Massachusetts Real Estate


Is Your Realtor a Clown in Disguise?

                                                                                                                                                         Massachusetts Realtor

Working as a Massachusetts Realtor for the past twenty four years, I have seen just about everything. For Gods sake when I started in the business we carried around a huge MLS book with all the listings that was almost as heavy as an encyclopedia. There was no Internet back then.

In fact in the mid 1980's we did not even have the modern convenience of a fax machine for a while. Back then when you needed something signed you had to hand deliver it! In many respects things are a lot easier today.

While there have been quite a few changes over the years in the Real Estate business, the one thing that continues to amaze me is how consumers go about picking a Realtor to represent them in the sale of their home.

I am going to bet that most top producing Realtors that are interviewed probably get the listing somewhere between 85-90% of the time. What about the other 10-15%? How many times have you done a presentation for someone selling their home and you did not get the listing?

While monitoring the daily updates for new properties hitting the market you notice the home which you interviewed for has just been added to MLS. You check to see who has listed the property and your immediate reaction is ....WTF??? Sorry to be so braizen but it's true!

If you are a Realtor reading this article you can probably empathize with me.

You look at the Realtors name and you either have never heard of the person before or you know they don't do a lick of business.

Just to torture yourself a little further you check out the listing and see the following:

  • There are only a couple of pictures of the house posted in MLS.
  • The quality of the photo's absolutely SUCKS. It is obvious to you
    the agent picked up a disposable Kodak camera on the way to take pictures.
  • You read the description of the property and there is barely anything of value. It clearly looks like the agent didn't care and just
    wrote anything to fill the space. Of course there is also either bad
    grammar, spelling mistakes, or the use of abbreviations that buyers
    have no clue what they stand for.


Angry Massachusetts RealtorAt this point you may have steam coming out your ears but you decide to go to Google the agents name. Clearly you are expecting to see at least a website the agent owns that markets their listings to potential buyers. see nothing...ZIPPO.

You don't even bother but you know if you head over to some of the most visited Real Estate sites on the internet like, or, the agent will not have done anything to "enhance" the listing by adding extra photos and having detailed descriptions showing off all the best features of your home.

This is what happens in the 1st week of your relationship with the Realtor you just chose because they either did one of the following:

1.) Lied to you about the value of your home and you believed them.

2.) They charged you 1/2 percent less on the commission everyone else was quoting you. You think you saved money but you just cost yourself BIG TIME because you always get what you pay for in life.


You see a REAL good Realtor doesn't need to do these things to win business. A true professional goes the extra mile in everything they do. They have a passion for their work and it shows.

So if you are going to be selling your home and meeting with a Real Estate agent you better ask good Realtor interview questions. Don't get stuck with the Realtor clown above! Do your home work. I can almost guarantee you things are going to get worse from here.

I think most would agree having a burger from a steakhouse is better than McDonald's. It works the same way picking a Realtor as well. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________

About the Author: The above Real Estate information on is your Realtor a clown in disguise was provided by BillRE/MAX Executive Realty Metrowest Massachusetts Gassett, a Nationally recognized leader in his field. Bill can be reached via email at or by phone at 508-435-5356.

Have a home to sell in Metrowest Mass? I have a passion for Real Estate and love to share my marketing expertise!

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I service the following towns in and around Metrowest Massachusetts: Hopkinton, Milford, Upton, Southboro, Westboro, Ashland, Holliston, Mendon, Hopedale, Medway, Grafton, Northbridge, Uxbridge, Franklin, Douglas, and Framingham MA.

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Building lasting relationships by helping people move in and out of Metrowest Massachusetts for the last 24 years.

Bill Gassett is a thirty-two year veteran to the real estate industry. He enjoys providing helpful information to buyers, sellers and fellow real estate agents to make sound decisions. His work has been featured on RIS Media, National Association of Realtors, Inman News, Placester, RESAAS, Credit Sesame and others.

Comment balloon 269 commentsBill Gassett • January 26 2010 07:00AM


Hey Bill-funny (but true) post, although you probably didn't mean for it to be funny. Unfortunately, some sellers are more interested in the immediate payout, as opposed to the long-run. Just human nature.

Posted by Lisa Schlitz, Realtor - Wellington, Florida Homes 561-214-3216 (Home Run Real Estate, Inc.) over 9 years ago

The selection of a listing agent reflects the average home owner's understanding of the real estate transaction and marketing of a home. . .


Best be the second listing agent.  Of course, the seller will probably object to the fee because the last, albeit unsuccessful, agent charged less. 

Go figure.

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 9 years ago

...not to mention that listing shows a 2% co-broke commission!

I once (and only once) sat for an hour arguing about my fee.  The sellers had previously hired an agent who charged a 5% fee and they weren't "happy" about that.  Good grief.  Two years ago and the house is still not sold.

What's the saying?  Rain off a duck's back.  These events help us maintiain our beautiful, thick-skinned complexion.  Great post, Bill.

Posted by Kathryn Acciari, Brand Ambassador and Business Coach (Century 21 Real Estate) over 9 years ago

This is true Bill, although clowns might get offended by being compared to certain Realtors.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 9 years ago

Bill - Clowns scare me!... I guess under-informed sellers do too!

Posted by Eleanor Thorne, Equity Resources 919-649-5058 (Equity Resources) over 9 years ago

Always best to be the first girlfriend, the second wife and the third Realtor.  

Many sellers list with their best friends sister's hustand's daughter's mother that they knew from church 5 years ago when they went last.....   and they think that's OK.

And then they wonder why their home doesn't sell.....  

Posted by Tom over 9 years ago

Bill, sellers need to understand they are making a serious business decision to sell their most valuable asset and need to hire a top notch agent.  The thing that bothers me the most is the poor quality of photos, or lack of pictures, that agents put in the MLS and the sellers probably never even realize it. As the saying goes, " you get what you pay for".  

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) over 9 years ago

Sellers are looking for unproven results from fast talkers instead of informed statistics from seasoned realtors.  These people are in every market.  Great post.

Posted by Kay Van Kampen, Realtor®, Springfield Mo Real Estate (RE/MAX Broker, RE/MAX) over 9 years ago

Bill don't you love it when the first question is "how much do you charge". I guess you get what you pay for just as you stated.

Posted by Joan Zappa, Professional treatment of our clients, brings awes (Eagles Wings Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill.....this does happen to everyone at one time or another.....quite often when it happens to my team members, it's because the seller has a close friend or family member in the business and they do not trust that person's opinion....we may have been a confirmation of price or procedure....happens on occasion but not long as we get the majority of the listings that call, I'm happy.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 9 years ago

Always the devil's advocate here.  While I agree with you on most  of what you say.  Is it quite possible the top producers who failed to get the listing 10 to 15% of the time did not make a good impression or an outstanding presentation?  Top producers can generally overcome the commission objection so is that really always the cause of the loss of the listing?

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago

One of my former clients just re-listed their home with a different agent.  No photos in the MLS (I had multiple and video), no brochures (you can't make a brochure if you don't have photos), no advertising that I have found on the internet but they convinced them that they could do a great job of marketing their home.   I wished them well, as I picked up the model home furniture I lent them to help stage their home.  So  now they have empty rooms where once there was furniture.  But there is a sign in the yard :-)

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 9 years ago

Bill, I have said it before and I'll say it again: People put more effort into choosing their new bluetooth than they do their listing agent. And their reason for choosing their agent is often retarded. It could be a commission discount, friend or relative, or, as you said, a promise of a higher price. Often, these people come back far wiser. Sadly, the market is down from when they first made the blunder. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 9 years ago

I am actually finding that home sellers are getting very serious about the decision of who markets their home for sale.  The days are gone when a listing agent can swoop up the listing for an offer of a variable rate commisison. Most sellers don't want to give consent to dual agency.

My team spends an incredible amount of time customizing our presentation and market research for the potential seller.  Since we only do a two-step listing presentation, we quickly find out who is interested in working with us and who simply wants to try to pit us against another realtor in order to get the most for the least.  We even decline to participate sometimes after the first meeting!  That's not chutzpah, it's good business sense and use of resources, in my opinion.

Posted by Martin Kalisker, Professional Standards & Legal Assistant (Greater Boston Association of REALTORS) over 9 years ago


As Sellers get more savvy they are always picking the Realtor that "goes the extra mile". Beautiful brochures, nicely staged homes with great pictures, internet presence,etc. are things that Buyers and Sellers notice. This is what sets the top agents apart. These are also the agents that are getting the referrals.

(And back in the day when I sold Real Estate I remember not having fax machines) I think that I might be dating myself!)

Great post!!!

Posted by Marianne Cherico, Home Stager -Massachusetts and Rhode Island (Interiors by Marianne Cherico) over 9 years ago

Excellent post Bill, and I have recently been subject to one of these. It is not a pleasant feeling to know you were passed up for a second rate agent.

Posted by Janice MacMillan, Associate Broker (ERA Joyner Realty) over 9 years ago

So many Realtors come into the business with one listing that is a friend or a relative. I know of one local firm that is large and recruits heavily and if you do a statistical analysis over 60% make o or 1 sale in a year. Until we chnage the culture and structure of our industry what youd escribe will continue. The problem is I have seen no organization from top to bottom that is showing the least bit of interest in closing off the money spigot.

Posted by Joe Pryor, REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties (The Virtual Real Estate Team) over 9 years ago

Comment #10 jealous Holliston Realtor(more than likely) - You are really making me laugh. I haven't had great success? I guess you have not done your homework because I have been one of the top 5 RE/MAX agents in the state for ten out of the last eleven years. In fact my team was ranked #91 RE/MAX team in the country through November.

P.S - I am sure putting on all that make up and funny shoes everyday can get really tiresome!!

Charita - Of course that is possible. There are plenty more reasons than the ones I outlined above but I am sure those are the most common.

Cyndee - It is obvious you were going the extra mile and the seller was putting the blame in your lap. I would be willing to be the seller was unwilling to change the price?

Martin - I think that is great business on your part. Like you when I am being interviewed it goes both ways. I am interviewing the seller at the same time.

Everyone else thanks for all your comments.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Many of you have mentioned a seller picking a friend or friend of a friend. This does happen a lot in our business. Of course if the home doesn't sell and the seller is dissatisfied who do they have to blame?

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, yes, I am sure some of the realtors out there are clowns, that is exactly mirror and match some of the sellers! Sometimes clowns work with each other!

Posted by Eileen Hsu, LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) over 9 years ago


As your post points out, there are things in life we can and can't control.  What I can control is how I do my job.  I give great service, strong analytical skills, excellent marketing and more.  However, you don't win every opportunity in life. 

Some don't make sense why not, but it's not worth sweating the small stuff, because the things I can do well are helping me continue to thrive in a tough economy. 

All the best, Michelle

Posted by Michelle Francis, Realtor, Buckhead Atlanta Homes for Sale & Lease (Tim Francis Realty LLC) over 9 years ago


Thanks to my blog, I was contacted by a homeowner in a local townhouse community. He intended to use an out-of-area friend as his listing agent. That person isn't a member of our MLS, so this gent wanted me to determine the right value for his home. After all, he could tell I knew the community best thanks to my sales within it and my posts.  I let him know I would consider throwing his clown a referral fee but otherwise couldn't get involved!

Posted by Irene Kennedy Realtor® in Northwestern NJ (Weichert) over 9 years ago

I went after a listing a number of years ago, where the seller was a very tough interviewer.  He asked me to provide him with a ton of statistics on my recent business history.  In the past 12 months...

* How many listings had I sold. (18)
* How many listings had I cancelled (0)
* How many listings of mine had expired (0)
* What was my list / sale ratio (this was a very important statistic for him... and my number was 96%)
* what kind of marketing materials would I use (full colour)

the list went on and on.  He was very clear about the fact that he was interviewing 2 other agents.  When the listing went live with another agent, it was someone who did almost no business, and had only 1 listing in the past 12 months.  But that 1 listing that he'd had... had sold for 100% in one day. (because it was dramatically underpriced).

Losing that listing hurt more, because I'd lost it to a nobody.  (Who listed it too high, had 1 photo in the MLS, had zero marketing materials... just the listing sheet... and the listing did not sell over a 1-year listing period).

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) over 9 years ago

Hey Bill....forget # 10....I am down the road here in Northbridge and can say I know for a fact from following top agents that you are one of them.....Yes I remember the big blue book and no fax or cell phone....real estate sure was simpler back in the 80's....Because I am a new sole proprietorship I must admit I do take some 4% listings but I also give them the same service I always gave when I was with the franchise(helps me get my feet off the ground). I can say over the years that their are many agents who will give a slightly lower commission and as you know some of these are top producers with their company's. Generalization I can agree but I know you agree their are exceptions..

Posted by Dennis Duvernay Broker/Owner (Hillview Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, what a great post, and yes, we need to go the extra mile for sure. And by the way, when I first started reading your blog I did Google you, and found that not only do you dominate the internet in your market place with awesome stuff that is RIGHT ON TARGET, but I also found where your rankings are so high with ReMax. A wise person would choose you to represent them in the sale or purchase of a home.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) over 9 years ago

What even hurts more is when the seller is a past buyer client.  Can you say ouch

Posted by Jim O'Donnell (Raleigh Cary Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill - I think you were kind in just calling them clowns.  I can think of some more descriptive words for some of the people that do business as a real estate agent. uh-oh, I feel a blog coming on....

P.S. - Don't you just love people that have a negative comment to make but do it unanimously?  That's really telling ~ about themselves AND the comments they make.

Posted by Lee & Pamela St. Peter, Making Connections to Success in Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices YSU Realty: (919) 645-2522) over 9 years ago

Michele - You are right about not being able to control everything that happens in life. I used to get crushed when I did not get a listing. Today I just take it in stride:)

Eileen & Irene - Thanks for your comments. Sometimes no matter how good you do you will not get the job even if you are the most qualified. Just a fact of life.

Alan - There have been times in my career like the example you describe where it is a complete head scratcher. Sometimes I will email or call the seller and ask for feedback on why I was not chosen. The answers are sometimes different but I know if I hear something like we were just not a personality match and I see the home is listed 50k over what I suggested I know my personality is just fine - LOL

Dennis - You are right my friend. I certainly know some good agents that will discount their fee from time to time. In fact I don't ALWAYS charge the same figure in every circumstance. I was just generalizing:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill:  I have heard of the BIG BOOK that can give everyone a back ache - lucky for me I joined the busines when things were steamlined and have a lot of internet background - I see many agents who have been doing this for as long as you not always make the transition to the new way of doing business.  I am here in Michigan (not down the street) and have full confidence that #10 doesn't know what they are talking about.  I usually get most of the listings when I go on a presentation.  Just listed one and his question was - all the agents say they put it on the internet - what makes me so different.  Not much I could say (since saying and delivering are two different things as you nicely outlined).  I just sent him some links of recent listings - my pictures are clear and I had examples of all I said.  If a seller wants to list higher than market value - or reduce their commission - they didn't pass my interview :-)  Good post.

