Your Real Estate Resource For Life!) over 11 years ago

The interesting thing is to be yourself at all times & not just when you are not in front of clients. As for the survey? I wonder what their attitude was like when they were whoring out their homes like credit cards? 50% appreciation? I bet they were MUCH happier.

Agents are the scapegoat & and easy one. It takes more than one to dance. Educated buyers & sellers know that the consumer helped create this pathetic mess.

We can't assume the public will take blame. I wonder what a survey would say about walstreet right now? What about in 1998? or 2006 when the dow hit 14,500? Same with lawyers, cops and everyone else.

How about a survey for the chicago cubs as a winning team?

Posted by Greg Nino, Houston, Texas (RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP) over 11 years ago

Jeff, truly amazing. I've not seen so many comments on one post before.

Words that come to mind:

staying relevant.

communicating value.

I know that realtors provide services: tasks that I don't do well, or don't want to do.

But times do change, exponetially faster now, than when I started composing this comment.

Posted by Andrew Haslett, Heartland of Kentuckynulls, Best Home Inspector (Van Warren Home Inspections, NAHI CRI) over 11 years ago

This does not surprise me, most people believe Realtor's are on the same level as Lawyers.

Posted by Trela Bird, Realtor, Salt Lake City Utah (Urban Utah Homes & Estates) over 11 years ago

 The real bummer is that the agents who really neeed to read this are SO clueless, they aren't even on AR!  Thanks for aharing.

Posted by Amy Boxer (Pura Vida Design Group, Inc) over 11 years ago


Have you considered "Sponsoring A Featured Post"? It's a pretty good deal and you'll reach a much wider audience :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Wow Jeff, Most of the comments here are more like blogs.  Your post was great and the discussion and comments even better.  It's time we all realized that we're here to provide a service, and those of us who focus on our clients and their needs, instead of ourselves and our commissions will win them over as clients for life.  Sadly for every one of the good agents out there, there are multiple others that may indeed "suck".

Posted by Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528, Real Estate Salesperson (Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956) over 11 years ago

Jeff, Thanks for sharing the survey results and really stirring the pot. The survey results don't suprise me at all. I hear the talk about what people think of Realtors / Real Estate agents and I absolutely hate the stereotype we fall under. We have a choice: to remain status quo or make a change. It is not easy to change an entire group at once so we all need to vow to make that change, one at a time. Thanks Jeff! BTW the call with Tim Harris was a perfect follow to the post, keep up the good work.  

Posted by Dave over 11 years ago

Great information, and the photos were hilarious!

Posted by Pam Canova over 11 years ago

I've bought several properties over the years and I fall into the category of thinking this industry sucks. I know it offends everyone, but that's just my observation.  I'd say 1/3 of the low end homes in LA don't have ANY photos posted on the MLS. I see homes where the listing agent's commission is over $20,000 and they couldn't be bothered to post ONE photo. It is a rarity to see more than 7 photos or a decent description even on homes for $500,000.  Listing agents constantly try to downgrade the price for a quick sale and if the listing is low enough, you will NEVER get a return call from the listing agent unless you accept them as your buyer's agent too. That's not even counting the outright fraud of many agents who will convince older sellers on a low price and have it bought up through a friend. Yes, it does happen OFTEN in LA. And, I know you are all thinking "gosh, those So Cal realtors are giving the industry a bad reputation" - come on, if your industry was providing a real service, why keep the MLS as your own monopoly. Although most agents are not honest enough to admit it, there is no way your parasitic industry could survive in a free market based only on the "value" you provide. You only extort 6% because you control the MLS and boycott the competition (discount brokers, FSBO). Most of the buyers/sellers would love to get out from under your deathgrip and I suspect that with the internet your industry may soon go the way of the car (and most other) salesmen. Hopefully at least some of you will get a head start on a career which provides more value to society before it is too late.  Sorry, but I just had to vent - that was fun.

Posted by glenn over 11 years ago

Seems many in our business have their heads in the sand, and like to keep it there. As my father always used to say about a partner of his, "you cant confuse them with the facts"

Well, this seems to be an instance, industry wide, of that...

Great post... hope we all learn from it...

Posted by Paul Silver, Rhode Island full service real estate firm over 11 years ago

Wow - 300+ comments, you definetly hit a nerve :)

Thanks TLW for the link to the sponsored featured posts. Even when reading 300 comments I can learn something new :)

Posted by Jason Daley, Kitsap County Real Estate, Bremerton, WA Real Estate over 11 years ago

It doesn't help that every portrayal on TV you see of Agents are greedy, money-hungry, me-me-me people.  There is definitely a lot of quality ones who work hard and are ethical and really do have their client's interest at heart - that's what it's all about.  BTW - I got in Real Estate when the market started tanking and have been busy because I've been working - Hard. 

