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Realtors Coming Out of the Closet



realtor closet

What I Discovered

A few short years ago when I was doing my original research for (when I first became enraged with I found something very interesting.  There was a site (a rather stupid looking site with an even more stupid, long and impossible to remember URL) hosted on AOL that was beyond critical of  That site is no longer up (and I have since removed shaftingrealtors, when NAR politely asked me to).  What was interesting was that it was impossible for me to find the person who had put up that site on AOL.  Their name showed up nowhere on the site – or anywhere else.  They were afraid of reprisals from NAR.

As recently as fall of 2006 I  had numerous people writing to me, telling me I was “very brave” to openly speak out against NAR’s handling of

Things have changed…

My my, how the playing field has changed.  No one writes stuff like that to me, anymore.  Seems the only thing stopping anyone from saying anything these days is they are busy trying to make a living (that thing NAR is supposed to actually help us with).  Thanks to Jim Duncan for unearthing these gems from

For nearly a decade, has helped REALTORS® thrive in the Internet age. was created to be an Internet site that would always be owned and controlled by REALTORS®

Protected members against business models intended to disintermediate them or force unfriendly tariff models upon the industry

No “For Sale by Owner” properties may ever appear on

It would be wonderful if the four quotes above were actually true.  Unfortunately, they are not correct statements.  But it doesn’t have to stay that way.  I believe NAR is populated by nice people who will wind up doing the right thing.  Even if it takes a while.  I also believe I have a lot of company now.  So there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at and

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  1. Joe Loomer

    May 29, 2009 at 5:36 am

    Spot on Russell. Visionaries like you are leading the way to the way back.

    I recall when NAR first allowed to post FSBOs and there was just a mild murmur in my neck of the woods. At the time, I was with a small local firm – albeit one with an established reputation. I looked to my broker to take the lead and let us all know what we should be doing. Fast forward and I’m with a national brand, national resources, extensive training, and a focus on staying ahead of the competition. I now take it upon myself to educate my broker (and our market center) – whose schedule may not allow her the leeway to navigate these posts. Keeping my fellow associates at the firm informed about the NAR issues is my way of ensuring they can make the choice to have their voices heard on this and other outstanding forums.

    If it was not for your diligence – and that of the many other contributors and commentors on this and the host of other informative sites – the rest of us would continue to plod along in lock-step with the old guard.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  2. Kim Hannemann

    May 29, 2009 at 9:43 am

    If and when you turn out to be mistaken – and believe me, I don’t want you to be mistaken – this quote will resurface for ridicule:

    “I believe NAR is populated by nice people who will wind up doing the right thing.”

    Of course, by then you will probably be beyond caring!

    Thanks for being uplifting!

  3. jim little

    May 29, 2009 at 10:29 am

    I’m with you on this one. It is because of you and several other members of AG that many others, including myself, think there may be hope.

    I have always had mixed emotions about NAR, believing that it is more of a money pit than a trade organization seeking to benefit its members.

  4. BawldGuy

    May 29, 2009 at 12:15 pm

    Russ, you are to optimism what Chicken Little is to panic. 🙂

  5. Thomas Johnson

    May 29, 2009 at 12:30 pm

    Russell: That is one helluva cat skin on your closet floor!

  6. Lani Rosales

    May 29, 2009 at 12:31 pm

    Russ, the crazy thing is that I’ve now been accused of being a NAR cheerleader as well as a NAR hater. Ironically, I’m not a member so I shouldn’t even care, but I care about the industry, I care about consumers and ultimately what people may not understand about you is that you feel the same and if NAR functions well, there’s no obstacle to this. So for those who don’t know Russ, please understand that he (as well as the rest of us here) just wants NAR to function well so the industry can thrive and consumers can benefit.

    When NAR does a good thing, we cheer. When NAR puts up walls, we jeer. I chose not to whine over beers about it, I’m with YOU in mobilizing the crowd to become more educated and to KNOW what’s happening BEFORE the wool is pulled over their eyes.

  7. Fred Romano

    May 29, 2009 at 6:19 pm

    Yes – let’s boot all the alternative business models off!!! No more flat fees, no more “discounters”, no more fsbos (listed with flatfee)… lets just lock up all the info and force the public to deal with full service traditional brokers. Heck why don’t we restrict the display of “street address” too, that way the buyers will HAVE to contact the broker. Forget all the stuff about transparency.