Posted by Cathy Tishhouse, Royal Oak Real Estate (RE/MAX Showcase Homes) over 9 years ago

Andrea & Pam - Thanks so much for your comments. I think this is the 1st time I have ever received a negative comment on my blog like that before. I know others have gotten them. I am sure other would have just deleted it but honestly I really find it amusing:)

Jim - Very true... those ones hurt the most!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, Great Post!  As a Long time Full Time Pro here in my market, I do get exasperated when a Cream-Skimmer takes a listing and crushes our professions reputation with Shoddy work.  Thanks for a great post!

Posted by John Howard, GRI, Mountain Home, Arkansas 870-404-3614 (Century 21 LeMac Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill #10's post makes us all look bad.  I'm embarrassed by it and I didn't even post it.

Posted by Charita Cadenhead, Serving Jefferson and Shelby Counties (Alabama) (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill - I've told you this before.  If I were a seller in your area, you would be my listing agent. You have it all going on and would do exactly what I would expect---plus a whole lot more.   The scenario you described recently happened to me ra few months back; and while it was a bit disconcerting, it was out of my control as the seller hired a friend of a friend.  But it happens -- and when it does -- I just move on. 

Posted by Barbara Altieri, REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale (Kinard Realty Group - RealtyQuest Team, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Charita - Long ago that kind of comment would have gotten me riled up. I guess in this business you need a thick skin. I am quite sure it was a one of the clowns us professionals have to deal with on a daily basis. Like I said putting on all that make up and big ugly clown shoes everyday is probably very tiresome:)

Josh - There are good and bad in every market across america. If sellers did a little more home work there would be less disatisfaction in our industry.

Barbara - Thanks a bunch for the compliments they are really appreciated!! I don't sweat it either:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, Ronald McDonald would make a great broker...he's easily recognizable, has a national franchise and would send every ones calorie count through the roof when hosting an open house.

Posted by Steve Loynd, 800-926-5653, White Mountains NH ( Alpine Lakes Real Estate Inc., ) over 9 years ago

Steve - I love it! You get the best comment of the day award - LOL

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

If sellers had a clue about the real differences among agents, and knew not just what questions to ask but what the answers mean, we wouldn't have to worry that much about competition. Many agents would be out of business.

I sometimes look at a listing in the MLS or when I show it and wonder if the seller has any idea how poorly served they are. Most of the time it costs no more in hard dollars to hire the best. It may even cost less if the property sells sooner for more.

Makes me crazy.

Posted by Pili Meyer (Coldwell Banker Uptown Realty) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill:

Great post...keeps me smiling.  Bottom line is an informed seller is a good agent's best friend.  Keep up the great work and you will continue to attract good business.


Posted by RE/MAX Executive Realty over 9 years ago

I love the hamburger analogy!  I am going to use that one if you don't mind!  It is true, you get what you pay for.  Unfortunately, it is sooo hard to make a seller believe that.  They only see the immediate dollar sign (the commission charged to them)  and not the end result dollar sign (the amount in their pocket at closing).  Nice post.

Posted by Diana Hoyt (Lakes Region Buchanan Group, Ossipee, NH) over 9 years ago

Pili - You hit the nail on the head. I think there are many times the seller is just not paying attention and just takes for granted that the Realtor is doing what they are supposed to be.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill - to this gentlemen's credit, he called me prior to listing, to tell me that "it had been a tough decision, but he decided to go with another Realtor because his statistics were slightly better than mine."

When I saw who he had listed with, I knew that he had been lied-to, but I had no recourse, the die had been cast.

Posted by Alan May, Helping you find your way home. (Jameson Sotheby's International Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill - Thanks! I love working with an educated seller. These are a good Realtors best friend.

Diana - You are so right about that. It is our job as Realtors to prove to a seller we are worth what we are charging them.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, Almost always when I get the interview but not the listing it turns out the "clown" they hired told them their house was worth way more than it is.  They believed him because they wanted to.  The saddest part of that is that 6 months or a year later, I can't even get them what I could have in the beginning because now their house has been on the market too long and even around here lately we're seeing depreciation.  So, if they could just get it right the first time we'd all be so much better off. 

Commenters:  Be careful about quoting specific commission rates on line.

BTW.  Bill, you said it so well.  Great blog.

Posted by Marian Goetzinger, Crystal Coast Real Estate NC (Pine Knoll Shores Realty 252-422-9000) over 9 years ago

Bill - Seems like #10 "is" a clown huh? Pretty funny... Anyways, You can never underestimate the mind of a seller or a buyer these days. Sellers usually have a family member or a close friend that they may list with and are just using your info to compare with their friends info... We usually tell the seller that if you shout a window and say "Realtor" you will get ten people just passing by your house that are more than likely wanting your business... It's a running joke in our very crowded board down here of over 8 thousand real estate agents.... A lot of competition in our markets here.. Just my 2 cents...

Posted by Robert Hammerstein, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Keller Williams Valley Realty) over 9 years ago


You certainly hit a chord....and no doubt it will continue to happen to all of us.  I like Lenn's comment...

Posted by Lori Churchill Cofer, Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA (Beasley Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, this is definately one of the pitfalls of the job, whats worse is when they go with the Realtor that said they could get xxx amount for the house, of course much more than you said, then after the house is on the market for an eternity, they lower the price to where you said it should be all along and it sells, I when that happens...

Posted by Gerry Michaels, GettysburgGerry Social Meida (Glasswork Media Arts) over 9 years ago

Folks need to know that the entire market and the way to market has changed. Now it's up to the folks to adjust or go out of business

Posted by Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv (REISA - 317-663-4173) over 9 years ago

Bill, very comical but exactly right. good article.

Posted by Ted Tyndall, I will help You find the Home YOU want to Buy (Davidson Realty Inc.) over 9 years ago

Bob - The most amazing statistic about the Real Estate business is that 94% of the business is done by 6% of the agents. Most businesses the ratio is 80/20. When you think about those stats it is easy to see why many consumers get stuck with an agent that is not so great.

Lori - Lenn sums it up pretty well.

Gerry - I think we all at one point in time or another have seen a seller list with the agent that gives them an inflated value only to watch the price drop and drop until it hits the number we gave them. Of course many times it will sell for a lot less because of the days on market.

Tony & Ted- Thanks for your comments.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

I am constantly amazed. The biggest amazement is the banks and the asset managers that hire these clowns.

Posted by Chip Jefferson (Gibbs Realty and Auction Company) over 9 years ago

Go Get #10 Bill:

I enjoyed your response to the person that commented on your lack of success. I know that not all batters hit home runs all the time. So, if an agent does not get a listing many times we assume that the seller did not select that agent because ---- when it could have been the agent that said sorry I am not interested in your listing.

I have been on many listings where I walk away and was happy I did due to the lack of motivation by the seller.


Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) over 9 years ago


What if your agent is this type of clown?

Posted by Mike Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Mike Russell & Associates) over 9 years ago

Too funny!  I have had many of those "WTF" moments.  I try and make myself feel better by thinking, "Well, if they are not smart enough to hire me, they would not have been smart enough to listen to me on VERY important topics like asking price and price reductions."

Posted by David Cahill (Century 21 Cahill Associates) over 9 years ago

I'm not sure if you can hear that sound all the way up there in Hopkinton, MA.

But it's the sound of applause coming from the Raleigh, NC area for this post Bill.

You definitely earned your little star on this one.

Well done my friend!


Posted by Craig Rutman, Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor (Helping people in transition) over 9 years ago

Bill...Amen. There is very little to add to your description. Seems this discussion is happening all over these days and I fear we will be unable to "fix" the problems that are being created by the clowns in time to benefit the seller.

Posted by SarahGray Lamm, Realtor - 100K Hours of NC Real Estate Experience (Allen Tate Realtors Chapel Hill, NC 919-819-8199 ) over 9 years ago

Bill, great post and I've seen that happen to good realtors so many times since the 80's... The most recent being a realtor friend of mine here locally. He told me the story just a couple of days ago. He's helped out his next door neighbor a number of times. She was getting ready to sell. After a lot of conversations about getting the house ready for market and "I'll certainly use you when I put it on the market," he looks out his window to see a for sale sign in the yard. Yep, a friends relative who just went into real estate got the listing.

I say, you'll get what you pay for...

Posted by Rene Fabre, Marketing in the Digital Age (First American Title) over 9 years ago

Bill...too many clowns are making false get what you pay for...i don't even consider it competition...Cherise

Posted by Cherise Selley, Colorado Springs Realtor (Selley Group Real Estate, LLC) over 9 years ago

What's new Bill. In any industry, any church, any school, any civic club, family etc there are folks that win the gold medal for top notch service. Not every professional is a Little Red Hen. Not every broker is a REALTOR or a Multi Million Dollar Producer if that is the only criteria you use to judge. Nothing has changed in the 80/20 breakdown of 80 percent of your business is done by the top 20% in any profession. I am a REALTOR with 30 years under the belt and your headline about IS YOUR REALTOR A CLOWN made me cringe. Brokers that complain about the public making association with the used car salesman label, which is a pretty harsh testament on all the folks selling "pre owned" "program" cars in itself, sometimes perpetrate the same labeling. Looking for someone to kick to make ourselves look better, to show we hold some higher standard? Add clowns to the list of some silly REALTORS trying but failing horribly in your opinion. Without pointing fingers during a listing presentation a positive spin is explaining not in public to a seller one on one what is needed to list, market, sell real estate successfully without picking a clown, caveman label as the dunce REALTOR to kick during the presentation. Or on line later with the "Can you believe how stupid, inept one of our own REALTORS is? He or she is still part of the team, and ethically all of us have to watch how we malign, spin, negative PR our own industry member. If we don't, we have no justification to cry foul when the media does it. Blogging is media, an information stream.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 9 years ago


Thanks for this post.  I have only been on AR for a week or so, but this post clearly lit up the boards as they say.  Very thought-provoking...

Posted by Tony Cordi (Tony Cordi, Broker (Beachtime Realty)) over 9 years ago


Very funny post. How did you get Ronald McDonald onboard? lol

Posted by Jeana Cowie, Broker Associate, ABR, CRS, GRI, SRES (RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) over 9 years ago

Bill, very good points here. It also makes our job more difficult because the meaningless information we give to our clients from the listing isn't of real value like you mentioned. My listings have beautiful photos hand picked and wording is well thought out to make the buyers informed. Thanks for pointing that out!

Posted by Erik Hiss, You can trust me for all your real estate needs! (Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty) over 9 years ago

Hallelujah!!!  And I'm a Buyer's Agent!  You can tell a lazy agent by what they input in the MLS.  And as I show clients homes, there are a few things that show the quality of the listing agent.  The ones that stand out with care, I usually respond in the showing feedback more indepth, and I keep on my recommended list after the entire tour is complete.  Nice post, from a true professional!

Posted by Raine Spivey, Realtor (REIGN REALTY) over 9 years ago

I checked out the link to your Realtor interview questions. I like 'em. Love the title of your blog post; I'm trying to restrain myself because I have a lot to say about clowns in real estate ;-)

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 9 years ago

Lorraine - As you know there are a lot of jealous Realtors in our industry. I just take it with a grain of salt.

Michael - Nice picture:)

David - I am sure we all have had them at one time or another. It is easy to have them in the Real Estate business!

Sarah & Cherise - No doubt about it. Thanks for chiming in:)

Craig - Thanks my friend!

Rene - I think every good Realtor out there has probably lost a listing they thought was in the bad and then the relative shows up on the scene.

Andrew - if you are a professional which I am sure you are given you have been around for 30 years, you have nothing to worry about. I don't see anything wrong with pointing out to consumers there are those that are good at what they do and some that are not. Unfortunately our industry does NOT follow the 80/20 rule. According to NAR is is 94/6. That makes the odds go up that the consumer is going to make a poor choice. I see nothing wrong with educating them on what to look for. What are good questions to ask.

BTW - I never ever disparage another Realtor when I am being interviewed. I accentuate my skills and why I should be the guy they hire!

Beachtime - Welcome to Active Rain. Hope you enjoy the site!

Jeana - Glad you like the article. Me and Ron go way back:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago


Unfortunately your post rings true. Once lost a listing to an agent who guaranteed to sell the house, when I asked the seller what the guarantee was they didn't even know. Probably good I didn't get that listing.

Posted by Walter Grewe III, Realtor, SFR, A-REO, Roanoke Homes and Real Estate (Long and Foster Realtors) over 9 years ago

Great post, Bill...  I had times just like you described.  Fortunately...when I was doing the listing thang...I almost always got the listing...mainly because I had done my homework and because I was there on a referral from someone else I had done a great job for.  Success breeds success.  However...when we all let success go to our head...we start slacking and then lose listings.  I hate to say it...but I can say "Guilty" on that too.

Service, accessibility, and communication are going to be KEY in getting and keeping business. 


Posted by Claire Record (Keller Williams Realty--Boerne Hill Country) over 9 years ago

It seems there are a lot of "clowns" out there...and unfortunately sometimes they work for big name companies.  That is what is getting the listing in most cases...not the agent, but the name behind them.

Posted by Ricardo Ruiz del Vizo, Residential, Luxury, and Commercial Investments (The DelVizo Group / Optimus CREIA) over 9 years ago

Lots of serious points in this funny post. We all have them - the customers who are never satisfied, unless they can get the lowest possible commission, but will buy another agent's bill of goods. Best to walk away. Who wants to do bad business or feel they were taken advantage of?

Posted by Millie C. Legenhausen, CRS, GRI, CIPS, MBA, Realtor (Calcagni Real Estate, Hamden, Connecticut) over 9 years ago

In many cases like this a friend, relation, friend of a friend or whomever gets the listing. It happens all the time in my area.  I lose business to top agents who often don't sit the house themselves.  They give the listing to one of their newbies who doesn't have a clue.  There are errors on the MLS and the newbie is out there trying to pick up buyers, not sell the house themselves since they are not going to get anything for it.  And, your anonymous admirer....what can I say

Posted by Jane Peters, Los Angeles real estate concierge services (Home Jane Realty) over 9 years ago

Sometimes even a blind rat finds a kernal of corn. I'm amazed also when I'm involved in this kind of situation. Your first thoughts are WTF.

Posted by Rob D. Shepherd, Principal Broker GRI, SRES (Windermere/lane county) over 9 years ago

I used to lug around one of those books and I like your line

"I think most would agree having having a burger from a steakhouse is better than McDonald's. It works the same way picking a Realtor as well."

Posted by Russell Lewis, Broker,CLHMS,GRI (Realty Austin, Austin Texas Real Estate) over 9 years ago

So many factors come in to play when a client chooses his/her agent. Great post! I enjoyed reading it.

Posted by Todd & Devona Garrigus, Broker / REALTORS® (Garrigus Real Estate) over 9 years ago

CLOWN is the perfect word!  I have a few other choice words I use, but this works.  You wonder how they get buyers also.  I can only hope their bad experiences give us opportunities to shine when we get the chance.

Posted by Sajy Mathew, Making your real estate dreams become a reality! (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Bill....what's with #10???? and anonymous.....doesn't have the conollis to step up to the plate and give a name!!!  my team and I work like fools and we can never beat you....I'll be the first to say you are top-shelf.

