Can anyone tell us why realtors overall have a creepy reputation? My opinion is they overall=lazy.

ok
  • August 28 2010 - Lafayette
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Be a Good Neighbor. Be respectful and on-topic. No spam or self-promotion! See our Good Neighbor Policy.

 
 

Answers (37)

Profile picture for domoREALTY
In my humble opinion, the Real Estate Agents that make it in this market are the agents that are going above and beyond the call of duty. Sure, there will always be a couple bad apples that only sell 1 or 2 homes a year and look at it as a "part-time" gig. If you are looking for true professional who can ad value to your experience of buying or selling Real Estate ask your friends and neighbors. There are plenty of dedicated, honest, hard-working Realtors who LOVE what they do and answer their phone 24/7 ;-)
  • September 08 2010
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Profile picture for sunnyview
I wish that I could agree with you, but I can't. The hot real estate market made many hot and bothered to cash in. There have always been some bad or lazy agents, but there are even more of those "bubble agents" who never had to work for a sale in their entire career that people need o be aware of now.
  • September 08 2010
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With nearly 25 years of dealing with fellow Realtors, I have found that, overall, most seem to be very conscientious and capable professionals.  Admittedly, there are some that are in the wrong business, but they are more the exception than rule, simply because they usually wind up going out of the business within a short time.
  • September 07 2010
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Profile picture for Reallyfedup
Hey Rockinblu,

Put the words POW and ZAP across those photos and it's like the old Batman TV show.

Let's face it, there are those in the industry that have no business being an agent and are a bad reflection on those that are good professional agents.  Ignoring them does not help the situation.  I wish the licensing agencies that govern each state would look at some of these posts and pull the license of some just from their answers.

SoCal you are right, it doesn't take much to get a license in most states (some do require much more. Texas for one).  Just because someone has a license doesn't mean they know what they are doing or are good at it.  The actual training is on the job.  Experience plays a big part in this industry.  That's not to say that because you have been doing this for 30 years means you know what you are doing either. 

Buyers and sellers need to take some responsibility for the bad agents as well.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard or read someone say that their agent isn't doing the job they want or have some other type of issue with that agent.  Yet they continue to work with that agent.  I've also seen people choose an agent because of a reduced comission or inflated list price and not on the experience and knowledge.  I realize that this is new territory to some buyers and sellers and maybe they don't know what to expect, but they should still be able to recognize when someone may not be very knowledgeable or even seem a little unprofessional.  I don't know squat about computers, but when I go to get something for my computer or have a problem with it, I can tell right away whether the person I'm talking to has a clue or is talking out of their back end.  I have no problem finding someone that knows what they are talking about.  Even if they don't know the answer, I have a lot more respect for someone who will say I don't know let me ask or find someone who does then for someone who will lie or fudge their way through it.

I'm not exactly sure what is the answer to having better agents.  You can have all the education there is but it's the practical experience and personal ethics of a person that counts.   
  • September 01 2010
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Profile picture for rockinblu
Steve,

It's very simple. Agents like this. Read his posts and see what percentage of his answers are actually helpful and don't end in call me, or something of that nature.
 
In his discussion threads there has been practically nothing of value. It seems he just wants to post anything to get points towards becoming a local expert without really earning it.
 
Look at the photos of his listings. Is there anything about his manner in posting, and presenting a listing that wouldn't be creepy for someone. Particularly those real professionals whose image is tarnished by the behavior of a few.
  • September 01 2010
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I am surprised you are in marketing.

 What a person things usually affects the people we draw to us.

  • August 29 2010
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@ GRI - you are immensely sweet, and ditto. It seems like our country has become so removed from consequences (particularly most agency relationships) that we do not grasp that any time you represent anyone at anything it is an awesome responsibility.

One thing I am happy about, is the amount of time I have had spent in law classes where they continually remind you that other people's fates are in your hands, and how that must come before any need you must have because that is the burden of such trust. There was no serious mention of that in real estate courses, and only a minimal amount (by comparison) in my MBA.

I really do wish I lived in the land of roses and rainbows...but I don't think there would be as much appreciation for a job well done in that world.
  • August 29 2010
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Profile picture for broker_GRI
"spamalicious" Luv it!
Spamalama ick ick.
Maybe that has been a large contribution to our
"soupy creepy sales image"
  • August 29 2010
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You go girls!  Between Sunnyview, Tiffany and Realtor_Gri, chicks rule!

