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You Should Shut Up… BEFORE You Sound Like an Idiot

Think then Speak. Research than Speak. Listen than Speak.

It’s been a bit much this week, I’ve heard a myriad of stupidity and each time it’s been spewed from someone who simply didn’t have a clue.  I love debate and rightness as much as the next person, but honestly there are times when you need to be quite and listen – then share.  It’s prudent to how people respond to your diatribe, that you actually know all sides of an issue.

This week I encountered a Broker / Owner with agents working for them, that literally didn’t know the difference between Shortsale and REO.  She believed that Shortsales was synonymous with Foreclosures.  When I used the phrase REO, she adamantly corrected me that it wasn’t a relocation (she was thinking of RELO).  She didn’t understand the process at all, and had cost her client a healthy chunk of change, in doing something that was kind of dumb.  At the end of the conversation she was upset with me for not siding with her and telling her that she was at fault for not protecting her client.  That did not set well.

Lots of opinions, fewer facts

I am dismayed on almost a daily basis at the lack of knowledge that most agents have.  More than a little depressed that correct information is so easily obtained, and yet people are satisfied to be wrong.

We teach a class where we hold hearings of a mock licensing or Ethics complaints and the tremendous lack of understanding that agents have about the world at large is stifling.  Everyone thinks that real estate is suppose to be fair to everyone and especially the agent.  It’s not.  The real estate statutes are online, the Code of Ethics is online, Google just about any topics and you’ll find an answer (caution: bloggers are occasionally the largest source of incorrect information).  Real estate is an industry where your knowledge is everything – be right!

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Lastly, listen to what someone is trying to tell you.  Most people fail to listen when they have mentally dismissed another as a incapable source.  I see this most often with “veteran” agents.  They are sure of information they were taught 25 years ago, but fail to keep up with current changes and disregard the value of a newly licensed agent.  Wisdom gained through experience is important, but a wise person will learn to at least listen to everyone and confirm what they disagree with.  Listen to this sad reflection of today’s culture: Verizon Math Fail

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Written By

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is



  1. ines

    February 6, 2009 at 11:42 am

    Blogging has made me a better listener – it’s amazing how many people lack listening skills and it just annoys me to no end!

    As for stupidity in real estate – it’s sad how it’s synonymous with the industry.

  2. Missy Caulk

    February 6, 2009 at 5:12 pm


  3. Erion Shehaj

    February 6, 2009 at 11:42 pm

    Math is a difference of opinion

    Verizon Manager

  4. Dan Connolly

    February 9, 2009 at 1:29 am

    okay, did you ever hear what was the final result with Verizon?

    It reminds me of a clerk at a gas station I was at today trying to count $3.27 in nickles and dimes, for the guy in front of me. He started over at least four times, and just couldn’t get it past $2.50 or so, But he wasn’t going to just trust the guy and dump it in the drawer. He finally had to call someone else to do it. He didn’t even seem embarressed.

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