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 9 years ago

Claire - A referral from a satisfied client is most often a great client to work with. This of course is much better thant the seller that goes in blindly and does not do any home work picking an agent.

Russell - Those were the days:)

Barbara - That one was new on me. I have never had that type of comment before. I am quite sure it was a jealous Realtor that just was looking to start trouble. Like you, I work like a dog. I am single and have no kids that fact alone equals a lot of time to put into my business:) Of course my girlfriend doesn't like it!

Everyone - thanks for all your comments about picking a good Realtor!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

LOL!! No wonder NAR had a big drop in number of renewals this year.

Posted by Ritu Desai, Virginia Realtor-Fairfax/Loudoun/PW-703-625-4949 (Samson Properties) over 9 years ago

OMG!  I just mentioned the thick listing books in a blog.  I wasn't in the business then, but I've heard enough veteran agents mention it. :)

In regards to losing the listing in those type of instances, you could always continue to farm that person and show their house leaving your business card there each time (Wow he/she is really pushing the showing of our home!).  When the mask falls off the clown they will call you!


Posted by Andi Grant, Helping 1st time buyers and home sellers in LA! (310-508-4354 | over 9 years ago

Love the pictures! I think the scenario you mentioned has happened to all of us.  It seems that sometimes sellers believe what they want to hear!  I like going for expired listings because they can recognize good service after they had a not-so-good experience. 

Posted by Anonymous over 9 years ago

Bill -

This was a great post worthy of the star.  I thought I was the only one who told it like it T-I- IS, but you did a great job.  We have all been in that situation and you are right, the first words running through my mind is WTF?  6 months later when that listing still has not sold and the seller is frustrated, then they want to call me back.  Honestly......I usually don't want to be bothered at that point.  I tell all of my potential have to like me and trust me in order to work with me.  If either of those things don't exist, we shouldn't work together.

Thanks adding some humor to my day

Have a good one


Posted by Leander McClain, Cecil & Harford County Realtor over 9 years ago

Bill- Great analogy here! It is frustrating to see an agent get a listing and you know the only reason was that they cut commission. Typically you see the house sit forever on the market at the wrong price, with lame pictures and no REAL marketing. Sad.

Your anonymous commenter is so brave, they didn't even post their name. I bet they are super successful! LOL! You are better than me, I probably would have just removed it.

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) over 9 years ago

The things that you state absolutely ERK me when viewing other Realtors information...

  • There are only a couple of pictures of the house posted in MLS.
  • The quality of the photo's absolutely SUCKS. It is obvious to you
    the agent picked up a disposable Kodak camera on the way to take pictures.
  • You read the description of the property and there is barely anything of value. It clearly looks like the agent didn't care and just wrote anything to fill the space. Of course there is also either bad
    grammar, spelling mistakes, or the use of abbreviations that buyers
    have no clue what they stand for.

I see so many listings with 1 photo it drives me crazy. I'm not sure if its laziness or what but some of these people shouldn't be classified as a Real Estate Professional in my opinion.

Posted by Greg Afarian (Virtual Media Realty & ZIPVO) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill.  I understand your frustration..

I try to just move on to the next one.

Keep rocking,


Posted by Ken Tracy, Helping clients buy and sell since 2005 (Keller Williams Realty Infinity) over 9 years ago

Here's a picture that I used back in 2007 on my local blog to illustrate a post that I did about the same issue. It might not bother me so much, expect that the clowns that do such poor jobs reflect on our entire profession. I posted at the time about the small, sometimes one or two man operations that had popped up to get into the REO business and which were (and still are) doing such a poor job.

two clowns with a for sale sign

Posted by Norm Werner, Helping the first time and every time (Real Estate One) over 9 years ago

Gosh, Bill, Clown #10 didn't leave his name - do you suppose he is anonymous on the internet, too?  :)

So many homes here are in subdivisions that do not allow For Sale signs, without the type of internet marketing that you taught me so well how to use, these homes are lost in the crowd of homes for sale.  Yet so many agents are still only using marketing from the 90's - a great year for music, BTW.


Posted by Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR, Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS (Desert Gold Realty - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale) over 9 years ago

Clowns are everywhere.  Sometimes the seller is a clown.  I've got one now that is FSBOing that won't leave me alone.  He wants buyers.  Hello??? I'll bring a buyer if I've got one. However there are 6,999 other agents in the county that could be accessed as well if the seller would LIST THE HOME.  The discount hit this person is going to take by doing the FSBO is probably going to outweigh how much he could possibly save in commissions.

However, I agree. It's price to most people - they don't get that listing is more than sticking a sign in the ground.  But then again, we've done that to ourselves by allowing almost anyone to get a license.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) over 9 years ago

A listing I lost over a year and a half ago because it was grossly overpriced(the seller wouldn't listen but said he wanted to try his price for a month and then never would allow me to drop it) was given to another agent.  She put up a photoshopped filter picture of the house that was horrible and the interior shots sucked.  He still didn't lower the price either so I didn't feel too bad, but those pictures after my shots just made me laugh.

Posted by Kerry Jenkins (Prime Properties) over 9 years ago

Andi - There are many times that sellers have called me back when the listing is about to expire with the Realtor that did not do such a hot job with marketing their home.

Leander- The one thing I will never do is tell someone what they want to hear. I don't put my sign in someones lawn unless I am very confident I can sell the property.

Kristi - 1st time I got a comment like that. Obviously they don't have the gusto to put their name.

Greg - I can imagine someone being in the video business certainly would have an issue with a lack of photos and good descriptions:)

Ken - Thanks my friend.

Norm - The REO industry and how banks go about choosing agents to work with is even worse.

Virginia - I am glad that I have helped you along the way. That is one of the great things about Active Rain!


Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Well, quite a few of these clowns are making more money than me. So, I have got to look at what I'm not doing or saying that they would get them picked over me.

Posted by Gregory Bain, For Homes on the Jersey Shore (Mezzina Real Estate & Insurance) over 9 years ago

Bill, I just love reading your blogs!  This one cracks me up!  After a listing I took at a reduced commission expired, only to see the next agent in get the full boat AND the price reduction I'd been working on, I made up my mind that I'm done with the reductions.  I took two listings last year for the first time at reduced commissions when the sellers told me that was the ONLY thing between hiring me, who they supposedly "preferred" and hiring someone else.  I felt as if I'd sold myself out and both of them involved a lot of extra work that I don't usually mind doing and a bit of guff that I didn't deserve.  No more! 

I have family members that I would refer to you in a heartbeat if you were closer to them! 

PS: I wasn't afraid of clowns....until I saw Michael's!  EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK!

Posted by Carole L. MacCollum, Broker/Realtor 207-337-4792 (HOME AT LAST REAL ESTATE) over 9 years ago

Ruth, Amy, Matt & Greg - In every business there are always times where people who are less deserving of the business and manage to get it. On many of these occasions the seller is thoroughly disappointed and blames it all on the Realtor when both parties are really to blame.

Carole - I did not realize you were a fan! Thanks for the comps:) I see you are up in Wells Maine. My parents have a place in York and I am up there quite a few weekends during the summer. Of course I head up to Wells and Oqunquit as well. What a beautiful are lucky!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Great topic Bill... I think we have all been there.  I often wonder what pushed a seller in one direction and not another, sometimes a lot of empty promises.

Posted by Andrea Kappre, New Jersey Realtor, New Jersey MLS, Homes for Sale (Keller Williams Hometown) over 9 years ago

Bill - I say bring in the clowns. They make us laugh. Clowns eventually find this business expensive and confusing. Eventually they find themselves unemployed and broke. Meaning that the cream will always rise to the top. Outstanding service and word of mouth wins out.  Great post

Posted by Claude Cross, Charlotte NC Homes For Sale (Homes By Cross, Inc. ) over 9 years ago

Andrea & Claude - You are both correct. The cream always does rise to the top. In fact I wrote an article a while back titled why Massachusetts homes expire that explains in greater detail the pitfalls of picking a bad agent and how to avoid doing so.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

this post made me blood boil and made me laugh at the same time. neither buyers nor sellers do their homework really. for the last year, i have focused my efforts on buyers because i felt that the market was already saturated with listings. oh my! the things i saw in the mls...whew! no pictures, pictures with people in the background, little description if any, clutter...everything that would make me not show the listing..and the rest of the marketing efforts? blah....i wonder if these realtors actually have the seller approve the listing and marketing material before it is published....

Posted by Dee Neal, Atlanta Area Real Estate (Palmer House Properties) over 9 years ago

Dee - That is part of the problem. There are many sellers that go on blind faith that the Realtor is going to do what they are supposed to. In many cases they do and other times they do not.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, for those who needed this as a wake-up call, I hope for their sakes that they take heed and get their act together.

On the other hand, their continued foolishness only serves to make it easier for great agents like yourself to do a spectacular job for the clients who do choose you.

And, it serves as a reminder for the rest of us (myself included) never to slack up and become a lazy realtor...I would never want to be thought of as being a clown...

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) over 9 years ago

Bill. Too many sellers shop price instead of expertise. my area that's not so much the case any mnore. Since most listings are short sales the cost doesn't matter anymore. Now that's it's too late they are fianally shopping expertise. Crazy ain't it?

By the way this post is beatifully displayed. Well done. 

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 9 years ago

This makes me smile.  People usually do business with people that they like. Sometimes they do business with someone they know like a relative, neighbor or friend.

Posted by Teresa Boardman (Boardman Realty) over 9 years ago

How many times I've wanted to call the seller who listed with someone else after meeting with me because the other agent would list their home for 20% more than the comps would support.  I watch the listing as the price is reduced...reduced...reduced.  It finally sells for 20% less than I probably could have sold it for with my marketing plan. 

Posted by Amy Jones Group, 4 Time BEST OF OUR VALLEY Winner (South East Valley - over 9 years ago

Ooohhhh steam!  I love it, Bill, been there :)

Posted by Wendy Rulnick, "It's Wendy... It's Sold!" (Rulnick Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago


I laughed out loud- really when I read this.

It JUST happened to me. I have had 2 sellers call me that decided on other agents they are VERY unhappy with. Guess what? They are stuck in a 6 month listing agreement. Now it sucks to be THEM!

Posted by BethAnn Long, Realtor, CRS, e-PRO, Spokane Wa Real Estate (RE/MAX Inland Empire) over 9 years ago

The lying about the value of the home is such a classic one Bill. Too many homeowners fall for that clown.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago

William- I think there have been times where we all have needed a wake up call myself included!

Andrea - No doubt about it.

BB - One of my biggest pet peeves is the agent who takes on a short sale and doesn't know the 1st thing about them. It is happening a lot in my area. You would think when a seller is on the doorstep of foreclosure they would really do their homew work. I have an offer in on a property right now where the agent has never done a short sale before. Of course she has collected all the offers and sent them all to the bank. Great job representing the seller when any of them can walk at any time!

Teresa - We all have the right to choose but one would think you would want to make the best one possible.

Amy- It happens to all of us.

Wendy - Me too:)

BethAnn - I am glad it made you laugh!

Gary - It is human nature. Everyone wants to believe their home is better than the one just like it down the Street.



Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill,  I liked the post today. You hit home for sure.

Patricia/Seacoast NH

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) over 9 years ago

Bill, hummmmmmmmmmmm I think that is called buying a listing. Those that fall for these tactic deserve exactly what they get in my opinion.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 9 years ago

Bill - This is spot on, my friend.  I have had this happen a few times, and it never fails to irritate me.  :)

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 9 years ago

Bill, great post! I see it all the time.

Posted by Joseph Keech (Blue Atlantic Properties) over 9 years ago

Bill ... you said it perfectly!!!!!!!!!!!!   thank you!  pippa

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) over 9 years ago

Hey Bill...

Love the steam!

Don't you just love when a seller (or so they think) uses us and picks our brains... keep their cousin's red-headed step-child who just got his license... Honest?!

(...who was actually present for the interview and forgot to disclose)

Then, in a few months, the inbred might figure out that the other agents are only showing/using his listing to sell theirs 'cuz he priced it wrong...

Good thing we don't tell 'em everything we know right up front, huh?!

A higher power must have something to do with it, I like to think.

As PO'd as we get initially, imagine being married to them for 6 months or more?!

God bless....& Send In The Clowns!

PS There's your cue, Comment #10! Now go get your big red nose & floppy shoes!

Who's laughing now? ;)

All the best!

Brian Morgenweck, Broker/Owner

Power Realty Group, Hackensack, NJ


Posted by Brian Morgenweck, Broker/Owner, GRI, CRS, ABR, SRS (Power Realty Group, LLC Bergen County, NJ ) over 9 years ago

Bill: Congrats on the feature!  Excellent post, glad they got you fired up.  Back in the mid 80's, we did not even have knowledge of a thing called a computer let alone the Internet.  It still is somewhat amazing that agents still think they can put a sign in the yard, turn in to the MLS and they are doing a great job for the seller, those days are gone!  Absolutely, a great post!

Posted by Dona Reynolds, St. Joseph MO (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Stein Summers) over 9 years ago

I wish sellers could have two agents for the first 30 days and see the difference. Then choose based on performance.

Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill,

Thanks again for commenting on my post in the frigid North of Anchorage, Alaska. I enjoyed reading yours on pretty much the same topic. I particularly liked your Realtor Interview Questions. Marianne

Posted by Marianne Grant, Realtor, CRS 907-529-6602 (Jack White Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Bill, I look at your incredible presentations and your internet presence and I always wish more people HERE unstood how important that is (and they never think to check it).  I have to say if you saw our MLSLI you would be mortified by what is put up on there....if anything at all.   It's so bad our local newspaper did a long series of specifically asking realtors to "Retake this Photo, please"


Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) over 9 years ago

I agree with Eileen's earlier post. Water seeks it's own level and clowns sometimes work with clowns!

On the note of googling, why don't buyers and seller's do this more? After all, how to they think people look for real estate these days, at least initially?

Posted by Wendi Milinkov, One call-I've done it all! Sales/Title/Escrow (North American Title) over 9 years ago

yOu get what you pay for in all industries. Maybe in the end their decision to not use you lets you off the hook from working with  what would have been a problem client.

Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge over 9 years ago

The  value of a realtor who knows the value...isn't afraid to tell the seller and promotes the real features in a consumer friendly manner...ahhhh

Posted by Sally K. & David L. Hanson, WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce (EXP Realty 414-525-0563) over 9 years ago

Interesting comments on this thread. Thanks for sharing your perspective.

Posted by Tim Bray, B.S. Real Estate (UConn) (Sotheby's Intl Realty (William Pitt)) over 9 years ago

Bill, oh so true.  I've been there and done that a bit more times than I'd like to admit.  Now, just wait till it expires and give them another call!

Posted by Gabe Sanders, Stuart Florida Real Estate (Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales) over 9 years ago

Carole & Wendy - It is amazing that people do not use the power of the internet as an interview tool when they use it for everything else. There would be so many more happy consumers if they just took the time to do some research.

Cheryl - You are right about getting what you pay for!

Sally & David - A Realtor that is never afraid to tell the truth always has business. They don't worry about losing a listing over a riduculous price because they don't have to!


Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago


Love the photos, and didn't you get a great response on this one?!