Creeps be gone!
  • August 29 2010
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Profile picture for broker_GRI

As agents we can forget that while our

knowledge and skills

have an immense impact on the outcome in a

real estate transaction......

we (our egos/paychecks) are the

least important consideration,

 if any is to be made at all.

  • August 29 2010
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@ GRI - I totally agree with you.
 
I wonder if in the good old days when people gave noble speeches if they actually meant them? In my fantasy land I would like to believe that people at least have the ability to feel the way they speak. I recently picked up a book of historic quotations - many were so inspiring. It would be lovely if by words alone people were inspired to stop being creepy, unethical, self-motivated and spamalicious.
  • August 29 2010
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Profile picture for broker_GRI

Tiffany B, the public is lucky to have you on Zillow

and real estate is better for having you as an agent but

I wish that agents would understand more often that they

are in fact dealing with serious contracts and not just filling

in the blanks (at least in Ca).

 

You may not understand yourself just how easily

that comes to you because you exemplify professionalism.

 

When I first understood the word "fiduciary" as related to agents

and our responsibilities to clients, the term "reasonable skill"

took my breath away. It was at the start of my first transaction

and the realization......passing the state exam only gave me

enough information to get me/a client into trouble.

So if I really "cared" the only responsible thing to do

would be to hand the file over to a "competent" agent

possessing actual skill :-)

 

 

  • August 29 2010
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Profile picture for broker_GRI

When becoming an agent the decision to join

 the NAR was the easiest.

I bought the "held to higher ethical standards"

hook line and sinker

 

I believe at some point the Nar was founded

upon worthwhile principals such as protecting

the rights of property owners and requiring

transparency to all parties in a RE transaction.

 

Instead the NAR is currently a powerful lobbyist and

advertiser, promoting the emotional hard sell of home ownership.

While membership in the NAR/C.A.R had some outstanding

benefits.....access to endless training and information,

not to mention (with the California association) unlimited access

to some of the best CA real estate attorneys in the business.

 

Ethics complaints were not received well nor easily made,

as if to even question another agents ethics is a breach in itself.

 

Going forward, it will be up to each of us as agents to expect

and enforce that higher standard.

  • August 29 2010
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Profile picture for sunnyview
Realtors are not all lazy. I would like to see the good agents do something about the bad ones, but instead they cover other ethical breaches and deny the bad behavior. Looking the other way when another professional acts unprofessional makes the profession itself look bad. 
  • August 29 2010
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Well..  everyone has a right to their opinion.   And mostly opinions are based on experience.

So with that said, sorry you have probably had a bad one..  

As in all things you can focus on the negative or the positive ;)

If you use a Realtor - interview them - test their knowledge.  Ask for references!  
  • August 28 2010
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As a group, Realtors have decided to lobby heavily for self-regulation (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Association_of_Realtors), doing so removed the luxury of policing real estate agents to another entity's problem.

It is difficult to stand up in a public forum and state all real estate agents rock, when in fact by the actions of a substantial chunk of agents in the forum, we do not, as a group, rock. Actually, if you average the posts on here and use that as a representative sample, we are pretty darn lame. There are those with high post counts, and a high percentage of helpful answers that clearly are not in that crowd. There is genuine and useful information dispensed by knowledgable agents. It is foolish to not at least acknowledge that for every helpful post by an agent on Zillow there are at least a few lame or trolling posts spewing nonsense ("no one has a crystal ball," one of my favs "Buy, Buy, Buy!," "all real estate is local," "interest rates are low and so are prices," - implying there isn't a negative relationship between prices and interest rates - economics 101, etc). With enough exposure to the nonsense it's no wonder people get jaded. If we, in the know, do not self-police and tell people they look silly (or irresponsible), then who will? And although generally I do believe that correction should be done in a private forum, when you post nonsense in a public forum, it needs to be corrected in the same manner. Incidentally, this is why there are so many fact-checking organizations for political claims.

Short version: spreading misinformation (and complete nonsense, or self-promoting drivel) in a predominantly self-regulating industry begets public forum correction.
  • August 28 2010
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
@ Jennifer - You're missing the point.

"All people see when viewing this post, is Realtors bashing Realtors."

I, as part of the general public, don't see it that way. I see some REAs being honest about their profession's image. I see others, and you currently fit into this category, who want to pretend that by not talking about them, no one will notice the warts.

Well, here's a news flash. Everyone already sees the warts. Your desire to not talk about the issues and perceptions has absolutely zero impact on how the RE profession is viewed. If anything, it confirms a head-in-the-sand approach that attempts to gloss over the real issues facing your industry - and how it is perceived by the public.

