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The Un-REALTORS

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I put my head down in fear because what I am about to say may hurt a lot of people’s feelings.  Although it is not my intention, please realize that those of us here….now…. represent a very small part of our industry.

I confess that I am embarrassed to be called a REALTOR

People avoid me (our industry) like the plague.  I had someone tell me today that he would have no problem speeding up at an intersection if he knew the person crossing the street was a Realtor.  At a party last week, a man asked the host to please not introduce him to me because he knew I was a Realtor and I would try to sell him a house.

The thought of being included in the same category as others that have continuously disappointed and cheated clients out of their best interest is embarrassing to say the least.  I even had an esteemed colleague tell me this week after reading the “about me” page on my blog that including my architecture degree was of no value to my readers.

Feeling ashamed is just WRONG!

When our industry is looked as a whole and you ask someone to describe a Realtor, this is what people have to say:  pushy, relentless, disrespectful, worse than attorneys, cheaters, snakes, scum……..I’ve heard tons more that are not appropriate for this blog, but you get the picture.

So here’s my point – a lot of us talk about breaking the mold and changing the perception of our industry one client at a time.  I am proud to say that Rick and I have achieved just that – but what about the thousands of people that won’t even give Realtors a chance?  The ones that keep trashing us and get nauseous at the thought of even addressing one of our “kind”?

As much as I’d like to admit that our industry is better after the down-turn and a lot of “bad agents” have left the business – there are more out there that are still making us look bad.  I don’t have an answer on how to solve this, I can only do my part in trying to change the perception.

Ask yourself what value you bring to your clients and the industry – ask yourself how you are getting involved to break the mold and help educate? And most importantly, notice what people hate about us and stop doing it!

I know that the first step in dropping the “shame” card is to start respecting other Realtors – knowing a lot of your from the RE.net gives me a sense of purpose and hope knowing that we are not all greedy and selfish.  I just keep hoping that the number of respectful real estate professionals keeps growing and with the help of this medium, we can spread the word more efficiently.

We are not all bad (….not a good motto) – but a start.

Ines is all Miami, all the time. A Miami Beach Realtor® with Majestic properties, Ines authors Miamism.com, PrimeMiamiBeach.com, and MiamismPix.com 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.

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30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Thomas A B Johnson

    February 23, 2009 at 5:50 pm

    a man asked the host to please not introduce him to me because he knew I was a Realtor and I would try to sell him a house.

    Ines: He is not worthy of any house you might show him. Maybe Brad Inman will represent him for free.

  2. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    February 23, 2009 at 5:55 pm

    now THAT’s funny 😀

    I actually played the obnoxious realtor part and followed him all night – and did the “I’m watching you” fingers towards him – everyone in the party got a kick out of it (because they know me)

  3. Rob Aubrey

    February 23, 2009 at 5:59 pm

    I agree that there is a lot of room for how people view a REALTOR.

    I remember I had two guys on my blog just pummeling me for all the ills of the market and it was starting to get to me. Then I remembered it was two guys. As long as I allowed them to get to me more of them were showing up, I just deleted them and I haven’t any issues since.

    I am never embarrassed to be called a REALTOR.

  4. Sheila Bell

    February 23, 2009 at 6:13 pm

    Whoa! Let’s not go overboard. Given the atmosphere today, people are anxious. I always tell my students (especially in an ethics class), “we are judged by the worst of us”. *Responsibility* belongs to all of us!
    “In a democratic society,some are guilty, but all are responsible”
    -Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel

  5. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    February 23, 2009 at 7:19 pm

    Rob – you are a better man than me 🙂

    Sheila….that’s exactly what I find scary “some are guilty, but ALL are responsible”

  6. Bridget Magnus

    February 23, 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Well, maybe if our “professional organization” weren’t trying to convince everybody that it’s *always* a great time to buy a house, and that absolutely everybody ought to own at least one, people wouldn’t look at us like we were vultures. Imagine if the AMA ran a “it’s a great time to have surgery!” campaign!