Mike in Tucson

Posted by Mike Jones, Mike Jones NMLS 223495 (SUNSTREET MORTGAGE, LLC (BK-0907366, NMLS 145171) ) over 9 years ago

I couldn't agree more. Been there many times!

Posted by Linda Greco Rich, ABR, SRES, Harford County Specialist (Exit Preferred Realty) over 9 years ago

I couldn't agree more. Been there many times!

Posted by Linda Greco Rich, ABR, SRES, Harford County Specialist (Exit Preferred Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill - Well said !  It is amazing indeed !  On top of that, what happens when the deal actually goes under contract ?  Did the Realtor have the negotiation skills to get the best price ?  And more importantly, does the Realtor have the skills to deal with all the other issues that may arise such as appraisal valuations coming in low, home inspection negotiations, title issues and so forth !  Go with the best and you get the best : )

Posted by The Somers Team, Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate. (The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access) over 9 years ago

Bill - It is similar for EBAs as well as listing agents. I have buyers who come to me with a list of questions that they read out of a first time home buyer book and they really are not asking the right questions. Sometimes they select someone else and then later come back when they can't win a property. The National Association of Exclusive Buyer's Agents even publishes a list of questions buyers should ask, but they don't seem to find it. Prospects spend more time looking at listings online than on researching the best agents.



Posted by Dana Hollish Hill, Lead Associate Broker (Hollish Hill Group, KW Capital Properties) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill- I love this post!  You forgot two important things..... the other agent will INCLUDE  ALL CAPS in their marketing program, AND exclamation points!  EVERYONE knows that ALL CAPS and exclamation points are what buyers are looking for!  Right!  Look!  Skinny picture from my cell phone of UP! Toilet Seat!

Posted by George Belleville over 9 years ago

What's the saying?  You get what you pay for!

Posted by Diana Manzato over 9 years ago

In attempting to be clever, Bill, you come off as arrogant and insulting to the customer (and to any agent who beat you out for a listing).  Your post implies that a customer who does not choose you as a listing agent must be ignorant.  It betrays, although does not admit, that you presented an unconvincing case to the clients you did not land.  Instead of all the after-the-fact finger pointing at the customer (and excuse making in Active Rain), a better path would be to refine your presentations to your potential customers to point out the competitive advantages of signing with you.  In Connecticut, we have a small, successful supermarket chain whose motto has two rules  "1) The customer is always right. 2) If the customer is wrong, reread rule #1."  After reading your post, with its clever attention-getting headline, I thought of the awful '60s song by Bobby Goldsboro, "Funny Little Clown," whose lyrics end with " one knows except for me/Because you see I'm that funny little clown."   

Posted by Larry Gavrich (HomeOnTheCourse LLC) over 9 years ago

Bill - If that happens to me, then I feel it's my fault.  I didn't explain my value in a way that the seller could understand and warn them what to look out for when another agent offers a lower commission.  I'm not a teacher, but I can understand why they are among the most successful real estate professionals.  They educate their clients.  I try to do the same.  It's not enough to show that you are the best listing agent, you have to educate the seller about the real estate market. 

Posted by Gail Robinson, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate) over 9 years ago


Excellent post!  Certainly frustrating to lose the listing when you truly believe you can get the best results for the Seller!

As a professional negotiation trainer who has trained thousands of real estate agents, the other factor may very well be persuasion skills.  Experienced agents often lack the ability to persuade and inflence effectively, simply because they've never been trained in this area.  Bringing up an agent's negotiation skills in the listing interview should also be done as this one skill will determine what the seller nets (as well as what the listing agent nets!).  If agents can't negotiate well for themselves, how will they negotiate with someone else's money?  If you have a well constructed negotiation planning guide or tool you can leave with the Seller, that will also make areal impact.  Of course, if you can show your results vs. the average results in the seller's area (days on market, selling price as % of list price, list price reductions, etc.) and you do better than the average agent, then your results will speak for themeselves.

Negotiation is a life skill, not just a business skill!

Tom Hayman

The Real Estate Negotiation Institute

Posted by Tom Hayman over 9 years ago

You said it!  I love this post. EXCELENT!  Its about time someone had the guts to speak up and tell the truth. I have been a Buyers Agent for over 10 years now, and it absolutely amazes me how closed minded, un-prepared, false information and low standards some of these listing agents set for themselves and their clients.  I don't know why they are in this business, for bragging rights or they just don't have anythng else better to do for now.  I'm tired of them getting in the way of me earning a great living.  Whenever I present offers and they come back with all of these ridiculous excuses about how the numbers are not meeting their clients needs, I know right then and there, I am dealing with a real estate clown.  For God sake, do your homework and get outside of the clown box.  Real Estate is still what it has always been, we go through trends, cycles etc.  We just need to come from another angle and learn new concepts for sealing the deal. The experienced agents are great to work with, however there are a few out there who are stuck in their old clown box too. Present a new way of doing business to them, and they loose their minds. All I can say, you spoke about all of things I was feeling.  GREAT POST.  I'm going to share this with my Broker.

Posted by Thomasina tammy Adams over 9 years ago

I just went on a listing appointment and touted the importance of having the home ready to show, painted, new counter tops, the usual... and great pictures.  The seller called to tell me they decided to go in a different direction.  So I am anxiously waiting to see what that means... when it hits the market.   

Posted by Lexie Longstreet (Savvy + Co. Real Estate) over 9 years ago

I was posting at the same time as Larry above.  My post was not meant to be critical of you.  Just wanted to clarify that.  I totally get what you were saying.  We've all experienced this.

Posted by Gail Robinson, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Bill, ouch. I can feel the sting and have been there.  I had to laugh at the one 'bozo' picture, what happens if it is more of the Stephen King Bozo type clown?  Seller deserves it. 

There are so many sellers that are listing with 'no name' brands and I just don't get it. Maybe we can get to the bottom of the mystery some how!

Posted by Lyn Sims, Schaumburg IL Real Estate (RE/MAX Suburban) over 9 years ago

HI Bill!

I've found that there is always a reason a sellers choose someone else! Maybe the other agent "out bonded you" or they lowered their commission and in essence "bought the listing"! No worries though, at an 85% success ratio you'd be worth well over $10M a year in baseball, basketball or football!

Heck the some of the most well known free throw shooters in the NBA are Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming and they have a success ratio of only 84%! Look on the bright side...your success ratio is better than Kobe Bryant and Yao Ming...hehehehe!


Socar Chatmon-Thomas 

Posted by Socar Chatmon-Thomas (Elegant Estates by Auction, A PLR Company) over 9 years ago

Bill, nice article but geez buddy... you need a vacation!

Posted by Ralph Vargas (EXIT Realty Redefined) over 9 years ago

Bill--Clowns are not always funny as you have so aptly pointed out...sometimes and for some people, they can be down right scary...Stay away from the clowns by doing your research prior to listing your property!

Posted by Teri Eckholm, REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro (Boardman Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, very cute blog post!  I'm amazed that agents can stay in business.  I love the comment about enhanced listings at,, and  I've spoken to a number of agents and they don't even know what is...can you believe?????????????????

Eventually, with the evolution of real estate online those agents will be gone.  In this market on the strong and nimble will survive. 

Posted by Tracy Santrock, Raleigh - Cary Realtor/Broker In Charge (Fonville Morisey/Santrock Realty Group, Inc. ) over 9 years ago

You gotta love those anonymous comments where people are trying to call you out. We had a name for that in the Marine Corps. NO BALLS!

I actually just got my first listing yesterday. I know I'm fighting people's perceptions when they ask how much business I've done and I have to tell them not much. Then again, I have an ace up the sleeve because I work with my Dad and he's been in the business a very long time. Still only way to get there is keep putting the good foot forward. Good post Bill!

Posted by Nathan Tutas, Your Central Florida Real Estate Expert (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Bill, after 21 years as a Professional Clown and Party Planner, my last 6 years as a Realtor have been as great as my Clown days were!  I offer customer service and with a smile!  So I feel that was a real cut to my old Profession.  But I am not holding it against you or any of the people frighted of clowns.. some of them are very scary, as are some Realtors!  LOL

We have bad in every walk of life.... we must strive to work hard and be Professional in all aspects of our business to make it the best!

However I totally agree we have MANY MANY inexperienced Realtors out here and they are NOT working for their Sellers or Buyers in a Professional manner!  I run into every day! No return calls, no information correct on listings, no photos and no answers!  Something must be done!

Posted by Rosalind Vasilakis (Future Home Realty) over 9 years ago

When you take your car to your mechanic, aren't you trying to get the car fixed at a reasonable and cheapest price possible? As long as he fixes it correctly, uses good parts, don't you hope it doesn't cost that much?  If you aren't concerned with cost, you are at odds with 99.9% of the consumers that are out there.

I, as an agent, am a Full Service Real Estate Broker, and yes, I can list homes at 3.9%...On a $200,000 sell, I can typical save a seller around $2,200. That is a significant sum, especially in today's market, when buyers are fewer, asking for closing cost help, and a host of other reasons. I offer a seller two local MLS's, advertising in two local home magazines, and an abundant internet presence, and QUALITY SERVICE.

I'm sometimes taken aback by the audacity of agents who believe they are of a priviledged class of agents, that believe they are entitled to be in this business, and have forgotten why we are in business...To bring buyers and sellers 'together' in the marketplace...

I have wondered why I didn't get some listings, and there are many reasons, but all I can do is focus more on 'my service', what I can offer a customer, be more professional, exude a positive attitude with a customer

There are no 'magical' spells one can cast to get more business, no one is entitled, and no one is above anyone else as an agent...When things were going crazy in years past, anyone could sell a dead body a home, well things have changed, RE practice now requires even more dedication, patience, and yes, I can lower my commission to 3.9% to get a listing, because as my owner says, "A little bit is better than none".  I perserve to be here in this business I love many years down the road, and I'm not going to let anyone project an attitude on me, I will do business my way, and constantly look for ways to improve my skills, and my business...

So for all you out there that are struggling, working hard, working smarter, and persevering, I say, travel on, it may not get any easier, but be flexible, innovative, and conscientious, and you may want to do what I do alot, I pray to God...He does keep me centered on His Son...and that helps me alot...




Posted by Homes for Heroes, Homes for Heroes Realtor, Relocation Expert (Coldwell Banker First Realty) over 9 years ago

This post is rude and insulting to us all. This is the exact type of post I wrote about two days ago in REALTORS SLAMMING REALTORS.  Not only is the post a slam but a few of the responses are Anti Trust violations of REALTORS discussing other companies commissions.  A Big NO NO. Why can't you get listings the old fashioned way by doing a wonderful presentation of yourself, your company, your marketing campaign, etc and leave out the negative nasty elements of slamming your fellow REALTORS.  P.S. I bet you would not turn down a qualified buyer with a full price offer from one of those CLOWNS! 

Posted by C.J. Johnson, Tehachapi CA over 9 years ago

Hi Bill, I can totally emphathize with this post, and often with the way to market is and some Realtors looking for any work they can get I would also ask 'is that clown at your kids party a Realtor in disguise?'

Posted by Stuart Dobson ( over 9 years ago

What I find in our area is that agents tell sellers that there home is worth much more than my evaluation. They convince the seller that they will get more and list it. I watch the listing go 30-60-90 days, no offers. Then the price starts going down until it gets to my recommended list price. The seller has wasted valuable selling time. After 25 years in the business, I know how to value homes but sellers are looking to maximize there outcome.

Posted by Joy Caldwell (Coventry Glen Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, I have clowns in my area as well. Least to mention in the business full time. They usually don't sell the house or help the buyer get the deal either. I am on to the next one. Good Luck, must sure they place the fries in the bag.

Posted by Frank Rubi, (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) over 9 years ago

Bill, This is powerful.  "So if you are going to be selling your home and meeting with a Real Estate agent you better ask good  Realtor interview questions. "

A seller with these questions=a seller I would like to list/sell.

Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) over 9 years ago

Ain't it the truth! Well said and I agree 100%! I have had this happen to me and those listings are still on the market as we speak!

Posted by Vanessa Stalets, REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate (RE/MAX Elite) over 9 years ago

I like Tom's response.  Girlfriend maybe, third wife...I hope not, unless tycoon of sorts, third realtor, I welcome the opportunity!

Posted by Jani Savage, Professional Realtor, ABR, CMRE, SFR (United Broker's Group, Phoenix Metro) over 9 years ago

Let's go one step about the seller who didn't even interview anyone from the area.  Picked someone (friend) he knows from 150 miles away who doesn't even know the area, who says See Thomas Guide for directions, let's MLS take one picture for him, writes a few words in the description and does no marketing.  Now we have a Circus, not just a Clown. There's no accounting for a seller's reasoning but as long as he's happy so be it.  He probably has no idea what he's missing because he's never had professional representation.

Posted by Nancy McNamee (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago

Excellent post!  I have a fear of clowns so I was a little freaked out but you are so right in the comparison.  I have seen more and more sellers asking for lowered commissions because they have too little equity in their home to even cover commissions and closing costs.


What kills me is when I go on a listing presentation, do my thing (and do it well), have done a ton of research, etc., and then don't get the listing because their friend of a friend's cousins sisters mother from church 5 years ago were going to list it all along but they aren't familiar with the area and don't know where to price it.  I love working for free.  Not.


It's a jungle out there.  Or maybe a circus.

Posted by Charlotte Stilwell, Broker-Associate (Century 21 Hardee Team Realty) over 9 years ago

Great post. sooooooooo true, Everyone in this business will experience this at least once. But isn't this true in a lot of professions.  We  haven't lost this business, it wasn't there..  When they get real and/or to the right price they will see who was right and professional..  don't you love it tho, when you see them later and they admit they were foolish,  or sometimes,  I just have to say,, so how did your sale go ?????  The expression is worth a million !!!!!

Posted by Marlene S. Giles, RE/MAX 1st Olympic over 9 years ago

Great post, Bill

But there will always be those who have wax in their ears until it comes time to talk about "what you charge" to sell my house. The will take the discount or rebate everytime, becoming basically a step up (but not a big one) from the first time FSBO. Good luck to them, it only makes us look better.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) over 9 years ago

It must be our self-punishing nature!  Whenever I "fail" to get the listing I interview for or the client chooses to re-list with another agent after expiration, I follow the path of that listing until THE END. 

And then I feel bad for the seller because it seems that they always lose more than I did, like the house that sold for $85K below list price after more than a year on the market or the home that never sells due to lack of marketing. 


Posted by Jenna Dixon, Empowers You With a Better Real Estate Experience (DRA Homes | Cobb County Real Estate ) over 9 years ago

I read the whole post but not all the comments, so I don't know if anyone mentioned this. But your post starts out talking to real estate agents and ends talking to home owners. Oops? Or did I miss something?