Posted by Ed Vogt, Grandville, MI Midwest Properties (Midwest Properties of Michigan) over 11 years ago

Great post and very informative!! I was once told that RE agents are lower on the scale than used car salesman in the eyes of the consumer (I can say that, my entire family is in the used car business).

Posted by Winter Baserva, Realtor -Homes For Sale, Atlanta, GA (Seasons Realty Group of PalmerHouse Properties) over 11 years ago

I realy dont blame the public for not trusting my experience in Darien Ct, altho most agents are upstanding there is a pervasive contentiousness while negotiating a deal. Clearly we do not trust each other to be open and honest.....why should the consumer?

Posted by Karen Brewer over 11 years ago

So X...

What kind of fashion statement do you want to make this year? Personally, I'm going for the Gator thing :)

Do you believe they still give me points for this crap? :)

P.S. Sunchoke. Sounds like something Jonathan came up with up :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) almost 11 years ago


Posted by Still Selling over 10 years ago

Jeff the public perception of the real industry as a whole ranks lower than the insurance industry and possibly lower than attorneys who are thought to be bottom feeders and nothing more than liars. This perception is driven by the lazy and lying agents, which about 90% of real estate agents just happen to be.

The only reason they became Real Estate agents in the first place is because they were too dumb to become lawyers and their fear of prison kept them from pursuing their profession of choice, that of a thief.

The "average home sells for about $175,000.00 of which the real estate industry wants 6% or $10,500.00. What does the home seller get for this $10.500.00 you might ask yourself. The privilege of getting screwed by a Worm.

When does the lying start and when does it end? The lies start the minute you make contact with one of these degenerates and it continues throughout the process or until you put a stop to this legalized form of bank rape.

99.999% of the 90% will show up to tour your home, have you sign the listing agreement and immediately hint towards lowering your asking price. All of this happened without them so much as researching the comps in the area. They then waddle (some strut) out of your home and retrieve a Real Estate Sign from the trunk of the car to be displayed in your front yard; announcing to the world that they have just screwed another fool. Be very careful here as they might actually get you to assist with getting the sign out of the trunk and inserting it into your on gr ass/lawn.

Let us look at the money:  You as a home owner having done your research and having a knowledge of the market in your area and based on the comps see that most homes are being listed for about $189,000, you also realize that everyone will want to play the "Offer" game... so you decide you are really not interested in going that route and tell the real estate agent to list yours at 3% less or $183,500.00.  They are very eager to comply with your wishes, not only are they eager to comply, they also realize how lazy they truly are and suggest dropping it as low as say $175,000 for a quick sale.  Knowing if they can flip/turn it quickly they will be making a trip to the bank with their share of the 6% loot ($10500).

Now some of these greedy worms will tell you they CAN'T sell it unless you replace the tile kitchen counter tops,  people want granite, or you really should offer a flooring allowance because buyers expect wood floors, oh yes and then there is the painting allowance only to be followed up with the Pre Sale Inspection and let us not forget.... to really help sell the house let's consider paying closing cost.   

Trust me; you do not need to know anyone that provides these services..... Your realtor will be able to provide you a list to choose from...(it is this LIST that earned them today's reputation). More than likely it will be their friends and relatives or others that provide them with a Finder's fee.  Yes that is right... we home owners talk, and we all know that you get kick backs, you greedy and your list.... "well I can't  tell you which one to use..... but this one ..(begins pointing)..right here..... always shows up on time, does a great job and I have heard great things about them...."

Yeah you heard great things.... the sound of your cash register.... 

If you were smart you would advice your client to look on the internet or ask their friends or co workers.........BUT NO YOU ARE GREEDY PIGS and that is why we look to SUE you or make you part of the law suit.

Your realtor has rang the dinner bell and their family and friends are coming to feast on YOU at your table; while the buzzards circle over head waiting to pick your carcass (bank account) clean of any profit you hoped to realize on the sale of your most prized possession.

Anyone that would allow a real estate agent to suggest or recommend a service provider to include HOME INSPECTION COMPANIES or Remodlers  is asking to be screwed. Real Estate agents don't get paid until the property sells..... It is in their best interest to recommend a person they know will over look certain items during the inspection process. It is a win/win situation for both the agent and the inspector. Same holds true for the other service provider the realtor suggest.