  7. Bill Lublin

    February 23, 2009 at 8:41 pm

    Ines;
    I appreciate the feeling, but the person wasn’t talking about the trade association, he was talking about the real estate prfoessional in general. And sadly, the public view of all of us is often colored by the actions of the people –
    But the fact is, other than the National Association of REALTORS – there are NO advocates for our profession – and certainly none that are organized to the same degree –

  8. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    February 23, 2009 at 9:27 pm

    Bridget – I’m with you there, the false campaigns do add to all the confusion and there are those that repeat verbatim what they hear without even thinking about the implications

    Like govt – the real estate profession needs to be managed at a local level and our local boards don’t do enough to police each agent’s actions Bill. I do think NAR can do more to improve the standards and if that means less agents, then that’s the way it needs to be.

  9. Mark Eibner

    February 23, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    we’re at it again The Un-REALTORS: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PRO.. https://tinyurl.com/d34s84

  10. sheilabragg

    February 23, 2009 at 11:22 pm

    The Un-REALTORS: Get out of your feed reader and comment on this post- we PROMISE that the ShamWow guy won\’t po.. https://tinyurl.com/d34s84

  11. Jodi Tussing

    February 24, 2009 at 4:27 am

    Ines,great post.
    Not ONLY are we REALTORs, but we are SALESMEN lol- love it! …. and the best of us are really good salesmen! … and we are going to out smart – out think – and outlast all of our competitors….especially the limited service people who won’t charge 6% because of … moral dilemmas – right…We are GREAT! Hold your head high girlfriend! BTW- the BEST of us have the MOST integrity, and you must be one of them, to let it get to you.

  12. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    February 24, 2009 at 11:02 am

    thanks for the compliment Jodi – I value integrity like nothing else in this industry and I hold my head up high, I’m not just the one that hands out business cards at parties 🙂

  13. Danilo Bogdanovic

    February 24, 2009 at 12:29 pm

    Awesome post! I know many folks that hate Realtors (just look at one of the last comments made on a post on AG by “I hate Realtors”). But you just have to brush it off and keep on doing your thing knowing that you are NOT like those that have given us all a bad name. (And try not get too pissed off at NAR’s ad campaigns)

    The thing that allows me to sleep at night is knowing that I am better than those cheaters, liars and incompetent agents that screw over their clients. My clients get the service, respect and honesty they deserve and that I *owe* them.

    And funny how you mention that you don’t hand out business cards at parties – I don’t even carry them on me when I’m out socially/off the clock. I’ve seen many agents jump into a conversation with random strangers because they heard the words “real estate” or “market” – rude and pathetic.

  14. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    February 24, 2009 at 12:34 pm

    Danilo – AMEN!! Rick and I don’t carry business cards either – we are the epitome of the UNREALTORS – we have to admit that we are a new wave of marketers that don’t believe in aggressive and pushy strategies

  15. Linsey Planeta

    February 24, 2009 at 9:57 pm

    OMG Bridget took the words RIGHT out of my mouth! Ha ha!!

    Maybe the next marketing campaign could say it aloud; acknowledge what the consumers are saying about the Realtor community. There might be some hilarious ads you could create and you might actually be able to address the perception. Take it head on.

  16. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    February 24, 2009 at 10:26 pm

    Linsey – that’s an awesome idea:

    “You think I’m obnoxious? ….buyers jump on deals just so I stop hounding them!”

    “Not just your revolting average Realtor….TOP PRODUCER for 10 years and counting”

    “I will do anything for a commission – try me”

    “Who needs an education when you can have 10 million designations”

    ….OK….I think I’ve had enough fun

  17. Dan Connolly

    February 25, 2009 at 9:02 am

    One thing I hate, is to be introduced at a party as a Realtor. I always go out of my way to make sure that anyone who does it, knows that it doesn’t work for me. I know that my friends are just trying to help but it really alienates me from anyone I am introduced to. I never have cards.

    That is the beauty and wonder of cultivating internet leads rather than SOI. The last thing I want to do is call my friends and ask for business.

    I think the idea that the word realtor should be in all caps is another trait of the industry that makes the public mistrust us. How would you feel if someone tried to tell you it had to be DOCTOR or DENTIST, every time you wrote the word. Pretty arrogant and self righteous, if you ask me.