To be brutally frank, the REA is likely the person to whom I will pay the most money in direct compensation (please, spare me the "but, you don't know my cost and fee split" discussion). This includes dentists, lawyers, doctors, etc., who also have overhead that gets included into their fees. At the same time, the REA has the lowest level of required training of just about any "professional" that I will deal with. This is not an equation that provides the RE profession an advantageous starting position with respect to "perception".

So, here's the reality...

It is pretty much common practice to generalize about a group of people. This is human nature. While we all likely know individual REAs that we like and respect, the generalized perception about REAs is not favorable.

In the real world, each person is not entitled to being evaluated solely on their own merit. That's a desire, a goal, but not an entitlement. Reality is that each person, at best, has an opportunity to prove/disprove a preconceived perception. As an REA, that generally means starting "in the hole".

To participate in a public forum, and not expect to have to discuss topics in generalized form is unrealistic. To refuse to acknowledge the truth behind a negative comment, even if that truth has been exaggerated or applied with too broad a brush, undermines the remainder of your argument.

Many REAs on this board have done quite a bit to help improve the understanding of the business from an REA's perspective, but they haven't done it by ducking the hard questions or glossing over the industry's problems.

I appreciate your personal approach, and am sure it works for you within the confines of your office/business. The problem is that it just doesn't scale to a public forum. No one says you need to be nasty and snipe at other REAs, just realistic about your profession's flaws.
  • August 28 2010
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Ultimately, it's up to the client to choose the broker or agent he or she wants to work with. My recommendation: interview several agent, establish a list of questions and criteria that are important to you and ask for references. I would not generalize all agents into a single "lazy" category. There are bad seeds in every profession. Many agents are college educated and worked in the corporate world for many years. The reason they got into real estate, as with most professions, is to make a living and for the freedom to run their own business, plus many of them are very passionate about real estate. Ultimately, an agent is there to help people with their home buying and home selling endeavors, which can often be quite overwhelming and emotional. And actually, many agents become great friends with their clients and I bet those clients would most likely describe their agents positively.
  • August 28 2010
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Jennifer, what you are saying is the ideal.

Are the majority of agents out there honest and hardworking and working in the best interests of their buyers and sellers?
Probably.

Spending some time on a website such as this and Trulia, it is apparent that agents are often their own worst enemy.

Most agents on these websites,even if they are among the best and most caring agents, fail to live up to a good reputation because they continuously spout NAR nonsense or are openly soliciting business instead of just answering questions honestly and completely, without repeating what has already been said 1000 times before.
Agents who are putting themselves in the public eye need to realize that the only way consumers are going to perceive them positively is to make it clear that they are more interested in helping people than trolling for business.

You are right, it is not fair to be lumped in with the agents who are a disgrace to this profession but the best way to deal with it is to be open and honest and to continuously strive to be better, with a zero tolerance for those who lead people to believe the worst about us in the first place.
  • August 28 2010
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My point is not to allow agents to continually do a poor job. My point is this. This is a generalized board with Realtors from across the country commenting without specific knowledge about most of the other Realtors that they neither know nor ever met. This is done without knowledge or research. To take a whole group of people and say they are mostly bad when you only experience the Realtors in your area is a generalized and prejudice statement. I do not believe in Realtor bashing as whole. I believe each person can only comment or judge oneself. Each person is entitled to a fair chance at being viewed with an open mind until proven otherwise. It is of my wish that people see my name in this board and not associate it with people full of negativity. If you have "positive criticism" for someone, that advice should be given to him or her. Not broadcast as a generalization at Realtors as a whole for the whole world to see.
All people see when viewing this post, is Realtors bashing Realtors. I don't see us that way, and I don't want others to either. I believe it is in all our best interest to display a positive and hardworking attitude. I agree with Randal. 99% of the agents in my area are honest, hard working, and dedicated.

  • August 28 2010
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Hey, Tiffany, you are so right!  I've been at this a while and I can tell you that agents were trained differently back in the day.  The training was based on limited sharing of information.  For example, old school realtors were trained to give information only if they recieved sonmething first.  Something like, give me your name and will give you the listing price.. .give me your phone number and I can set up a showing...so some of that has carried through. So it was like trying to get a price on a used car- Q:"how much is it?" A: "what can you afford monthly?"  And also, as in all industries, regardless of how hard the tests are, you can't test truthfulness.  It's hard to test character and integrity until the real life situation comes up.  But keep looking...there are many agents out there, I would say now most of them, who truly believe in service and honesty.  Good luck and I hope you find one!
  • August 28 2010
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Jennifer, I would strongly suggest that not being tolerant of other agents' less than professional behavior is a better path to improving the perception of the profession overall, then saying that we should just act as if everything is fine and dandy because we don't want to add to the negative perception of this industry.
  • August 28 2010
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#12 - Failing to realize there is both good and bad in the system. That there are good reasons to buy in a down market and bad ones to buy in an up market. Kindness is important, but honesty trumps all.