I have sold 5 houses and only twice have I used a realtor, in both cases I felt sick to my stomach and yes..... in both cases out came their list of service providers.  Oh yeah we recommend this company for that, they are on our "Preferred Vendors List"  a list that your home office has created for service providers to PAY your company money to be on.... I have just looked at two "Preferred Vendors LIST" while typing this response and both had over a 100 vendors and when I called that brokers offers they told me I could get listed as well for $60.00 a month.  WHAT A JOKE>>>>>>>>>>>>

You have earned your reputation now live with it.


Posted by Joe Blow home seller/buyer (I agree and will sell by owner) over 10 years ago

Wow Joe Blow...

You've made many assumptions here. Our entire industry does not suck. There are many of us who are extrememly good at what we do. It's a shame you've never met us. I can't defend those in the industry that do suck. Nor will I try. I will say it wasn't always like this. Us old timers look around us and our jaws drop at some of what we see going on. It boogles the mind and pisses us off at the same time. We try so hard to lead by example but the industry has changed so much it's almost impossible to do that. There are bad apples in every industry. Such a shame that you've met so many of them.

Should you decide to respond to me, please be a Gentleman with your words. It's all I ask :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 10 years ago

Holly Mackerel Joe Blow, you do paint with a wide brush. Thank you for your input as well as that generous ten percent of people in this industry might be good. I would like to think that I am in the 10 percent that is not branded by you as lazy and a liar.

Granted, there are bad apples in every industry, as I am sure there are in your chosen field. To say that 90% of us fall into that category is a bit unfair. (Iam being kind to you )

I had to read your comments twice, you covered a lot of real estate (no pun intended), you made some interesting points and one in particular.

"The List": At one time I also had a list of " Trusted Companies" I would " Offer for Consideration" , but it was to provide assistance to my client (who might be new to the neighborhood, city, state or even country) and not as you suggest (for monetary gain).

I would agree with you, the quickest way to get named in a lawsuit is by participating in the practice of recommending service providers. Been there Done that, but not for compensation.

In my case the Home Inspector was fined and put on probation (our state requires them to be licensed), I lost a client and a lot of sleep, not because I did anything wrong but because some clown did. That I foolishly offered for consideration. NEVER AGAIN! I tell my clients to use Yahoo or Google and to research their choice.

When Painting Trim, use a 1" brush and not a Roller.


Posted by Honest Agent Deb over 10 years ago

I'm a reformed Realtor and in constant recovery.   Just check

Posted by Reformed Realtor over 10 years ago

I'm a reformed Realtor and in constant recovery.   Just check

Posted by Reformed Realtor over 10 years ago

I'm a reformed Realtor too...

But there ain't no as recovering from it :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 10 years ago

I am a buyer, and have a similar impression of 98% of the Realtors I have met.  If at all possible, and with very few exceptions I agree that most Realtors including associates and brokers think that because they are salesmen they are allowed to lie and cheat.  The difference is that a con-artist knows they are a liar.  The biggest lie that  most Realtors make is to themselves when thEy start believing their own lies. 

Hear are a few anecdotes which should start your bells ringing.  BTW, most of my business associates are involved in REAL property/  Most all of them, other than Realtrs will agree with me.

Here is a fun one!  I was recently invited to a party with mostly Realtors, loan brokers, developers and investors.  I had a conversation with a broker with over 35 years of experience and asked him this direct question.  When you hire an associate and later you find out he has been lying or cheating your customers what would you do?  Was he cheating me?  No! Well then, that is not good, but how was he caught? It depends if he is productive and it depends if I have to know about it ---he laughed- and was VERY serious.  If they are bringing me a lot of money (listing and closing) and they don't take up my time and don't owe me money...what the hell.  I just want them to be careful...and don't tell me about it.  If I had to talk to them, I would warn them to be very careful and not do anything  that will get them caught or embarass my agency!

From the mouth of a very successful well-connected (politically---with the C.A.R. N.A.R.  and State Dept of Real Estate  D.R.E.

Every other Realtor - broker I polled agreed with my "friend".  Why should I know?  I can't watch every agent 24/7.  However, If they are not productive they get the boot.





Posted by Joseph over 10 years ago

I am a buyer, and have a similar impression of 98% of the Realtors I have met.  If at all possible, and with very few exceptions I agree that most Realtors including associates and brokers think that because they are salesmen they are allowed to lie and cheat.  The difference is that a con-artist knows they are a liar.  The biggest lie that  most Realtors make is to themselves when thEy start believing their own lies. 