    Oh wait … what about the DOJ Antitrust Ruling… oh well I guess we cant 🙁

    As I heard someone else say on here… the horse is out if the corral. Done. Move forward now.

  8. Karen Rice

    May 30, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Fred – I really couldn’t care less about the alternative models on Personally I think it’s offensive to let FSBOs post on there.

    Furthermore, my biggest beef with is that it is SO limited unless you are willing to pay mucho bucks….when other sites like Zillow and Trulia give you so much more free.

    Have I gotten any business from Zillow or Trulia? No idea – people don’t know what site they found me on.

    Have I gotten any business directly from enhanced listings on A few inquiries, and sold one listing myself, an office worker sold another one of my listings. In two plus years, I have had two sales that were directly a result of

    Wow. Pardon me if I’m underwhelmed. I would expect a much bigger ROI from the “#1 Real Estate Site in the World.”

  9. Paula Henry

    May 30, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    I, too, have been accused of being a NAR hater – not so! I believe Realtors should have the same rights to publish our information as I do not see any benefit from, Trulia or Zillow, not because I don’t like them, I’ve just never seen any business from it.

    None of it is actually free – it costs us everyday. The wool is sufficiently in place over many eyes!

  10. John Wake

    May 31, 2009 at 2:44 am

    NAR’s decisions about the internet have been absolutely HORRIBLE (yes, I’m screaming).

    First they let a company founded by a guy who is still on trial for fraud to use the “” domain name!

    Even more unbelievable, NAR still lets that same company (under a new name, Move Inc.) have the contract to provide NAR’s web site.

    That was bad enough but then in 2003 NAR’s leadership created a blatantly illegal internet policy which the Department of Justice jumped on, of course… but not until after the DOJ warned NAR for a long, long time they were going to jump on it. By taking on the DOJ and losing, those rocket scientists at NAR did more to hurt the image of Realtors than any image-building B.S. NAR has ever aired. Thanks guys.
    “Cendant Real Estate Division CEO Richard Smith, along with other franchise leaders, including Dave Liniger of RE/MAX International and Bill Powers of Realty Executives, lobbied the NAR for a broker opt-out option that would enable brokers to choose which VOWs would be able to publish their listings.”

    Today, I suspect Byzantine NAR politics explains why NAR lets provide the web site for NAR. I suppose gross incompetence is another possible explanation (look at NAR’s internet track record). And bureaucratic inertia is certainly a factor.

    NAR should ask Zillow, Trulia, Google, et al. for proposals on what they could do if they were to provide the web site for NAR.

    I have absolutely no doubt that Realtors would get phenomenally better results at phenomenally lower prices with a different vendor providing the web site for NAR.

    Ya know, things are tough out there guys and NAR is absolutely wasting what could be a spectacularly useful tool for Realtors by giving the contract to

    On the other hand, would be very unhappy if they lost the NAR contract.

  11. Ken Horst

    May 31, 2009 at 11:45 pm

    I have to agree with John, is NAR the problem or is it Move Inc. Think about it folks, who couldn’t take an Internet property like and put it to good use? God only knows how much money they blew on the Activerain debacle. That money could have been spent on attracting more home buyers if nothing else.

  12. Atlanta Real Estate

    August 31, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    NAR, ABR, XYZ…all the $400/year orgainzations with a zillion (forced) members.

    I never “donated” so much money to nothing in my entire professional life, prior to becoming an agent.


  13. Jacci - Austin Realtor

    January 6, 2010 at 12:22 am

    It is hard to gain alot of business from, Trulia or Zillow without paying an arm and a leg. I get better results from my own personal site. It would be nice if NAR would hold themselves to their own quotes.

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Business Marketing

“House has spark” – burning up the MLS with typos and other bloopers



The year is starting a march toward its natural ending, friends…and it seems a few real estate careers may be also. This week I found some real head-scratchers in local real estate ads and the MLS.  However, I get submissions from all over the U.S., so no one is safe from the eyes of  the Blooper Scooper. Check out these blunders:

Do You Smell Smoke?

“House has spark” (Apparently your real estate career isn’t the only thing going up in smoke.)

“Big pep area in kitchen” (Is that the cookie jar where Mommy Dearest stashes her uppers?) 

“Dull Viking ovens” (Methinks there’s something in the cookie jar that will perk up those dull Vikings.)

“Large greenhose in back” (Large, naked Jolly Green Giant in yard.)

“Mush added to this house” (Was that the overflow from between your ears?)