Pretending real estate is all roses and rainbows does no one favors. There are very good things that come out of the industry, but horrid things too. Failing to address the bad with the good not only devalues the good, but encourages poor investment and further destabilizes the market. Data is your friend in real estate, it helps buyers and sellers make good choices, which may not always be to buy or sell...which may pay you in no other currency than karma.
  • August 28 2010
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I like 99% of the Realtors that I have met in the thirty years of being in the business. Some Realtors have different motivations. I work 7 days a week and if I don't sell; I don't eat. Other Realtors have other incomes to fall back on and their motivation to work may not be as strong as mine, but I don't think that makes them lazy.

If you stay in this business any time at all it is because you have a love for helping people. It takes true commitment to work in an industry that is straight commission with no vacation, benifits or retirment.
  • August 28 2010
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Everything negative you write about "other" Realtors affects you negatively also. Negativity doesn't help anyone. Positive reinforcements and encouragment to improve are what helps people. If you want to be seen differently you must act differently.

  • August 28 2010
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Profile picture for SoCal Engr
@ Jennifer...

Just to be clear, the "public" in general has a genuine distaste for the RE industry. It's not something we picked up from your internal squabbles.

It's an irony that REAs have issues with other REAs (i.e. see some of the the posts on Zillow about hi-jacking listings, sniping about referal fees, etc.).
 
However, I don't put Tiffany's post in that category. She simply has enough objectivity to realize the actual good/bad about the industry, and not to attempt to defend it's indefendable aspects.

Unfortunately, and this is not a personal attack, too many REAs are so stuck in the marketing world that this is the lens through which they view the whole world. It's not about what "you tell them", it's about what you do.
  • August 28 2010
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I don't dislike other agents - I dislike the fact that it seems like few agents continually strive to improve their competency. There are some truly wonderful agents, and some genuine benefits to the agency relationship. However, many people who gain a license don't put the time and energy in to see what those are and how to present them well. Doing the job well requires you to have actual knowledge of real estate, to be completely forthright about market conditions, and your role in agency. A good chunk of the posts on Zillow (and the actions of agents in practice) do not reflect that.

Unfortunately, the tests I have taken in two states required me to know almost nothing about actually functioning as a real estate agent. I'm fairly certain they are at least partially representative of tests nationally. The way the system washes people out may do actual harm to buyers and sellers, and isn't particularly kind to agents either. Additionally, there is an inherent conflict of interests in the way real estate agency is set up in the US.

We'll make that #11 - inherent, systemic conflicts of interest built into commission system.
  • August 28 2010
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These are some very interesting answers. Based on what I read here, it seems that the real reason is that Realtors don't like Realtors. It is no surprize that the public doesn't like Realtors. If these are the things we write about ourselves, how can we expect others to see us differently. It seems Steve's opinion about us is right. People will accept your ideas much more readily if you tell them.  - Benjamin Franklin
  • August 28 2010
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Profile picture for Mills Realty
So Cals 3 pretty much sums it up.  There are good and bad in any field.  If you stick with someone who has been referred to you chances are you will have a good experience. 

Simon Mills
Mills Realty
  • August 28 2010
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@ SoCal...

Call it an opinion that all people should be aware of the perceptions and downfalls associated with their profession if they are to have any chance of rectifying them. For example, not all lawyers are alcoholics, but there is a pretty high rate (and clearly a problem in the eyes of the ABA http://www.lawcrossing.com/article/2583/Attorneys-Kick-Addictions-with-Help-from-The-Other-Bar/). Not all dentists are suicidal, even though Hollywood might have you think so.

Also, I forgot #10 - many agents seem to think their skill set is on par with people who had 7-12 years of advanced education (doctors, lawyers, etc), when in fact plumbers and electricians require more work to do a smaller scope of work.

It takes a lot of energy to keep your ego in check in sales and to get past thinking you know all there is to know in real estate. It is a broad, continually evolving field that requires its professionals to remain humble, focused, aggressive, and knowledgable.

  • August 28 2010
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