Hear are a few anecdotes which should start your bells ringing.  BTW, most of my business associates are involved in REAL property/  Most all of them, other than Realtrs will agree with me.

Here is a fun one!  I was recently invited to a party with mostly Realtors, loan brokers, developers and investors.  I had a conversation with a broker with over 35 years of experience and asked him this direct question.  When you hire an associate and later you find out he has been lying or cheating your customers what would you do?  Was he cheating me?  No! Well then, that is not good, but how was he caught? It depends if he is productive and it depends if I have to know about it ---he laughed- and was VERY serious.  If they are bringing me a lot of money (listing and closing) and they don't take up my time and don't owe me money...what the hell.  I just want them to be careful...and don't tell me about it.  If I had to talk to them, I would warn them to be very careful and not do anything  that will get them caught or embarass my agency!

From the mouth of a very successful well-connected (politically---with the C.A.R. N.A.R.  and State Dept of Real Estate  D.R.E.

Every other Realtor - broker I polled agreed with my "friend".  Why should I know?  I can't watch every agent 24/7.  However, If they are not productive they get the boot.





Posted by Joseph over 10 years ago

This response is called "PLAUSIBLE deniability" which is effectively an intentional  FRAUD called "CONTROL FRAUD" and it can be investigated by the federal government, and it IS A FEDERAL CRIME, which was prosecuted during the last S&L loan crisis.   I want to see a perp walk again only for ESTATE AGENTS. 

I know Realtors who drove around with an Escalade which visited homeless sheleters. He was offering free meals and drinks on the house at nice restaurants to hear his sales spiel.  The spiel? No job, No income, no credit buyers to buy a house with CASH BACK at closing.  No obligation, just sign here.  In 3o days I'll come by here give you the keys to YOUR house...but YOU buy me dinner with your "winnings".   If you out rooms to your friends, and if you don't like the house for ANY reason, I'll list it for you and sell it to the highest bidder.  You keep the difference!  JUST like TV flipper shows.  This jerk was a city councilman and the mayor was his licensed appraiser.  All others on the city council were also in on the scam and the builders in the group also employed the city zoning planners. 





"   "   "  "    "    "   Local area Realtor Association---NOTHING guess who the president of the association was?

I turned them into the state DRE---NOTHING


It looks like REALTORS earned the right for people to hate them.



Posted by Joseph over 10 years ago

This response is called "PLAUSIBLE deniability" which is effectively an intentional  FRAUD called "CONTROL FRAUD" and it can be investigated by the federal government, and it IS A FEDERAL CRIME, which was prosecuted during the last S&L loan crisis.   I want to see a perp walk again only for ESTATE AGENTS. 

I know Realtors who drove around with an Escalade which visited homeless sheleters. He was offering free meals and drinks on the house at nice restaurants to hear his sales spiel.  The spiel? No job, No income, no credit buyers to buy a house with CASH BACK at closing.  No obligation, just sign here.  In 3o days I'll come by here give you the keys to YOUR house...but YOU buy me dinner with your "winnings".   If you out rooms to your friends, and if you don't like the house for ANY reason, I'll list it for you and sell it to the highest bidder.  You keep the difference!  JUST like TV flipper shows.  This jerk was a city councilman and the mayor was his licensed appraiser.  All others on the city council were also in on the scam and the builders in the group also employed the city zoning planners. 





"   "   "  "    "    "   Local area Realtor Association---NOTHING guess who the president of the association was?

I turned them into the state DRE---NOTHING


It looks like REALTORS earned the right for people to hate them.



Posted by Joseph over 10 years ago

I noticed that the polite word "suck" was used to describe ineffective or foolish Realtor behavior.   What do you call CRIMINAL behavior?  The Realtors I know call it  "business".  What I don't understand is that there is a ton of LEGITIMATE profits to be made, so why CHEAT, LIE, and con sheep into transactions that will only piss them off, once the Realtor has cashed their checks and gone on to the next victim.

I figured out a way to quickly identfiy the con-artists in Real estate.  Rule number one---they don't want to talk to anyone who knows what they are doing...even a little bit.  Why waste time with someone who will catch your games?  Most of the Realtors I know  will lie, cheat, steal, or say ANYTHING to get a listing contract, and they wait for a sucker to buy it    Enough listings will get you some cash without having to work.  If you give high enougjh comps, the sucker will be happy to list it with you.