I Think I See Flames

“Beautifully remolded guest” (Another cosmetically-altered Barbie hits the Hollywood party circuit.)

“Enjoy a drink poolslide” ( Hell, if the pool is sliding, I’ll need a whole pint of Jack.)

“Each bedroom has own bedrooom” (Hello-o-o, Alice, how are things down there in the rabbit hole?)

“Separate pod to build GH” (That should please my pea-sized buyers.)

“Play room for the kiss” (Something tells me this is the back seat of a ’67 Chevy.)

Still Smoldering…

“Ideal for gusts” (That’s great…if you want to live in a wind sock.)

“Impaccably detailed” (Incredibly challenged)

“Stylish pewder room” (Try burning a match.)

“Stone pillars flake driveway” (Flakey agent got stoned in driveway.)

Nothing But Embers (This Week’s Fave):

“From a bygone error” (You have just written your own epitaph.)



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Point & Purpose

What makes a top producer in real estate?



What makes a top producer?

Stop and think for a few minutes about who the top producers are in your market?

Ok, now think about what they doing that has allowed them to continue to consistently produce in a down market, when everyday REALTORS are throwing in the towel.

Every day I scan the MLS to see, what has sold, what is active, and what went under contract (I assume that is something most agents do every day.)

Over and over again the same names pop up as the listing agent with the home that sold or the actual buying agent that sold the home.


Except for one agent in my area, all the top producers have teams. Now it may be a two person, husband and wife team or a well oiled team with a team leader, several assistants, a listing coordinator or a closing coordinator. But, they all have HELP.

In my area, the names that keep popping up are on Teams. I believe it is virtually impossible to be a top producer without help. Well, you could do it alone but if you do how is that effecting time with your family? Realistically how many transactions can you juggle and give good service?

Running a Business

The second thing I notice about those top producers is the fact that they treat their business like a business. Real Estate to them is not just selling a house, but something they brand, allocate resources for, grow and manage. Not only are they thinking of ways to grow their business but they also thinking of the future and how to sell it down the road.

I remember being told by a entrepreneur friend of mine years ago, “all businesses are built to be sold.”

Far to many REALTORS, think of Real Estate as a job they do and someday when they retire then all the hard work of creating and nurturing relationships they have built is gone. (I’m outta here)

Focused and Positive

One other observation I have observed with top producers is they are focused and positive. I never see them “hanging out at the office”, or attending broker opens, or really for that matter, serving much at all on their local boards. Oh there are a few, but really very few.

Finally, I don’t see many top producers in my market on Twitter, Facebook, Empire Avenue or other social media sites during the day. I don’t see them at every conference known to man around the country.

What I do see is they work everyday, on their business and in their business.

How ‘bout you?

Think of the top REALTORS in your market, what characteristics do you see?

Flickr Photo Credit

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Business Marketing

“New bd pans inc” – Making a Splash on the MLS



I have two things to say this week: 1. When you drink, you can’t think. 2. When you drink you can’t- … uh, what was I saying? Oh, yes – the MLS.  It was so full of bloopers this week that I am led to conclude that happy hour started Monday and never stopped. Read these and tell me if it is any wonder I was driven to throw back a few martinis myself:

Booze ‘N’ Fools

“Free membership to gin inc” (It seems someone else beat us to it, Martini Mary.)

“Grab now use imagination” (That’s what Arnold said to his housekeeper.)

“House has new edition” (Agent lacks erudition.)

“Babblying broke runs in back” (Bumbling buffoon runs amuck.)

“Drop by for cocktail ho” (Oh, is the Sunset Strip for sale?)

Puff ‘N’ Stuff

“Near Sacramento airpot” (I believe his name is Jerry Brown.)

“Claw me for selling” (I’m too busy clawing my eyes out over your spelling.)

“Reduction on mid-century ner Holywod” (Another mid-sixties porn star is looking for work.)

“We can sake your home” (Can I get fried rice with my sake?)

Proof or Goof

“Nice streem” (Said Grandma to Grandpa after his diaper  exploded.)

“Nice for dog kids” (Uh, they’re called ‘puppies,” pal.)

“New bd pans included” (Thank you, Nurse Nancy – can you warm those first?)

“Good stable in neighborhood.” (Have you contacted Mary and Joseph?)

“Drawing for plasma” (Is this a blood-bank?)

And This Week’s Winner Is:

“Good school in areola” (Thanks for keeping me abreast of things.)


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