Posted by Joetta Fort, Independent Broker, Homes Denver to Boulder (The DiGiorgio Group) over 9 years ago

Begging for a listing

Hello Bill, Great post. The clarity of your message is to both Sellers and fellow real estate professional can not be missed. And though I would have to agree that there are many agents who are well qualified they just miss the boat on how to dress up a listing with good well exposed photos and well thought out remarks. Then there are those that for lack of a better word "discount" their services as they are unable to sell their value or over promise in hopes of "buying the listing".  My point to all is think of Apple's iPhone offered by AT&T. Expensive yes, monthly fees high yes, but are they signing on new subscribers at an astonishing rate? YES. Why, its the value of the product and service, plus a lot of fun for many. If we collectively come to realize the same of who we are, respect our profession and learn how to present our value, we will win over more clients and hopefuly to their net benefit.

Posted by Bart Foster, Boston MA Real Estate (Keller Williams Realty Boston - Metro) over 9 years ago

Nice post Bill.  How True!  The worst thing about the what you say re: the 15% of the time not getting the listing... If you factor that 80% of the business is done by 20% of the realtors... that means these clowns are getting quite a few listings if you think about it.  That's the exponential demise of our reputation in my opinion.

Fast talkers, discounters, pretenders all become a dissapointment and stick in the eye for all of us.

Best of 2010 Bill

Posted by Frank D'Angelo, Helping people is my business in Real Estate (EXIT REALTY NEXUS Minneapolis & St. Paul MN) over 9 years ago


Wow! You definately hit a hot topic with this post - 2 days of comments! Being a Hopkinton area agent - I find myself curious about #10 too! I do not think anyone in the area can deny that your online presence shows the time and effort that you must put into your business!

 Losing a listing and finding it went to an agent that does not do the job that the seller deserves is frustrating! As a business practice, I will call back the seller for feedback, saying that I hope to use their feedback - as I always look to improve my business presentations, then wish them well... and I have had the listing come back my way 90 or 120 days later, when the overpriced, under marketed home did not sell (love when that happens!). 

On another point... please don't forget about us "newer agents" - who may not have been in the business for 20+ years (juat starting my 5th), but work hard for our clients. Would you agree that sometimes it can be the "experienced agents" that may be behind the times, or just not that passionate anymore, who get the listing on the basis of years alone, but do not give the seller the marketing effort deserved? So it might not always be about the number of past listings, years in the business - we all had to start somewhere! Right? I was in the top 10 agents for sales in town my first year, and up to top 5 in my 3rd year - but it takes time to start up and overcoming the "how many years have you been in RE", or "how many lisitngs have you had in town?" were always questions that I was prepared for by focusing on my marketing efforts, and research, research, research.

Thanks for the post Bill,

Posted by Lynne Hofmann-Ritucci (Century 21 Commonwealth) over 9 years ago

Internet presence is so important these days.  Sellers REALLY need to pay attention to this when choosing an agent.


Great post!



Posted by Katie Halle (Scottsdale & Paradise Valley, AZ -Team Evolution - WEST USA ) over 9 years ago

Bill - Thanks great post!   I think there is a little "clown" in all of us.

People just choose the "clown" they like best, probably based more on emotional reasons than factual skill or performance based issues.  This is where the sphere of influence and area farming will help any clown. 

I think sometimes they use the other "clown"  just because they aren't assertive enough to tell the other clown to go away if they are already there.  Don't forget to try to close at the listing appointment.  Bring the listing contract and ask them to sign it.

I like your list of things the Realtor ought to be doing to market the property.  These types of marketing or advertising actions should yield results that will speak for themselves, but a little demonstration or at least mention of your "internet antics" should be thrown in to make sure they know.  

I like your suggestion of good Realtor interview questions too and it gave me the idea.  I ought to throw one in my listing package of what I give them, so they will use them on the other Realtors they interview.

Thanks I gotta quit "clowing around" and get back to work.  Chris

Posted by Chris Ormsbee (Century 21 Action Realty) over 9 years ago

It only goes to show that you can always be out commissioned, out priced, and out sold, but the proof is in the pudding, and the seller does get what they payed for.

As for #10, What an anonymous Coward. As they say, Don't hate the Player...Hate the Game!

Posted by Roy & Gail Barnhart & McKay, Barnhart & McKay Home Selling Team (Barnhart & McKay Realty Advisors) over 9 years ago

As prominent speaker Rich Casto said in his seminar, the GOOD REALTOR picks the listing, and the Realtor that took that listing (you know, priced too HIGH with too LITTLE pictures of INFERIOR quality). Every week potential buyers go by that sign, they are not adding that persons brand to their memory, instead they are reminding themselves "Oh, that Realtor STILL did not sell that house..."
Words to think about.

Posted by Ron Beebe over 9 years ago

Bill - so true.  You don't mention that they might also list with an agent who has lots of listings (but no sales) or an agent who is a top producer ... and still get the quality of service that you mention above.

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 9 years ago

Bill, I think you are correct about #10 being jealous. They don't even have the courage to sign their post. Good post!

Posted by Bill Vossos (Century 21 Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill this is funny and somewhat sad too.  But then everyone has to start somewhere - maybe being a lousy agent is all a part of the experience of learning to be better.  Positive spinon it!

Posted by Rosemary Brooks, The Mother & Daughter Realty Team (BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706) over 9 years ago

I can't believe so many on here agree with this thread. The old saying is, "If you cant run with the big dogs, then stay on the porch". Those 80% that are doing the business, or even the others who get the 20%, I'm working to cut into that...I'm not a 'fly-by-nighter', and I see opportunity in this more agents have to leave the business(as sad as that is), cut back, or just do not have the heart for it anymore, we who are here to persevere can excel..Just as everyone is not going to Quarterback in the NFL, the fact of life is, there can be only so many RE agents...the market, the economy, and our personal finances dictate our presence in this profession...

There can be no excuses as to why we are not getting business, we know most of the reasons, so we need to 'change', examine our business mode, do something different, reflect on what does NOT work, etc...

Just because your a gas station that offers a petroleum product to the public, doesn't mean cars are going to come into get filled up...Price does matter to the public, service matters, production matters, etc...What doesnt matter is ego, and if any of us believe we are entitled, because we have been in the business for 'such and such time', or we work for 'this firm' or we get "80%" of the business, we will probably end up being like 'The Emperor has no clothes'.

There is ALWAYS someone out there to get our business, and our clients...

Posted by Homes for Heroes, Homes for Heroes Realtor, Relocation Expert (Coldwell Banker First Realty) over 9 years ago

Nice post Bill.  There are clowns out here too.  I think we all have had this happen.  I have a word for it.  NEXT!

I know that I provide a valuable service at the apples I'm charging and it's up to me to show that consumer how to see my value.

Posted by Lou Mayo, REALTOR, Serving Western MA, Buyers and Sellers (413) 726-9300 (Lou Mayo, REALTOR @ Real Living Realty Professionals) over 9 years ago

I find this especially true of agents who represent bank-owned properties. One or 2 crummy pictures, wrong information, to lazy to list "master bedroom downstairs," on and on.

I usually call and ask, even the ones who say "don't call" in the listing. They might as well say "duhh... I dunno."

Hey, you're making commission. Do your job!

Posted by Sandy Hamilton (Realty One Group) over 9 years ago

I can agree that if the property does nto show up on the internet the listing agent is doing a disservice to the client, but I cannot agree with the burger analogy... McDonalds, if I may take the analogy and reverse it, is the main stream main line big brand broker... with that you do get a McDonald's Burger... Steakhouses for the most part are much more localized businesses, and usually run by the owner directly... you may have heard of McDonalds, but that does not make them better than the steak house, especially if the steak house is motivated to produce... most large brokerages have a slew of new agents, and the brokers spend a great deal of time recruiting and training new agents... boutique firms may have only 5 or 6 agents, but those agents may be 5 or 6 times as energetic and motivated as the others, and many times, equally or even more knowledgable... just because someone has been doing something for a long time does not mean they learned much about doing it... some folks just do things by rote... newer agents may actually be far more savvy in the current market, may have far more integrity, and may know how to service their client's needs far better than the old school "buyers are liars" club...

Just my three cents.

Posted by Paul Silver, Rhode Island full service real estate firm over 9 years ago

Thanks everyone for all your comments. To those that have the opinion that I am SLAMMING THEM maybe should open your eyes and look in the mirror if it offends you.

This article is about two things... IMPROVING OUR industry and educating home sellers they can make better choices in picking an agent with a little research.

To those that think I am being arrogant and pompous... if you can't take the heat get out of the kitchen. I know I am a professional and will do everything I can to provide the best service for my clients. That is my mission every time I get a signed contract.

There are plenty of agents in the business that do this and it shows! There are others that absolutely do not. In many cases the seller is not even aware what their agent is doing. This article brings that to light.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

The myth that you get what you pay for dies hard, doesn't it? I think I even just saw it on this post!

I know of many top producing listing agents who charge full 6 - 7% commissions and do relatively little for their money. They depend on the buyers' agents to do the heavy lifting.

As for the clown image, just substitute lawyers, CPA's, doctors, college professors, politicians, husbands, wives, etc for Realtors and you can see that there are those who we disagree with in any area.

Everyone has reasons for what they do. We might not understand or agree, but to arbitrarily put a "clown" label on someone might be unreasonable.

Akron, Ohio

Posted by Thomas McCombs (Century 21 HomeStar) over 9 years ago

Love your post and totally agree with you - I see so many listings with no real marketing comments and just a picture of the front house it is insane.  More often than not buyers don't even want to look at those listings - no pictures of the inside gives the appearance of hiding something.

Posted by Terry McCarley, REALTOR, SRES, CDPE - Cape Coral, FL (REMAX Realty Team - Cape Coral FL) over 9 years ago

Love this so much I'm re-blogging for my area of readership.  Thanks!

Posted by Susan Emo, Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area (Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage) over 9 years ago

Amazing - just how many CLOWNS there are in ALL FORMS OF BUSINESS !!! It is NOT just real estate.

Posted by Pam Guthrie, Seaside Realty Co. Owner/Broker In Charge, REALTOR (Seaside Realty Company) over 9 years ago

Wonderful insight and reflections to guide the consumer on the education needed for hiring the RIGHT agent for them.

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 9 years ago

Bill...great post, and so true. There are agents in this area, that only put in the MLS.  They are not doing justice to the sellers for sure.  I call it laziness.


Posted by Rebecca Gaujot, Realtor®, Lewisburg WV, the go to agent for all real estate (Vision Quest Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill: Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us. You have a very powerful point of view.

Would you mind if I include your blog in my Listing Presentation (CMA)?

PS. I still remebre the "good old days", carring around the MLS book which weighted tons... driving back and forth for initials and delivering a contract in person to all involved parties.

Posted by Halina Kraszewski (RE/MAX Suburban, Mount Prospect, Cook County, IL) over 9 years ago


Yes, yes, you are right.  Here is another thought, maybe the clown they hired will realize his short comings and this is an opportunity to become as great as you are.  We all have to begin somewhere, and this person is getting a break.  A child doesn't learn overnight to walk, run or ride a bike....

Posted by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy (Napa Consultants) over 9 years ago

This is a very funny post bill, I liked it. Keep representing RE/MAX in MA

Posted by Alex Elmassih (Boston Real Estate 360) over 9 years ago

I LOVE comment #114. Do any of you think that agents would go for that?

Here's a proposal. Figure out what is a fair price to charge for your initial out of pocket costs, and a small amount extra for your time, for setting up a new listing. Charge the seller an upfront fee equal to that. No padding for profit, you haven't proved your worth yet. Listing is non-exclusive for 30 days with a clause for what the commission and co-broke are if the property sells during that time. Seller can hire as many agents as he is willing to pay this upfront fee, but listing price is the same for all. Each of these agents is competing to convert the listing to exclusive at the end of the 30 days.

Seller gets the best service these agents have to offer and isn't stuck with somebody who talks better than he performs. How great is that?

Posted by Consumer Reader over 9 years ago

Bill, fantastic post.  I just answered a question posted on Trulia asking: "Are there any realtors willing to take less than 6% in my neighborhood, I need to sell my house.".  I was surprised at the variety of answers to say the least.  Some said yes, some said absolutely not , most said "you get what you pay for" and one mentioned Anti-trust laws.   I don't ask them to work for less...  

Posted by Cory Fitzsimmmons, Realtor - Denver, CO ReThink real estate group (ReThink Real Estate Group) over 9 years ago

Recently, I asked a friend of a friend, how did you choose your realtor?  "Well she was a friend of mine, just trying to get started, brand new realtor and I wanted to do her a favor"

Funny thing,....  They found a buyer who wanted to do a lease option, and I had suggested a purchase contract with an early occupancy lease.  NEITHER of the two realtors in the transaction had done one, or heard of one... and had to ask and do research on it.

How did my friend know about the distuishment between a lease/option and a purchase/lease?  MOI..that would be MOI...  So, I handed her my card (again), and said...NOW you have TWO friends. 

Does knowledge and care not count for anything?  

In my interviews, instead of touting experience and skill....I now ask the question?  How will YOU determine what realtor you will select to represent you in this VERY important, complicated legally binding transaction??



Posted by Gloria Matthews, MAKING CLARK COUNTY HOME (Principal Property Brokers) over 9 years ago

Obviously you hit a button that many of us have experienced.  I am constantly amazed at the quality (or lack of) in the pictures and descriptions posted either in the MLS or on line.  My pet peeves are the sideways pictures and the misspellings (dinning room!) Unfortunately these Realtors will always be with us but that does not mean we must demean ourselves by trying to compete with them or even discussing them with our clients.  I am fortunate that after twenty years I have developed a loyal following and I treat them well.  Good post and thanks for making so many of us laugh about the same frustration.

Posted by Barbara Rogers (The Real Estate Network) over 9 years ago

Great post Bill,

I feel your pain.  In our market here in Michigan, with so many homes loosing so much value during the past couple years, it's tough for sellers to accept the wise council of an experienced agent, when the next "clown" in the door is telling them the house is worth $30,000 more than the $150K you quoted them.  It's a matter of trust, which is sadly lacking, even when we show them that we are experienced, successful agents, there will always be those who just want so bad to believe their situation is better than it is, they just want to believe there is some "clown" out there that is willing to over pay for their house, some "clown" who is willing to over-appraise it, and some lender "clown" who is willing to lend them the money.  Kinda sounds like a 3-ring circus, doesn't it?  Anyway, all we can do is give them the facts, and tell them the truth, and like you said, 85% will still choose us.  I think we just need to keep trying to educate the buyers and the sellers that there is a vast difference in the level of service and professionalism from one agent to another, and like you said, the wise person will ask lots of questions, and hopefully they will recognize the value that the quality, full service agent brings to the table.

Have a great 2010.


P.S.  *We all need to be careful when we talk about commission...I think it's better left out of our conversations all together...but that's whole new can of worms, huh?


*("They charged you 1/2 percent less on the commission everyone else was quoting you.")

Posted by Randy Poll (Greenridge Realty Inc.) over 9 years ago

Part of the problem though is that our licensing rules amake it so easy for the clowns to get into the business and the lack of meaningful continuing education requirements allows the clowns to renew their license and continue their workinng with their heads up their a____s.    As one of the previos comments said, many real clowns would be insulted by being compared to the "clown" real estate agents as a real clown is alway practicing and improving themselves in practicing their craft.  Wearas so many real estate agents consider the license the end of their career preparation and then go out to muddle through hurting themselves and their clients in the process.