Lets look at the Multiple Offer game-  I know which game? There are so many ways to create a phony demand that I could write a book.  All of these games or tricks should be a crime and be punishable by prison.

Here is s popular one.  The house ---a 1940's tract cheesebox with more termites in it than nails.  DOM is  now over 365 days, and the price has been reduced to almost short sale level.  There was equity in the dump before the first dip of the market crash, the seller is frantic, but what the hell lets go for the moon? It was originally a conventional 30 yr mortgage, no liens, no seconds no HELOC.

Buyer sees dump and makes dumb mistake-  He tells his agent why he wants to buy.  IDIOT FOOL!   Buyers Agent blabs all over the place and his Realtor buddies set up the buyer.  They quickly pull the  listing and relist it at a  higher price.  The buyer is a cash buyer--and blabbed this to his "Buyers agent"

After a week of squeezing psyche games, they "find" this little jewel which really ahs had ZERO activity over the past YEAR.  Its an eye sore---fixer extraordinaire.

Buyer makes offer---(at this newly higher listed price) Buyer  doesn't  know about the original asking prive, DOM or anything   NO  DUE DILIGENCE by the Buyers agent.  Just fraud.

Here goes, buyers agent show HIGH "comps" to buyer.  Buyer makes cash offer 20% above REAL comps in local area.  "...Sorry we have multiple offers--- You have to come in with an offer to show you are serious ..."  "...Your offer is so low, it is embarassing to me to offer it (I have heard this scam before) .   What about the "offers"?  They are offers at higher amounts but with five pages of contingencies that would allow them to walk from the deal for almost any reason.  The offer checks?  They were from family members of the brokers involved.  Different last names.  The checks were NOT REAL.  They were photocopies of real checks witjh NO money to cover them.

Buyer gives up fighting HIS BUYERS AGENT AND ALL OTHER CONSPIRATORS and bids 40% above this asking.  Guess what he "won the bid" by bidding against himself.  Now normally all these sneaky tricks would be hush hush.  See no evil etc etc.  Typical Realtor games.  BUT  I know the BUYER AND HIS BUYERS AGENT  AND THE LISTING BROKER.

EACH PARTY TOLD ME WHAT THEY WERE DOING---ON THEIR OWN.  The buyer was a business associate.  The Realtors were people I knew--BUT THEY HAD TO BRAG TO ME---trying to show off how good they were at stealing.  There were many more illegal acts...this is enough.

What did I do?  I played back a recording of the telephone calls I had with the listing agent and Buyers agent to prepare a lawsuit and/or criminal investigation.  BTW buyers agent related to President of local Realtor  Board.  I filed complaints with all REALTORS orgs  NAR etc.

Bottom line--->  The general idea was if Realtors could trick a smart person with money CAVEAT EMPTOR.  SCREW YOU customer.

I am waiting , with a real estate attorney to catch the next scam.  If I catch one, I will have them prosecuted to serve as an example.  THIS STUFF HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.







Posted by Joseph over 10 years ago

I noticed that the polite word "suck" was used to describe ineffective or foolish Realtor behavior.   What do you call CRIMINAL behavior?  The Realtors I know call it  "business".  What I don't understand is that there is a ton of LEGITIMATE profits to be made, so why CHEAT, LIE, and con sheep into transactions that will only piss them off, once the Realtor has cashed their checks and gone on to the next victim.

I figured out a way to quickly identfiy the con-artists in Real estate.  Rule number one---they don't want to talk to anyone who knows what they are doing...even a little bit.  Why waste time with someone who will catch your games?  Most of the Realtors I know  will lie, cheat, steal, or say ANYTHING to get a listing contract, and they wait for a sucker to buy it    Enough listings will get you some cash without having to work.  If you give high enougjh comps, the sucker will be happy to list it with you.

Lets look at the Multiple Offer game-  I know which game? There are so many ways to create a phony demand that I could write a book.  All of these games or tricks should be a crime and be punishable by prison.

Here is s popular one.  The house ---a 1940's tract cheesebox with more termites in it than nails.  DOM is  now over 365 days, and the price has been reduced to almost short sale level.  There was equity in the dump before the first dip of the market crash, the seller is frantic, but what the hell lets go for the moon? It was originally a conventional 30 yr mortgage, no liens, no seconds no HELOC.

Buyer sees dump and makes dumb mistake-  He tells his agent why he wants to buy.  IDIOT FOOL!   Buyers Agent blabs all over the place and his Realtor buddies set up the buyer.  They quickly pull the  listing and relist it at a  higher price.  The buyer is a cash buyer--and blabbed this to his "Buyers agent"

After a week of squeezing psyche games, they "find" this little jewel which really ahs had ZERO activity over the past YEAR.  Its an eye sore---fixer extraordinaire.