  18. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    February 25, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Dan…you just hit a great point about the way we are introduced. If you are at a networking event, Realtor will do, at a party….becomes uncomfortable.

    The CAPS thing is also crazy – but if we try to get into all the intricacies of these decisions….you know we will never get anywhere.

  19. Faina Sechzer, Princeton NJ

    February 25, 2009 at 5:31 pm

    Ines -you use the word “Unrealtors”. I used to call myself a “secret agent”- not showing my cards onto every person I met:) My cards don’t even have my Oscars worthy face:)

  20. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    February 25, 2009 at 8:12 pm

    Faina – no picture in your cards?? LOL (we don’t either btw)

  21. teresa boardman

    March 3, 2009 at 6:17 pm

    LOL I never put my face on my cards and you have to search my blog to find it, that aside I want to a party on a boat where I was introduced as a realtor and spent three hours polity answering real estate questions while my friends had a great time. I was trapped, no place to go. Went to a holiday party a couple of months ago and had the same experience. I ended up handing out business cards because people asked for them. On both occasions I would have been much happier enjoying myself instead of talking shop.

  22. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    March 3, 2009 at 6:32 pm

    I shut people up now – when they start talking shopt at a party, I simply tell them that I’m off the clock….to call me during business hours 😉

  23. Richard Hughes

    March 11, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Hi Ines

    I too have described myself as an “Un Realtor” for several years but choose to emphasize a down to earth no hype style than slang REALTORS per se.

    After 17 years of making a living-doing it my way I confess that I love the business. I rely on word of mouth and referrals chosing to do very little advertising.

    To me it is like Golf, I love the game but am not wild about the culture.

    Onward

  24. ines

    March 11, 2009 at 7:14 pm

    Real Estate is

    like Golf, I love the game but am not wild about the culture

    Classic Richard – thanks! 🙂

  25. Thomas Johnson

    May 19, 2009 at 8:56 am

    Wow! This post had stayed alive for 90 days!

  26. Ines Hegedus-Garcia

    May 19, 2009 at 11:58 am

    …and counting 🙂

  27. loftninja

    January 9, 2010 at 10:28 pm

    allow me to please inject a little bit of insight into this conversation. Just because an individual (let’s just say “a realtor” decides to refer to themselves as an “Unrealtor” does not necessarily always mean that their referring to their character as such solely because they have a disgust for REALTORS…quite the opposite is the case, at least in my experience. I will give you three examples. 1)An “unrealtor” can be meant to describe some one who might see themselves as “not just a realtor”-perhaps they have extensive knowledge and certifications in fields related to construction, inspections, architecture or the like and prefer that their client base know that when they come to them, they are not just getting the advice of a realtor, but as a person with a far more diverse background and therefore a more thorough understanding of the subject matter.
    2) An unrealtor may also be a individual who doesn’t operate like the quintessential realtor (which you describe above)-not because they feel that it carries negative connotations (not all people hate realtors, btw) but because they have an unorthodox method for reaching, obtaining and communicating with the public in an “UNreal” way….or rather a way which most people are unaccustomed.
    3) Finally there are always those people who get caught up on words. It could the case (and at most times is) that someone who brands themselves as an “unrealtor” just happens to be clever enough to separate himself or herself from their competition with a simple play on words-thus putting the public on notice of the fact that “This Realtor” actually has a sense of humor or would like the world to know that they are not your average joe-they are a character which can be communicated with in a light-hearted fashion. This doesn’t make them any less serious when it comes to business-nor does it indicate that they are embarrassed of anything. They just like being who they are. 9 times out of 10, customers appreciate dealing with someone who has enough confidence in themselves to step outside the box that historically the world of non-realtors seems to have boxed them into.
    If you are a cheat, a liar and/or a douchebag, it doesn’t matter what your profession is, people will most likely avoid you. Peoples intentions for doing what they do cannot be (and should not be ) generalized as the subjectivity in peoples motives are ALWAYS unique and only a person with complete lack of creativity would ever attempt to objectify such a thing (as another persons motives).
    In my opinion, an Unrealtor is a person who has found a way to think outside the box, from within the box.

  28. ines

    January 9, 2010 at 10:58 pm

    Loft Ninja – a post on its own – right on!

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