Posted by Gary Steuernagel ASSOC. BROKER, ABR, CRB (Keller Williams Southwest) over 9 years ago

This posting is the best I've read in a long time.  I try to read as many as time allows in my day and this has got to hit home for a lot of agents.  I really enjoyed the photographs used, they protray his point effectivly.

When I read the part  "The quality of the photo's absolutely SUCKS. It is obvious to you the agent picked up a disposable Kodak camera on the way to take pictures."  I almost fell out of my chair.  I have been trying to get the local agents to understand the need for professional photography.  Again you hit home.

I must say that there are agents/brokers using professional tours for their listings but the majority I've found are just using point and shoot then turning them into slide shows.  Not very good ones at that.

If an agent is to do the property justice not to mention the client, I reccomend using a true virtual tour photographer.  Besides, the pro may have tools that can help with marketing - you never know.

Posted by Vincent Cascio (Black Hawk Virtual Media) over 9 years ago

I see stuff like this happen all the time.  I interviewed for one last week I did not get.  What I tell people is being the biggest firm or having the most listings does not make the agent the best it just makes them McDonald's.  I ussually say it a little more tactful than that but you get the idea.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Just keep an eye on it.  They may again call you back in a few months to try again.  This time they may be more willing to listen to what you say. And perhaps be more negotiable when an offer does come in. 

Posted by Jackie Cross (Real Living All Florida Realty) over 9 years ago

I want to address comment #144 & #173 ~

There is a VERY BIG difference when you are talking about the industry as a whole and not an individual. You clearly do not understand the two, as your comments suggest on my article.

I have NEVER bad mouthed a fellow agent, competitor or otherwise. The distinction in the code of ethics is very clear if you are a Realtor. 

if you have a problem with cleaning up the riff raff in our industry then I want to know why? I don't care what kind of business it is....bettering our industry is ALWAYS a good thing! When this happens the consumer benefits and ultimately that is what is MOST IMPORTANT!!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

I'm sure you're right Bill,

I wish I could find all of these genuine realtors that go the extra mile, instead of the ones that tell me they do and even display what they'll do for you on their web site...... until it comes to it and hey presto..... dissapointment....... 

A frustrated Investor.....

Posted by Carl over 9 years ago

Reading your post, one may believe I fall into the "clown" category simply because I discount my commission sometimes for buyers and sellers. One reason I can do this is my broker, excellent by the way, only charges $75 per transaction which includes E & O. This gives me fantastic leverage when push comes to shove on a deal, i.e., the buyer or seller is squabling over who pays title, minor repairs etc. I can easily volunteer to make up some of the difference from my commission, the deal closes and everyone is happy.

Perhaps some, certainly not all, of the "full commission" thinking stems from broker splits and the inability of an agent to make a reduction call on their own. I have worked for brokers who were only concerned about their split and any deviation from the listing agreement regarding commission was to be made up by me, that is, if I agreed to reduce my commission by a half percent I had to pay the broker his entire amount. I did it a few times to make a deal go.

Bottom line for me is, a piece of the pie is better than none. Most of my customers come from referrals. Why? Because I go the extra mile for buyers or sellers. I may not belong to a large corporate brokerage but I am doing just fine.

Discounting commission fees does not make a Realtor a clown, nor does it make them less able to do a great job for their customers.

I will not leave my name for one simple reason; I will not promote myself at the expense of others and I believe it is an ethics issue to do so. If you'd like, I will contact you so you'll know I am indeed a Realtor.

Posted by Realtor over 9 years ago

Yes realtors are clowns.  Overpaid hacks that are glorified chauffers.  worthless

Posted by Ken Kopper over 9 years ago

It's sooo good to hear that you have this going on in your market,too!  Our's also has listings being taken by "agents" who live 3 hours way!  How/who/why are they servicing the SELLERS????

Posted by Kathy Opatka, Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches (RE/MAX CROSSROADS) over 9 years ago

Realtor ~ Comment #199 - I agree with your points. Let me make this clear about the "commission" I don't necessarily believe if you charge less than the next guy it translates into you being a less than stellar agent.

There are plenty of times over the years when I have taken less commission. Every deal and circumstance is different.

My point is that there are consumers that make poor choices just because of the mere fact that one person charges less than another. They are so consumed the amount they will be charged they forget about what the agent is going to do for that money.

There are some agents that can only get business by under cutting the next guy and not on their merits.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Active rain has become nothing more then a ground were Realtors try to best one another with blogs, this is a great example of it. This site makes me laugh at times how some of the Realtors try to get attention.....Oh on to my clients......

Posted by arrogant and pompous... over 9 years ago

Arrogant & Pompous - the mere fact that you are here reading the blogs says a lot. Think about that for a moment:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago


Sooo funny!  Been there and done that myself.  You just have to give it your best in the listing presentation.  I'm happy to know that I gave it my best but still, after all these years, it still bums me out when I don't get the listing.

Posted by Eugene Adan, Carlsbad Real Estate (Adan Properties, Carlsbad, CA (760) 720-9710) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill,

I agree with your comments, but want to add that sometimes we as "top listing agents" get a little too cocky, and assume going in that we are going to get every lisitng . I know this because when I was doing very well, I kind of let the big things slide, that I wouldn't have done if I had been a "Newbie". I got lazy with what I should have done to prepare for the listing, and then didn't get it. I remember that when I checked on the agent who had gotten the listing, she was fresh out of real estate courses, and rairing to go..with all the right things tucked into her briefcase, I'm sure.

I had gotten carried away with my own percieved perception of how great I was!! I'm sure this was a huge turn-off to the sellers.

The market has since made me very humble!

Posted by Linda George, Real Estate Broker/Owner, St Lucie County FL Real Estate,Waterfront, Acreage (Morningstar Properties) over 9 years ago

Bill, my comment is on your Realtor interview questions link.  Great list of questions.  People often ask me if I can list their home.  I cannot (I am only an Investor); however, I refer them to several realtors and tell them to interview each.  I will book mark your page and sent it to them when they select a Realtor.  Great information.


Posted by Aaron Silverman, Improving Real Estate Experience through Education (, Bluewater Property Management, LLC and Lowcountry Turnkey Properties, LLC) over 9 years ago

Funny...I'll bet the disparaging comments came from folks who hired the clowns and got bitten in the a** for not doing their homework up front.

As for being newer to the business, that's great! There's always a learning curve in any industry. Stick to it!

For the folks who think the playing field should be leveled & everyone should "eat" the same...

Go hold each others' hands and sing Kumbaya!

It sounds peachy, but it doesn't work. Not in the "animal kingdom"... Not in business.

Compete to be better, charge what the market will bare (or not) & keep your promises. The world just works better that way

Oh...& don't forget to call Mom on Mother's Day.

Good for you, Bill.

All the best!

Brian Morgenweck, Broker/Owner

Power Realty Group, Hackensack, NJ



Posted by Brian Morgenweck, Broker/Owner, GRI, CRS, ABR, SRS (Power Realty Group, LLC Bergen County, NJ ) over 9 years ago

I'm baffled over these comments critical of losing a listing because the seller hires a friend or relative. I've seen too many posts here that make it clear that's a recommended way to begin your career. Don't you all "farm" your "sphere of influence"? I've seen lots of comments also expressing surprise and disappointment that one of your SOI had the audacity to hire someone other than you. "Gee, I was the buyer's agent when he bought that house. Why didn't he call ME to sell it?" I don't know. Why do you think?

Posted by Consumer Reader over 9 years ago

I do agree with you on most points. Although, everyone has to start somewhere as well as yourself. You were not always at the top or seasoned or the best so give us newer agents some credit that we deserve some of the business as well. I believe that in every profession there are dishonest and unethical people, down right crooks if you will, heck I even work among some of them. Guess what they made waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay more money than me last year but here is one thing they don't have and that is morals, honesty, integrity and I would much rather as a consumer list with someone I can trust more than someone who has sold the most or at the top of a search engine. Sure all that is impressive but anyone can put on a front in person and on the Internet. I am new and I have not made that much money in the business yet but I do have a passion for the job and I work hard everyday trying to build my business and to provide a service to people. I don't believe in cheating my way to the top. Slow and steady wins the race and that is what I intend to do. I am not saying you did this nor did your survey of "do your homework on agents "implied that but my point is just asking those questions doesn't always tell you the whole story and just googling their name doesn't reveal the whole truth about an agent. By no means being #1 or selling the most make you the best agent! This is only my opinion and I am not jealous I just am speaking up for the people just starting out in the business that is all, I do appreciate your blog and do think people should do their homework when choosing an agent, your right about that.

Posted by Deana over 9 years ago

Who is the Clown? I know many Realtors/Agents who make top $ that never have great pictures,remarks are short, no virtual tour, never mail out just listed cards, no ads in paper or hold an open house themselves BUT have their picture on the for sale sign, name all over their new Hummer with a sticker that says they are a 'Green Realtor'.

All the great Markewting Ideas are sold say it again SOLD to realtors to 'appear' professional at a cost.

It comes as fee's for Marketing training, Presentations,postcards,flyer's,virtual tours,websites,self help seminars,tech webinars,monthly lead companies, monthly fee site's for all kind of bull. and on and on.

Check your expired's[I do daily] just as many if not more have all the bells and whistles.

The truth of the matter is unfortunate an Agent will show his or her clients homes the FIT THEIR REQUIREMENTS regardless of how pretty the pictures are, if it has a virtual tour in MLS or the agent gave the sellers all the bells and whistles.








Posted by Phil over 9 years ago

Deana - By no means do I think that someone that is newer to the business could not be a fantastic agent. You are right we all have to start somewhere. There are plenty of agents that have been in the business a long time and have become complacent. I mention Google because you can use it as a tool to learn quite a bit about an agent good or bad.

I do think that if the agent has no presence at all there is something very wrong. After all if you don't know how to market yourself how could you possibly expect a consumer to think you are going to do a good job marketing homes?

There is a big difference in our world now even compared to a few years ago. Search engines are a huge tool for promoting our clients homes. Those that do it well separate themselves from the other run of the mill agents.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

I love it, just yesterday in our office we were joking about a particular real estate agent being a clown, not with our company but another one. There is a big difference in a real estate agent and a REALTOR, I have only been selling  real estate for four years, but know how important it is to have clients respect you and how you market ther home or property. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Bill.


Posted by alice broadway over 9 years ago


You're giving away your age when you tell people you remember those MLS Books. Never saw one. Really. Go ahead call me a fibber magee :)


Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

CLOWNS??????  In my architectural design profession prior to getting my Florida Real Estate Licence I never degraded competing professionals in my field even when their work was mediocre.  I did not want to degrade myself or have that sour grapes look in front of my clients!  I strove to produce the most beautiful home designs I could produce. I have letters from Realtors who sent expired prospecting letters to my listings when they thought the listing had expired that were filled with false accusations as to why their home had not sold and were actually grotesque with low class vernacular...........they were so bad that my customers gave  me the agents expired letters. My Seller's would never list with that agent ever.  As an artist I strive as a Realtor to produce professional flyer's, brochures , MLS listings etc.  All that is just ducky.....But the truth is if you have a good location and a correct price and a seller that cooperates and has their property looking good the property will sell good pictures or bad pictures in the MLS.  In this market when it is extremely hard for Realtors to make a living and work 100 times harder for fewer closings you would think that fellow Realtors would have some kind of respect or decency toward colleagues.  Also there are some ladies in my office who have been Realtors for 30 to 40 years or more and do not do allot of business but they know the profession and area inside out and when they do have a client they are served professionally and wonderfully.  Amount of sales is not always proof of good service.  Maybe the listings you lost they just didn't like you for one reason or another.  I've had customers not want me because I'm female then others want a female.  It is impossible to meet every ones expectations or desires or prejudices. No realtor should take it personal, we are like actors and may not be good for the part.  And Just think you can't possibly list every property that comes available just like I could not draw every custom house plan in America. 

Posted by Joy Mitchell over 9 years ago

What often amazes me isn't the experience level of the agent who get the lisitng. (Rookies of the year get that award for a reason). 

What gets me is the poor marketing job some do and it is espcially surprising for high end listings.  Somebody who puts one picture and no room sizes on a listing for a million dollar home must have a pretty blase attitude about selling that house.  I wonder what they told the seller about their marketing plan and if the seller is even awake.  We have so many tools today and they are so easy to use, that stuff just amazes me.

Or, as Mrs Freud said to Dr. Freud - "Oy, Siggie, it's a Crazy business"

Posted by Joe Rocky (Coldwell Banker - McCaffrey Professionals) over 9 years ago

Bad Agents Get rid of one has to get them out of the profession!

Posted by Joy Mitchell over 9 years ago

Bill, good post and many parts true. There are many agents just doing the minimum. However, I have to agree with Deana that stats don't always determine the ability of the agent, especially newer agents. Every Realtor has to learn and sometimes the best way to learn is to fail or by making mistakes. I've learned almost as much in this business from making mistakes as I have from doing things right. Maybe if more seasoned agents were willing to "mentor" new agents, there would be fewer in the business and fewer just "getting by." The truth of the matter though is that most seasoned agents are too busy being worried about sharing the pie than sharing the knowledge. Regardless, I agree with your overall point that sellers should do their homework as well and  agents should always go the extra mile and make every effort to use all resources available to help clients accomplish their real estate goals.

Posted by Kristi May (Allen Tate Realtors, Burlington, NC) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill,

What a great blog! However, be honest with you, I do agree what Deana said. Some of your points are deadly right, but do you still remember the first listing you ever got? Back then could you "yes" all the questions that you put in your "Realtor interview questions"? We all start like a "fool" at the beginning, and we learned all the way to today by making mistakes. So very likely, our first listing we got from a friend or someone in our sphere of influence, we might act like a clown in some of the experienced realtor's sight. But who didn't? No one is an experienced Realtor when he/she was born.

Well, Bill don't get me wrong. I think we should focus on "the sellers (you) always get whet they (you) pay for" or if the Realtors really do their job. I'm definitely not promoting lazy agents should get business or equal opportunity. But brag too much about the qualification about the top agents is another wrong direction. We all know when we have too may listings we can not provide same quality service as we do while in small number. The new agent could brag they commit all they time to serve one to two clients that is the top agents can not beat.

Correct me if I'm wrong: 5% of the agents are doing 95% of the business according to the survey. Would that satisfied you already? :)

Posted by Joshua Bai, Realtor, SFR, Maryland Real Estate (BMI Realtors) over 9 years ago



This was a great post, makes my day. It makes you wonder what's inside the heads of some people? This "save a buck" mentality goes hand in hand with sellers who demand a pie in the sky listing price, or the buyer who believes that every property owner is twenty-four hours away from entering foreclosure. The adversarial attitude, which seems to be prevalent with many today, fosters "cheapskate" like behavior in numbers that we have not seen previously. An experienced realtor knows that what goes around, comes around. These dippy sellers will continue to reap the rewards of listing with the cheapest game in town - and why is my house not sold yet?

Posted by Sharon Miller (RE/MAX Platinum) over 9 years ago

Hey Bill, 

this is just too funny. I am glad you brought your flame proof suit in (although you didn't have internet in the mid 80s, many of us did... back in the days of BBB's. As you know, most real estate is about a generation behind technology, but I digress. 