Buyer makes offer---(at this newly higher listed price) Buyer  doesn't  know about the original asking prive, DOM or anything   NO  DUE DILIGENCE by the Buyers agent.  Just fraud.

Here goes, buyers agent show HIGH "comps" to buyer.  Buyer makes cash offer 20% above REAL comps in local area.  "...Sorry we have multiple offers--- You have to come in with an offer to show you are serious ..."  "...Your offer is so low, it is embarassing to me to offer it (I have heard this scam before) .   What about the "offers"?  They are offers at higher amounts but with five pages of contingencies that would allow them to walk from the deal for almost any reason.  The offer checks?  They were from family members of the brokers involved.  Different last names.  The checks were NOT REAL.  They were photocopies of real checks witjh NO money to cover them.

Buyer gives up fighting HIS BUYERS AGENT AND ALL OTHER CONSPIRATORS and bids 40% above this asking.  Guess what he "won the bid" by bidding against himself.  Now normally all these sneaky tricks would be hush hush.  See no evil etc etc.  Typical Realtor games.  BUT  I know the BUYER AND HIS BUYERS AGENT  AND THE LISTING BROKER.

EACH PARTY TOLD ME WHAT THEY WERE DOING---ON THEIR OWN.  The buyer was a business associate.  The Realtors were people I knew--BUT THEY HAD TO BRAG TO ME---trying to show off how good they were at stealing.  There were many more illegal acts...this is enough.

What did I do?  I played back a recording of the telephone calls I had with the listing agent and Buyers agent to prepare a lawsuit and/or criminal investigation.  BTW buyers agent related to President of local Realtor  Board.  I filed complaints with all REALTORS orgs  NAR etc.

Bottom line--->  The general idea was if Realtors could trick a smart person with money CAVEAT EMPTOR.  SCREW YOU customer.

I am waiting , with a real estate attorney to catch the next scam.  If I catch one, I will have them prosecuted to serve as an example.  THIS STUFF HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.







Posted by Joseph over 10 years ago

There are way too many people out there that still have a misconception on how much time and energy goes into being successful and how we are constantly on a roller coaster ride.  I don't think John Q. Public will ever understand unless they have been there and done that.


Posted by Don Spera, Serving York and Adams County, PA (CR Property Group, LLC) over 10 years ago

And here we are in 2011 and things still haven't changed...Until Brokers hold THEIR agents accountable for acting like scuz bags, we are all snake oil salesman.  That's my 2 cents :)

Posted by Elizabeth Cooper-Golden, Huntsville AL MLS (Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group)) over 9 years ago

Lol Coop...

Scuz bags. I wouldn't have even known how to spell that one :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

realtors do suck!!  Some are actually good and attempt to work and bring value-add to a client but most just suck



Montgomery triangle is awesome!

Posted by Mike about 9 years ago

Very entertaining comments, I am surprised that these "ethical" people spent volumes to disparage a profession, yet did not bother to identify themselves.  If I was that upset, I would leave a phone number so that someone could call me to discuss the situation.


I am not a Real estate agent, but I do work with a lot of them.  Most are very honest people and the only complaints that I have are that they spend too much effort on CYA and they let too many unqualified people into the profession who end up washing out within a year.

Those who make it past that first year are generally very competant (unless they have a spouse supporting them), and always do their best to look out for their clients interests.

Posted by Bob Crane, Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671 (Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, Keller Williams Fox Cities) over 7 years ago
I couldn't agree more, It is sad that we are reduced to be compared by the commission we charge. On my experience my clients like to be listened, understanded and respected in terms of time. The main complain against other colleagues is that they are pushy and do not take not now as an answer. You might say it is a principle of selling but you may get one more listing but you leave an unhappy client and the profession gets hurt. Jose
Posted by Jose Miori over 6 years ago

Frankly, this blog is kind to realtors. They occupy a unique nexus of lazy, stupid and dishonest. Are there exceptions? Sure...maybe one in a thousand.

Posted by Jackie Coakley over 5 years ago

Here are three words for any realtor you may hire "By Appointment Only". That is the only way I have or will ever show any property. They have to make an appointment with me personally or they don't get in period. In other words, drive bys, hang up no message, no call, whatever, I just do not answer the door. And yes, you got it, I do own a gun.

Posted by Mark over 5 years ago