Are Realtors People Too?

We spend the majority of our headspace at Real Estate of Mind musing about  Realtors and the interesting relationships they develop with that vast sea of  clients  swimming around in the infinite milieu of  “the marketplace.”

Realtors go about their work.   People go about their lives.  Occasionally that work and those lives intersect.  Overlap for brief, intense periods of time while humans navigate the large transitions that inevitably accompany the process,  when the places they sleep, eat, make love and otherwise “live” in,  go through profound changes of address.

But what about Realtors and the relationships they develop with other Realtors?  What fascinating world of exploration does that notion conjure?

Is real estate just business? Done strictly by the book? What book?

Aren’t Realtors people too? Humans with their own lives? Navigating their own way?  Who talks to and about Realtors more than other Realtors?  Can someone who isn’t a Realtor really understand what it’s like to be a Realtor?  In the immortal words of the ten year old that resides inside me:  “Doesn’t it take one to know one?”

I always have to be a little careful around these sensitive subjects  – having once been charged with a serious breach of ethics, when another Realtor took offense because I suggested, kinda humorously but kinda seriously, that all Realtors ought to carry a moral compass wherever the go.

But…here I go…once more into the breach dear friends… mind wandering in the wilderness looking for true north.

Realtors are an incredibly interesting species.  We’re part of a fraternity. Or sorority. Or a co-ed fraternity sorority.  We’re intense competitors and we’re willing or unwilling colleagues at the same time. No two relationships between Realtors is ever the same.

We negotiate with each other. We exercise professional courtesy. We sniff each other out.  We facilitate solutions.  We pee in corners. We occasionally behave badly just as we rise to occasional gracious heights with the help of our better angels.

Some Realtors are grinders. Some are giving.  Some are pleasant. Some always sound like their dog just died.  Some like to blame everyone else. Some seem convinced the “glass is half empty” – that neither life or real estate were meant to be happy occupations.  Some always seem to be surfing a perpetual wave of inexhaustible optimism – good or bad market –  you couldn’t tell if it was 2005 or 2009 by listening to them.

There are some wonderful Realtors I’ve had 20 successful escrows with over the years.  Others?  Well, let’s just say – I cringe at the thought of a few that might show one of my listings and actually write an offer – necessitating a prolonged period of close interaction on behalf of our respective clients.

And yes, our code of ethics says you shouldn’t say anything bad about another Realtor but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other forms of expression available. I  confess I’ve heard Realtors hum the Wicked Witch of the West theme or the first few telltale bars of “Jaws” when another Realtor’s name came up in conversation.

When those competitive juices really get going – Realtors can dig deep into their private bag of tricks trying to out-do, out-manuever, out-posture and in some cases out-spend each other – searching for new and better ways to monetize the Machievellian urges welling up from within.

How do Realtors diss other Realtors – both subtly and not so subtly? Here are a few of my favorite ways:  They try to out-car them.  Out-cool tech headset them.  Out-paperwork them. Out-award them. Out-real estate jargon them. Out-client name-drop them. Out-Realtor designation them. Out-my time is more valuable than yours them.  Out-I don’t work on weekends them.  Out-my brokerage is bigger than your brokerage them. Out-don’t bother to return a phone call them.  Out-sales volume them. Out-I’ve been doing this longer than you’ve been doing this them.  Out-success guru them.  Out-data base them. Out-go on vacation in the middle of a transaction them.

There are a thousand ways to try to out-Realtor other Realtors. But the very worst thing you can say? The harshest criticism you can hurl in another Agent’s direction?  Simply say: “You don’t have any client control.”

Client control. An interesting concept. Fraught with implication. We’ll explore the subject further next week.

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