I do wonder how wise it is, to go about and put your professional colleagues down in a public forum, but that is your beef - not mine.

I unfortunately think there is a different aspect you may see consumers picking on here, Realtors running out of useful things to say, in a rush to blog and write and be present about so much... If I was reading this as a consumer, I think I would be talking to the clown - it's nothing personal, however, this presentation, especially when you go through the comments, really will leave some people with a bad taste. 

Anyway - this has your name on it, not mine... I tend to use the "how would Uncle Bob feel if he read this" before I post flame inducing posts and emails... I guess it is a leftover from living on the net before it was. 

Posted by Terkel Sørensen, Realtor, 951.805.0773 , Bank owned and Short Sales (Real Estate Places) over 9 years ago

Well Bill, I am going to be honest with you, I am not going to read 223 comments. Wow is this a record?

Who knows why sellers do what they do? Friends, family members that live in another area? a friend from Daycare that is a Realtor, there are so many reasons.


Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 9 years ago

Congrats on being a featured blogger.  Great blog and so true.  So many folks think all we do it put a sign in the yard and put the house on the MLS.  Most don't even see their listing.  Most of the time at my closings my clients sigh and look at me and say, "GOD I would not want your just work so hard." 

Posted by Anonymous over 9 years ago

Bill, this was one of those sad but true articles (funny too).  An experienced agent is worth EVERY PENNY and an INEXPERIENCED agent is worth what you paid.  That's why I joined Professional Realty Council- a network of agents who are trying to raise the bar and provide the consumsers with a better real estate experience. I'm happy to share the PRC Story!

Posted by Robert & Jani Bielenberg, Centennial, Colorado, CRS, GRI,e-PRO (Bielenberg & Associates) over 9 years ago


What do you expect?

We are playing a NUMBERS GAME with people who want to work with people they LIKE and can RELATE WITH.

Time is a Realtors asset. Guard it by utilizing technology.

Poor clowns....all they want to do is see you smile;) 

Posted by Eric Bracht, Idaho Luxury Home Sales (Bracht Realty Group) over 9 years ago

Joy - As I have already made perfectly clear in some of my previous comments, I think you are making a poor assumption that I put down my colleagues. There is a VERY BIG difference between writing an article online about some of the things in our industry that could be made better v.s a personal attack on an agent that I thought did not possess the skills I do.

Let me make this perfectly clear....I do not talk about other Realtors by name when I am being interviewed. I talk about my own merits as an agent and why they would want to hire me. I would never ever send a letter to someone talking about the poor job their previous Realtor did. In fact I agree with you and would not hire that person either.

I think some people have a hard time grasping the fact that may consumers do not think we are worth the money we are paid. Part of their reasoning stems from the fact of what I have mentioned here. Would you agree?

Kristi & Joshua - I agree with both of you. I would be the 1st to admit I have made MANY mistakes over my career. I am human just like everyone else. If you knew me personally you would realize I did not create this article to toot my own horn. I know there is a lot of dissatisfaction in our industry. If agents were held more accountable there would be far fewer complaints.

BTW - If you go back and read some of my previous blogs you will notice that I am a giver when it comes to my fellow Realtors. On this site I am constantly providing tips to others on how they can improve their business. I have absolutely no problem paying it forward. I take personal calls and emails all the time from Realtors on this forum asking for my advice and I give it freely.

Terkel - If you read my comments you would know that my intent of writing this was purely for educational purposes. Trust me there are so many consumers that do not have a clue what is going on after they sign the listing papers.

I think if you read the comments most of them agree with what I am saying. I guess I just had the balls to put it in writing. If feelings are being hurt then those Realtors really ought to look in the mirror and ask themselves why they are offended. Is it because they are wearing the suit everday? I am not going to appologize for telling the truth.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, I can relate to your plight.  Similar things in the market here as well.  I have seen several listings with incomplete information and dark or blurry photos.  Obviously, a good agent/Realtor would correct such things to put the listings best foot forward.  I'm sorry you took so much flack for being honest but this is apparently a hot topic.  All the best to you!

Posted by Kim Bush, The Neighborhood Expert (Coldwell Banker Towne Realty) over 9 years ago

I believe your comments, especially the one, "By a realtor who's name you have never heard of, or doesnt do a lick of business', is totally out of line...

It carries forth an aura of arrogance and pompousity.

Just because a crum fell off the table, isn't the dog allowed to eat it? That is what your statement exudes to me. that because some unknown agent that doesnt do a lick of business got a crum that fell from your plate, you believe they shouldn't even be in practice to compete against you...

We are supposed to all be in business, to provide a service, and the consumer chooses who they want to represent them...and just because Agent 'unknown, who never does a lick of business' gets the listing, maybe you should look in the mirror to remember when you were that agent...

Posted by Homes for Heroes, Homes for Heroes Realtor, Relocation Expert (Coldwell Banker First Realty) over 9 years ago

Steve - You are really making me laugh. I guess you are a mind reader? If you read the entire post and for that matter all the comments I have made you would realize this is about the consumer making better choices.

Many consumers don't even know how to go about interviewing an agent so they end up choosing whoever they happen to call. Then they end up with the agent that is described in the article. In fact on many occasions they have no clue why their home is not selling because there is no communication. I should have mentioned that as well!

BTW thankfully I was never that agent because I have always had the passion to be the best I can be. I take my profession and the services I provide very seriously.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago
You put into words what I have been thinking for a long time....a colleague of mine was not chosen to list a home because the competing realtor said he would be there for every showing. This was a dumpy house and there is no way that the listing agent's presence could add any value. Some people make decisions for all the wrong reasons, but those of us who do the right things usually wind up with the listing in the long run. Thanks for a good post.
Posted by Nancy Tallman, Real Estate Strategist (Summit Sotheby's International Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill, you wonder what people are thinking sometimes!  You really do get what you pay for!!

Posted by Patricia Beck, Colorado Springs Realty (RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE) over 9 years ago

Bill, I believe the consumer is correct and is right in asking, "What is this going to cost me", and I believe it is better to flat out tell them, and then speak directly as to why I'm worth that much, or willing to list the home for that commission...

I do not agree with your 'fact' that the consumer, seller in this case, picks the the first agent, or even someone they know...Today's consumer is more savvy, and educated on the facts about their property and the condition of the market...They may be wrong on what they consider the home is worth, but consumers today are more likely to interview several agents, and then pick...

Look, I know your frustration and understand what your trying to say, but, I believe you should not down the 'clown' as you called them because someone chose them as an agent, and you definitely should not criticize the public about their choices...The public we had ten years ago have learned, have done more research, and are more informed than any prior generation of homebuyers or sellers in history...

You will always have the few who have no clue, but they are fewer nowadays in my opinion... 

Posted by Homes for Heroes, Homes for Heroes Realtor, Relocation Expert (Coldwell Banker First Realty) over 9 years ago

Steve I don't think the consumer is anymore educated today than they were ten years ago. I am curious as to what leads you to believe this is the case?

Frankly if what you were saying was true there would be far fewer homes that  have poor pictures, or no pictures, or poorly written descriptions that does nothing to highlight a homes best features.

If what you were saying was true consumers wouldn't be complaining as much as they do about commissions because they would feel like they were getting their moneys worth.

Consumers would never have to complain about not hearing from their agent because they would have called some of the agents past clients to see what their communication skills were like.

Steve these kind of steps DON'T happen the majority of the time. Most people don't take the time or ask the right questions.

There are many that don't even listen to what we do....all they want to hear is what their home is worth and what we charge.

Of course this is not the case with everyone and those are the people I want to work with! A seller that has sold a few homes is the type of client I want to work with because they have already probably had a few bad experiences and demand more.

BTW - I never said anywhere in the article that the seller picks someone they meet 1st or know. The example I made was an agent NOT providing the type of service they should be including pictures, online exposure, ect.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill,

When you don't even take the time to 'google' a person, it's catch as catch can. Sometimes the clown catches you.

Posted by Andrew Jones, LA Beach Cities Homes 310-399-3740 (Horizon Pacific Realty ) over 9 years ago

Bob, I believe the public is more savvy, but they may not ask to see the final MLS product. I try to send a seller a final MLS entry with pics for their feedback and complaints, if any, and then respond to them. I know this is what a good agent will do...

I'm putting forth that a 'seller' in today's market and at this present time is more savvy as to what questions to ask. that has been my experience. They may not think about some of the details you are speaking of, but they know, commission, what locales will my home be seen, what types of advertising they can expect, open houses, and they have a pretty good idea of what their neighborhood is doing...

With technology, has come a more informed consumer...IMHO... 

Posted by Homes for Heroes, Homes for Heroes Realtor, Relocation Expert (Coldwell Banker First Realty) over 9 years ago

Steve I think the fact you send your clients an MLS sheet is great BUT let me ask you this....if you didn't do it how many of the clients you worked with last year would have called you and asked for it? I doubt the answer for you or anyone else would be that many.

I will agree with you most people will ask general questions about marketing but I don't think that is much different than it was ten years ago. The difference is that ten years ago you would have told them they would see their home in XYZ newspaper and magazine and today it is where it will be found online.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill - great post! We recently lost a listing to a couple who said they valued a strong internet presence. The agent they went with doesn't have a website and hasn't sold one of his own listings in 3 years but he talks a good talk. Needless to say, the home is still sitting on the market more than 7 months later.

Posted by Monica Bourgeau, Business Coaching (New Phase Business Coaching) over 9 years ago


I think the saying is " penny wise, dollar foolish".


Posted by Richard Stabile, Bergen County New Homes Builder Realtor (Re/Max Real Estate Limited) over 9 years ago

Bill - Kudos on capturing so much attention with your AR post.  Great title, content, use of color, and photos.  You also handled the comments well, holding your ground and not losing your cool.   If you market your homes with as much skill as this, then your clients are wise, indeed to choose you as their REALTOR.   

Posted by Gail Robinson, CRS, GRI, e-PRO Fairfield County, CT (William Raveis Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Bill, I think this must be already one of the most-commented posts I have ever seen! You really related to lots of folks on this one. We lost a listing last summer to a guy who had mediocre photos and did little to market the property. We saw it expired and next they picked an agent who we are sure cut the commission. The listing still hasn't sold. Oh well. Maybe Floyd Wickman's quote will work out for this one: "It's better to be the first born, the second wife, and the third listing agent."

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) over 9 years ago

Great Article - caught my attention!! 

Posted by Samantha Andrus over 9 years ago

The same thing happens on the mortgage side every day. I've lost deals over $500 in escrow charges! I can't even control that but some lender put bare bones GFEs in front of clients just to get the business. I only wish I could be there when the client get the call about cash-to-close. Hopefully this market has weeded out most of the pretenders. I work with a Realtor who earns every penny of his 6% and he deserves it. Keep providing great service and you will always have business.

Posted by Damon Daniels, Mortgage Loan Officer (Sierra Pacific Mortgage) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill!  Well, let me first say that out of over 172,000 members here in the Rain, you are one of the dozen or so that I know I could call any day of the week and you would help me with a technical question or ANY question for that matter.  I thank you for that; not many people are willing to take time out of their busy schedules to answer my 'blonde' questions or any other members' questions!

Now, about your post--As I was reading it, I almost called your next point that the other agent is lacking--been there, done that.  I've gone through each step of the trying-to-understand routine--not often but, it is disturbing when you find out that it's someone who is an unknown and they do a crappy job of marketing.  I've recently seen one send a seller into foreclosure--tried to do a short sale and didn't know what he was doing.  Sad but, true.

I recently closed on a sale that I was the third agent--I interviewed ALL three times and didn't 'win' the listing until the last time.  When they said that they were going to sign with me, I just HAD to ask the dreaded question, 'Why?"  They went with the first agent because she was a friend's friend and felt obligated to this dear friend.  The second one PROMISED that they could get the home sold at a much higher price than I had suggested.  They chose me this time because I was a 'gracious loser!'  No kidding!  (little did they know--and if they read this comment, they will most likely comment too!)  So, after nearly two years on the market, I was faced with the task of having a now, vacant, home to sell AND one that had been nicely 'aged' on the market.  At the point that I actually GOT the listing, we had to price it over $300K less than their original list price--a result of the market AND their being a bit overpriced initially--and about $50K below their last price.  Guess what?  I had two offers in two weeks!  They were absolutely STUNNED and sick at the same time--they realized that they had lost a good chunk of change by first going with their heart, then going with a little greed. 

The reason I'm telling you this is because sellers oftentime let their hearts and their pocketbooks make their agent choice.  They don't do their homework and their decision winds up costing them thousands of dollars in the long run--hundreds of thousands in the case that I cited.

#10--The 'secret' agent who commented and the 'secret' listing that is nowhere to be found--hmm...could be...synonymous?!

I also don't believe that you have violated any COE here, Bill.  You named no names.

I would pose this question to your naysayers--Would YOU be happy with YOUR property being listed in that manner--few horrible photos, no online ads, crappy write-up?  If not, why do you feel that it not okay to use this forum?  Why not help those who are new to the business or maybe some oldies who have become lackadaisical?  You post is, and should be, used, as a learning tool --PLUS, what a great forum to ventilate too!

I guess you would have made the naysayers feel better if you had said that the agent was "acting like an idiot" rather than calling the agent an idiot (clown)!  For those smart enough to GET the message, we're okay with the clown reference and we understand your frustration too!

NOW, I must get back to work--I've been on your blog for over an hour! :-)




Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 9 years ago

No kidding, Debe (#247)...Me too!


Great job fielding all of the comments with such poise, Bill!

(Another attribute of a PRO...there, I said it!)

All the best! ....& I hope, for your time's sake, that I have the last word in this thread!

Brian Morgenweck, Broker/Owner

Power Realty Group, Hackensack, NJ


Posted by Brian Morgenweck, Broker/Owner, GRI, CRS, ABR, SRS (Power Realty Group, LLC Bergen County, NJ ) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill-  and sorry, but Brian's was not the last word:)  I actually linked to this blog via a post by Lenn and I was not disappointed.  I, like Debe, just spent nearly an hour reading your post and all of the comments.  Whew!  I have to agree with you that sellers definitely should make sure they interview agents and do some researching prior to committing to a contract.  I also have to say that I know of some top producers that have the same problems as the ones you listed in your post.  It all goes back to your point that the consumers really need to look up the agents they are thinking of listing with to see how they market the listings that they currently have.  I get your point, and I hope that any consumers reading it can also see that the reason behind it is simply to point out that they need to do some work on their end before hiring somewhere to work for them.  Buyers also need to educate themselves and be sure to interview agents.  I completely agree with you that when agents recklessly practice real estate, whether it is a single, ill-focused photo or poorly written contracts, it reflects badly on all of us.  Thanks for your post! 

Posted by Jen Olson (First Weber Group Realtors) over 9 years ago

The old "shopping for price instead of value" thing is the same in copywriting - and so is the result.

Very often a potential client's first question is "What does it cost to..."  I do understand that most people don't even have an idea of the ballpark, so I try not to be annoyed and try not to assume that they are merely shopping for price. If they are, they'll fade away and find someone who writes for minimum wage fees.

