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Opinion Editorials

Real Estate Bullies

real estate bully

Who are they?

There is at least one Real Estate Bully in every market. You know who they are:

  • the ones that take every listing no matter the price just to add to their inventory
  • The ones that talk down and spread false rumors about their competition
  • The ones that don’t care when a buyer is working with another agent and go out of their way to steal business
  • The ones that don’t work for their clients’ best interest and will do anything to get a sale

What to do?

We are faced with bullies from the time we are children. Different parents have different approaches to dealing with bullies which can include:

  • tattle-taling to the school superiors (in this case the local board)
  • face to face intervention
  • brute force
  • walking away and keeping your distance

Rick and I have chosen the higher road and have kept our distance. We figure their time will come and we see how they are digging their own grave one small shovel full at a time. It is just amazing to me how much people love these bullies and think the world of them!

Our approach may change soon, but for now we sit back and watch the show.

The Victims

The worst part is that the victim ends up being the customer not other agents. Those customers that are lead to believe things that are not necessarily factual. They end up paying more for properties, selling for less and in many cases are not told key information that may affect the value of their properties.

We receive e-mails on a daily basis of people telling us horror stories about other agents and how they wish they would have known us earlier. We go out of our way to help them, and know we are planting seeds for future business.

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The future

Sometimes I wish there was an easier way to eradicate these bullies who ultimately make our industry look worse – but it can’t be done until the consumer takes off the blindfold.

Written By

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors,, and and is always on communication's leading edge. She goes out of her way to engage and be engaged, often using Mojitos to keep the mood light and give everything she does a Miami flavor. You can find her goofing off or instigating trouble at Twitter, Flickr, Facebook or LinkedIn.



  1. The Harriman Team

    June 11, 2008 at 11:44 am

    Ines, you and my wife (Pat) must be cut from the same cloth; I know you’d get along very well! Me? well, that’s another story…I’m afraid if I was confronted with this kind of bullyism (is that a word??) I’d just have to say or do something, anything to put the offender in his/her place. Espeially if their actions were putting their client, a colleague or our profession in harm’s way or a negative light. As in the case of Vlad Zablotskyy and the beating he’s taking from a certain schoolyard bully, I can’t seem to stand aside and let things go. A rather quaint weakness of mine that surely may come back to bite we in the butt, but I still sleep well at night!

    Wayne Harriman

  2. Ken Smith

    June 11, 2008 at 2:13 pm

    We were always thought that you don’t start a fight, but if someone starts with you to stand up for ourselves. I think that Vlad’s case is a prime example of why you need to take a stand. If Vlad had just walked away (taken down all the content) nobody would know about the truth. It takes people willing to take a stand to change things.

  3. Ines

    June 11, 2008 at 3:28 pm

    Wayne – I’m not the stand back type….I’m the in-your-face type…..but you have to be rational as well. In the case of a neighborhood Realtor Bully that everybody loves because they keep their true colors behind the scenes, trying to unmask them would do you more damage than leaving it alone….trust me….sometimes I feel like publishing an add to expose them. (RICK keeps me sane) 🙂

    As for Vlad and the way the whole situation was handled, look at everyone that has come out to defend what is right – I commend him for standing up for what he believes in.

  4. Harold Watts

    June 11, 2008 at 3:53 pm


    “What goes around, comes around”. Bad karma will always follow the bullies of our industry. Most times, I will take the high road, and be the better person. But there are times when we all have to stand up for ourselves & fight. Pick & choose your battles.

  5. Ines

    June 11, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Harold, that’s absolutely right! pick you battles….and although I have a low tolerance level – I think I know when to wait and when to pull the trigger.

  6. Jillayne Schlicke

    June 11, 2008 at 4:33 pm

    Doing nothing means nothing will change. The unintentional consequences are that the general public’s image of the Realtor is only as high as the real estate industry’s LOWEST standards of behavior.

    Sometimes all it takes is a phone conversation.

    Then, maybe broker to broker.

    Then, if both are members of the Assoc of Realtors, the Code can help guide the agent (the agent who needs moral guidance.)

