Personal Development

A Note to You Crappy Real Estate Agents Out There

Expertise: Real Estate Marketing, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Mortgages & Creative Financing, Real Estate Investing Basics, Landlording & Rental Properties, Flipping Houses, Personal Finance, Business Management
301 Articles Written

Got your attention Realtors? Good!
I’m not accusing all agents of being crappy, but there are some of them who are giving the rest of you a bad name!

In the current real estate environment where vacant homes litter our neighborhoods, a flock of crappy real estate agents reign control over our futures. These are the agents who do a half-ass job of protecting the interests of their clients.

If you represent a vacant property, it is your job to not only get get that property sold, but to also do your best to manage and protect it from robbers, and other mischief makers.

Make An Example of This Guy!

A few months ago an elderly woman in my neighborhood had to move out of her home to go to hospice, and unfortunately, her family lives out of the country. This family put their faith in a real estate agent, who was to get the home sold and keep watch over it. Weeks later, as door flyers and other junk collected on the front of the home, I saw an agent around the property. I walked up to him to talk about the junk that was collecting and let him know that he or someone else from his firm needed to visit the property on a more regular basis to keep all the junk off the door/stoop.

This jerk told me that it wasn’t part of his job description.

I argued briefly with him, trying to make clear that part of his duty in this type of situation was to ensure that the home was safe, and that meant making sure that people knew that it was being cared for, but he could care less. I'm not sure whether the person I spoke with was the actual agent representing the client, or someone at the property on his behalf, but either way, he was 100% in the wrong, and was doing his client a disservice.

According the the National Association of Realtors:

REALTORS® who are employed to maintain or manage a client’s property shall exercise due diligence and make reasonable efforts to protect it against reasonably foreseeable contingencies and losses. (Adopted 1/95)

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This guy gives a bad name to all real estate agents. Not only does he reflect poorly on his managing broker and brokerage firm, but he is one of the reasons that people look at real estate agents as being akin to used car salesmen and politicians.

So . . . if the rest of you agents (the good ones) want to get your reputations back, put a kibosh on this type of attitude and teach your fellow agent of what his duty is.

Joshua Dorkin is a serial entrepreneur, investor, podcaster, publisher, educator, and co-author of How to Invest in Real Estate. He started BiggerPockets to help democratize the real estate investing landscape for himself and others, aiming to make it accessible for everyone, regardless of income or education. Today, BiggerPockets is the premier real estate investing website online with over one million members and reaching over 70 million people with the message of financial freedom through real estate investing. Joshua, along with his wife and three daughters, make their home in Denver, Colorado, and spend any time they can traveling, exploring, and adventuring. Read more about Joshua’s story in 5280 and

    Dick Rosen
    Replied over 10 years ago
    I agree 100%, realtors are starting to remind me of bikers. We call them the 1 percenters, it’s that 1% that gives us all a bad name.
    Dick Rosen
    Replied over 10 years ago
    I agree 100%, realtors are starting to remind me of bikers. We call them the 1 percenters, it’s that 1% that gives us all a bad name. Reply Report comment
    Tony Arko
    Replied over 10 years ago
    The really sad part is the NAR has a bunch of rules that are meaningless because agents and brokers are never kicked out of the association for violations. Ask anybody in upper management at NAR how many agents are kicked out of the association each year for ethics violations and they have no answer. That is because the number is zero. And everyone knows it is zero including the agents that violate the code of ethics. That is why they violate the codes. The problem isn’t the agents, the problem is NARs management and unwillingness to lose even one member. The national association is a sham. And I am an unproud card carrying member.
    Gary Ytreeide
    Replied over 10 years ago
    Your comments evoked a lot of questions, some in defense of our profession, but more importantly questions as to what are the responsibilities of a salesperson/broker. My first thought was – when we list a house we are hiring on as property managers. That being said, it is my opinion that we are responsible for making sure the house shows the best it can, and that includes picking up newspapers and flyers of the driveway and lawn when the house is vacant. Ultimately it is the sellers responsibility to maintain the property unless he has reached an agreement with the listing agent, but a little common sense on the agent’s part does go a long way. One recommendation I would make to you – find out to whom you are talking. That could have been a prospect that was looking at the property and he/she just met there potential neighbor.
    Joshua Dorkin
    Replied over 10 years ago
    Gary – The person I talked to was not representing a prospect, but representing the home owners. Had it been someone representing a prospect, it would have been a different conversation altogether.