I do feel sorry for anyone who hires a poor Realtor or a poor writer - but not too sorry. You're probably right when you say consumers aren't any better informed than they were ten years ago, but that's by their own choice. The information they need to be informed is all right here on the Internet - easy to find.

I felt sorrier back in the dark ages, when I was a Realtor (and carried around that big old book)... because people really didn't know and didn't have the information readily available. I remember gritting my teeth and wishing I could call some of those homeowners and tell them just what their agent was or wasn't doing.Some of it was pretty outrageous.

Sometimes the Code of Ethics really is harmful to the consumer.



Posted by Marte Cliff, Your real estate writer (Marte Cliff Copywriting) over 9 years ago

Wow, I can see that this topic is one that touches this community!

With my business being 80% buyers representation, I have to say that sometimes those "clowns " help me get a property for less money for my buyers. A couple of years ago, we closed on a condo with a georgeous view that was not shown on the pictures in the MLS.

Posted by Monique Ting, Your agent under the sun (INET Realty Honolulu, HI) over 9 years ago

Consumers need to be more discerning as to who they hire for ANY service. Selling your home is a HUGE deal and you should want to make sure you get the right person to do it...Buyer Beware. I am so glad you were featured fo rthis or I would have never seen it and it answered a question I post a few days ago. Why should I hire you to be my realtor?

I am a newbie so I don't know if I posted in the right place but I did not get much response so thanks for helping...indirectly!

Posted by Valerie Sagheddu, ~Home Staging Professional, Poconos, PA (Apostle Art Home Staging & Design) over 9 years ago

Wow, Bill.  Not that you need another comment on this blog, but - you are too funny.  But the burger thing - don't know about that - I don't eat meat!

Posted by Katie McBride, The McBride Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Debe - A big thank you to you!! You are certainly a voice of reason. I know from reading your blog and seeing the kind of marketing your provide your clients that you are the creme of the crop.

I think the minority that have made negative comments toward the article are probably more afraid of the fact that I am pointing out what could be made better. That type of agent would not get a listing if the consumer read off my list of questions and they had to answer them.

If I was one of those poor agents that did nothing for my clients but put it in MLS I would not be happy reading this either.

Power Realty - Thanks!

Jen - You are right at times some of the heavy hitters don't always do the best job for their clients either although probably on fewer occassions. I know a few agents that get business because of their past success.

Marte - It all comes down to not focusing on the minimal amount of money you think you are saving. In most cases there is no savings and it can end up costing you.

Valerie - I will check out your article. Thanks for your comments.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Bill-  Unfortunately in my market, the heavy hitters are as big of a dice roll as a "new to the scene" agent.  There are some that are fantastic and I have great respect for them, but there are about as many agents not as successful that are just as great.  I focus my business on buyers, and there are many times that I have to convince my client to look at a heavy hitter's listing due to poor picture quality or ridiculous pricing.  Sad, but true.

Posted by Jen Olson (First Weber Group Realtors) over 9 years ago

Um .... yeah ....


Posted by Will Nesbitt, Nesbitt Realty is a family-run brokerage. (Nesbitt Realty at Condo Alexandria) over 9 years ago

Bill - I think the clown analogy is a bit harsh - most agents (in my market at least) are to one degree or another serious about their license and want to do their best.  Having said that, there's no doubt that some should consider another line of work.  I am as frustrated as you that there's no accessible way to raise public awareness - I've blogged about that too.  The actual point of contact and our ability to effectively differentiate ourselves in 30 seconds remains paramount.

Posted by Jeff R. Geoghan, REALTOR, Marketing Manager (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 9 years ago


Is it true that clowns hang around other clowns? Or that clowns attract other clowns? Or the blind leading the blind?


Posted by Ty Lacroix (Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc) over 9 years ago

Hey Bill! First - thank goodness for Docusign. (And you barely look old enough to have been in business that long!)

Unfortunately the whole notion of overpromise/underdelliver is deceptively taken as gospel by naive sellers.  My take is that the relationships between those sellers and their underachieving agents is just desserts.

As I've learned many a time in my professional career - one "pays now, or pays later".

Posted by Lisa Moroniak, SFR - Short Sale & Foreclosure Certified (Keller Williams Realty | Northern Virginia | 703.635.0388) over 9 years ago

Thank YOU Bill!  I could not do it alone--I have a full time marketing person that covers all of the online ads for me and I just submit the write-ups and photos (either mine or the photographer's if I can't get the shots that I want for the listing but, that's a whole other post)!

And, you're right, most who criticize are rationalizing their own quality deficiencies and would be better served to read and take it to heart rather than wasting time criticizing the messenger.  Just MHO!

Have a great evening...


Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 9 years ago

Lisa - Believe it or not I will be 43 in a couple of weeks. I got into the Real Estate business when I was 19 and did it part time while attending Northeastern University in Boston. Northeastern is a cooperative education school so Real Estate was my co-op job! Talk about tough....try to get a listing when you are only 19! I actually did pretty well for myself. My 1st year in the business while only working for 6 months I made 37k...not too shabby for back in the mid 80's:)

Debe - If I didn't write this myself and saw that someone else had written something similar my reaction would have been wow this person tells it like it is.

The people that look at this in a negative way are those that know they are deficient. Those people don't want consumers to Google their name!

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Clever way to make a point...of course the answer is that " Realtor (me) is not a clown....but my Senator (Feinstien and Boxer) are"!! But I digress.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) over 9 years ago

I paid less for my first Honda than I did for my last Cadillac and was so impressed and sold on the Honda product ~ that I have bought four since then. You don't always get what you pay for. Some of my local companies charge the seller top dollar commission in our area and don't even have email. Let alone mention ActiveRain to them and they think you are affiliated with a tribe.

My Flat Fee real estate company provides our sellers with top notch marketing (we have four company websites) and more professionalism than 90% of our competitiors do. I think you may want to dig a little deeper to find the real reasons why people make the choices they do and not affiliate the sellers reasoning with less commission.

Posted by Celeste Chism - Serving You in Crossville, Fairfield Glade, Lake Tansi & Cumberland Cove, Serving You is My Top Priority (RE/MAX Premier Choice) over 9 years ago

Choice - I think if you read the article more closely you will see I mentioned a lot more than commission. In fact most of what I talked about centered around marketing.

While I am sure your firm is excellent, as a general rule most discount shops do not compare to the full service Real Estate companies in terms of delivering RESULTS.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

I see these sins of omission more often in older agents than newer ones.  I can't grasp how the seller could accept such shoddy work unless they truly don't understand the value of the right agent.

Posted by Beverly Femia, Broker Realtor Stager - Greater Wilmington, NC Are (BlueCoast Realty Corporation) over 9 years ago

I have lost listings to clowns because of the fee...It would be so much easier if the agents who are clowns had to dress the part although some do!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Catchy title to your article. has recieved a lot of attention. good for you. easy to categorise the other agent as "clown" but the clown did get the listing and you did not. since you may be getting 80-90% of the listings you have appointment you may not care to do a self-exam as to why the you failed to get it and be giving the seller the top service you provide and the seller deserves. did you call the seller and ask why they did not hire you? did the clown get it sold? there are many reasons sellers are rejecting 'traditional' methods. per NAR surveys and others most feel agents are not worth their fee. is that the fault of the "clowns" or all the rest of us?

Posted by George Walsh over 9 years ago

George this article is about education sellers about making better choices. It is a fact that most sellers do not know what is going on with their property after they sign the listing papers. Those that do and see what I described in the article would surely be on the phone to their agent and rightfully so.

As a group we are all payed very well. A seller should be getting their moneys worth and in many instances they do not.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

Great post, Bill!

I saw Allan Dalton, of, a few years ago, and something he said made total sense to me and it drives every choice I make when representing a buyer or seller:  If there is a product or a practice that I would want used when I buy or sell my own home, then I absolutely owe it to my client to use it when I represent them.  Clients get better results when we use all the best available tools. 

If those tools cost us a little more, we should suck it up as a cost of doing business right.  If the tools cost us a lot more, then we should expect to be compensated accordingly.  If the potential client doesn't see the value in paying a little more to us in order to have a faster sale and/or receive a higher price, that's their loss.

If clients can't easily see our added value and the likelihood of a better outcome for them, it's up to us to validate our compensation.  If they still don't see the value, it's their loss.

I enjoy your posts and hope we can do a deal together soon.  Sounds like you really know what you're doing, and it's a relatively rare treat to work a deal with a pro on the other end.

Have a great 2010!

Posted by Bill Kuhlman over 9 years ago

Thanks for your comments Bill. You obviously get it and I am sure your clients are very happy with the services you provide them. There are many today who do just the opposite and cut back on their marketing because of the tougher environment. I say now more than ever is when a good agent can make a big difference with their clients.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

By the way, I want to clarify one of the things I wrote.  I should have said, "If those tools cost us a lot more and we have a proven record of getting great results for our clients, then we should expect to be compensated accordingly."

We don't all do the same things, we don't all do things the same way, and we don't all get the same results.  Some of us do an average job, some do an above-average job, and some do a below-average job.  Why should anyone---clients or competitors---expect we should all be compensated at the same level?

As an example of what I'm talking about, check out this video I used to help sell my latest listing in six weeks, at  Or look at the online version of the listing packet at

If we're the Realtor equivalent of my childhood hero, Willie Mays, while others might be the equivalent of Andy Stankiewiecz or Bob Uecker---good ballplayers, but not among the best in the game---we should expect different levels of compensation. 

And I don't mean to impugn, in any way, the brokers and agents who ask for lower fees.  No doubt many of them do a better job than many agents who charge a premium.  But if they do superior work for their clients, perhaps they are selling their services short.  If they can demonstrate to the client the added value they bring to the transaction, they'll have no problem getting compensated at a commensurate level.


Posted by Bill Kuhlman, Kuhlman Residential, Serving Eastern Massachusetts over 9 years ago

True post Bill. People think they can save a dollar, but taking poor advice costs you much more.

Posted by Wayne B. Pruner, Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI (Oregon First) over 9 years ago

I've only been in real estate for 8 years, which doesn't seem like much compared to you, but it seems like forever to me.  All I can say is, I'm sooooooo glad I wasn't around when you guys had to carry those MLS books.  I would have quite the 1st week!

Posted by Matt Robinson, (Professional Investors Guild) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill!  Back again to see what's happened since I was last here!  While reading the comments an incident came to mind that I'd like to share:

I recently had a cross-sale with a fee-based agent--it was a nightmare!  Calls and emails were returned DAYS later--if returned at all.  I had to constantly stay after them to keep to the contractual deadlines and basically, I worked twice as hard for this as a normal sale.

Just before Closing, the agent phoned me LATE one night to 'wrap things up so that we can get our checks!'  During the converstaion the agent said that the sellers were purchasing another home here in Charlotte and I asked where:  "I don't know, they're using another agent on the buy side and I just don't understand WHY!"

Two questions come to mind:

1.  Do you think he was USED?

2.  Do you think he was respected as a REALTOR?

In my opinion, YES and NO-the agent WAS used for the low cost of listing their home but, they didn't feel that their agent was worthy of representing them as a buyer's agent--even though he said that he had offered many times.

I think that this IS what makes agents look bad, as a whole.  I'm not saying that every fee-based agent is like this but, every one that I've ever had a cross-sale with is. 

OH, and one more question--Why would anyone WANT this type of business model?  Aren't we seeking referrals from our clients and repeat business from them?  My sellers who are buying in the area use me for both sides; why wouldn't you WANT that type of repeat business? 

If the consumer views you as the used car salesman rather than the owner of the dealership, you're going to be treated as such.

Just MHO!

Posted by Debe Maxwell, CRS, Charlotte Homes for Sale - Charlotte Neighborhoods ( | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310) over 9 years ago

Hi Bill,

Point well made. I find many buyers make the mistake of choosing their agent simply because they are quoted a low commission. And in many instances the agent has not even seen the home. The seller received a door hanger, flyer, or even better they only spoke with the agent over the phone. However, I have no problem walking away from a prospective listing in these situations. And I have found many instances where the other agents listing eventually expires and I find myself speaking with that prospective seller again.  By this time sadly they realize they got what the paid for and only ended up wasting their time and even worse their money!

Posted by Matthew Bartlett (Century 21 Masters/Lic. #01353034) over 9 years ago

Debe - We have a few transaction brokers here that just list your home in MLS and nothing else. It is amazing how often the homes they list do not sell and the seller then hires a full service Realtor. It is painfully obvious in many of these situations the seller has set the price. The transaction agent does not care because they get paid regardless if the home sells or not.

Matthew - There have been countless times over my career where I have been called back to get the job done after the seller realizes they were snowed. Getting a listing the 2nd or 3rd time around is great because you know the seller will be all ears to sound advice.

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) over 9 years ago

In my opinion these agents tell the seller what they want to hear...not the truth

Posted by Dana Devine (Charles Rutenberg Realty) over 9 years ago

Amazingly well said as always Bill!

Posted by Samantha Nichols, Massachusetts Real Estate Specialist (ERA Belsito and Associates) over 9 years ago

Great post. I wish more sellers would "Google" thier agent.  It can be eye opening.

Posted by Linda Lohman, Former Teacher/Broker (Fonville Morisey Realty) over 9 years ago

I've also given this lots of thought.  I even find that when the listing expires unsold, many sellers are too embarrased to hire you and make the same mistake.  Thankfully I have enough business to not call these folks back when their home expires with agent #2.

I think back to Eli Wallach's response to Yul Brenner in, "The Magnificent Seven" while referring to the peasants.  He said,"If God had not wanted them to be sheared, he wouldn't have made them sheep!  They're gonna get a good shearing!  Baaaah 


Posted by Glen Hagen, Better Marketing, Better Results (Realty Connect Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I've also given this lots of thought.  I even find that when the listing expires unsold, many sellers are too embarrased to hire you and make the same mistake.  Thankfully I have enough business to not call these folks back when their home expires with agent #2.

I think back to Eli Wallach's response to Yul Brenner in, "The Magnificent Seven" while referring to the peasants.  He said,"If God had not wanted them to be sheared, he wouldn't have made them sheep!  They're gonna get a good shearing!  Baaaah 


Posted by Glen Hagen, Better Marketing, Better Results (Realty Connect Real Estate) over 8 years ago

I've also given this lots of thought.  I even find that when the listing expires unsold, many sellers are too embarrased to hire you and make the same mistake.  Thankfully I have enough business to not call these folks back when their home expires with agent #2.

I think back to Eli Wallach's response to Yul Brenner in, "The Magnificent Seven" while referring to the peasants.  He said,"If God had not wanted them to be sheared, he wouldn't have made them sheep!  They're gonna get a good shearing!  Baaaah 


Posted by Glen Hagen, Better Marketing, Better Results (Realty Connect Real Estate) over 8 years ago

No but our President plays one at rodeo's sorry I couldn't help that. I don't think of how others run their business as I got to much to do running mine and I think Karma is a B....and will come back to haught you

Posted by Charles Stallions Property Manager, Pensacola, Pace & Gulf Breeze Property Management (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services) about 6 years ago

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