    Sometimes the behavior is out of accidental ignorance: The person just simply had never been taught how to work well within the Realtor community.

    However, a certain percentage of the human population ( I think I’ve heard it quoted as 1 in 25 ) are sociopaths and do not hold the ability to grow morally. For these folks (once you figure out who they are) you must strike hard, set firm boundaries, and if necessary, ban them from your industry. Real estate can take lesson from the attorney and doctor playbook. They ruthlessly self-regulate their industry code of ethics.

  7. Melina Tomson

    June 11, 2008 at 5:24 pm

    I am always amazed at how some consumers love people like this. They are great at getting the listing, but not actually selling the listing. Some people’s “kiss ass meters” must be broken, because their behavior is so obvious to me.

    For these people “It’s all about me” is a tried and true motto.

  8. Ines

    June 11, 2008 at 7:25 pm

    Jillayne – you have no idea how much I appreciate your comment. In a couple of instances, I followed the exact protocol you mentioned – spoke to the agent first, then spoke to the broker and just last month I wanted to go to the board because of an offer that was not countered and possibly never presented and my customer asked me not to.

    These agents have a perceived community reputation that does not match at all with what they do business wise. They are slowly burning bridges, and as you mention……do not have the ability to grow morally.

    Melina – LOL! True bullies show signs of insecuriy – real estate bullies do as well, but it is hidden and very well rehearsed.

  9. Eric Blackwell

    June 11, 2008 at 7:28 pm

    Ines–great point. One of the things that happen is that over time, their reputation starts to precede them. You MIGHT be a BULLY if…(grin)…if other REALTORS use your last name as a past tense VERB…

    EXAMPLE: “Sound like you just got (LAST NAME)’ed!” hehe…

    Good Karma goes around to though!


  10. Ines

    June 11, 2008 at 7:38 pm

    OMG Eric – that totally cracked me up!! I applied it the last name to all the bullies in town and had such a great laugh.

    Of course I also turned it around to see if it could apply to us and doesn’t work that well: You just got “garcia’d”…nah “rick and ines’d”….nah “miamism’d”….nah

    I guess Karma is Karma! Thanks for the laugh.

  11. Paula Henry

    June 12, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Ines – I walked into a “good ol boy” network when I moved back to Indianapolis. I don’t like good ol boys. While their networking to get the deal done – someone’s client is getting a “raw” deal.

  12. ines

    June 12, 2008 at 9:22 am

    Paula – there should be a way of exposing these bullies – maybe a virtual tar-and-feather session ….wouldn’t that be fun?

  13. Ken Smith

    June 12, 2008 at 10:22 am

    @Eric – You know it works really well with your name, “You just got Blackwell’ed”…j/k we all know you are to nice to be a bully.

  14. Eric Blackwell

    June 12, 2008 at 11:09 am

    @Ken- hehe…yeah…I got it from Judge Robert Bork…where getting Borked describes a public official having a problem getting confirmed by the Senate..(grin)

    Just had to have a little fun and help Ines smile a little!

  15. ines

    June 12, 2008 at 11:22 am

    That is funny – “blackwelled” and “smithed” sound pretty funny! I can say this post has been “black-smithed” instead of Punk’d

  16. Eric Blackwell

    June 12, 2008 at 11:22 am

    @Ken again– They may ACTUALLY be saying that about me now, after what I posted on BHB about national listings sites like this morning. (grin) Did not want to have to say it, but I am getting tired of phone calls with irate clients about it, so it needed to be said… I feel for our clients.

    I certainly hope folks wouldn’t think of me as a bully…that’s for sure.

  17. Ken Smith

    June 12, 2008 at 4:31 pm

    Eric you didn’t say anything that isn’t true.

  18. Bill Lublin

    June 12, 2008 at 5:37 pm

    Eric – I think I’m safe Who could ever explained that they were “Lublined” 🙂

  19. ines

    June 12, 2008 at 7:54 pm

    Bill – it actually has a nice ring to it! 😀

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