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Want My Respect? Earn It.


In real estate, as in any other profession and life in general, respect has to be earned. IMHO, It’s not something I should give you “just because”. You have to demonstrate through actions as well as words that you deserve respect on a professional (and personal) level. Perhaps some agents agree with me, but it seems some agents do not.

Why do I say that some agent don’t agree?

Because here are some of the things I hear come out of agents mouths thinking it will earn my respect (or fear) yet, will never do so:

  • “I’ve been in the business for ______ “ (I don’t care-there are plenty of crappy, sleazy people that have been in their respective profession for 10, 15, 20+ years too.)
  • “I got in the business before you were born” (So you’re at least 50-happy birthday!)
  • “My son is your age” (So you have a son-congrats.)
  • “I’ve never heard of your brokerage firm. Is it new and did you just start in real estate?” (So you don’t pay attention to your competitors and don’t do any research before you comment.)
  • “I’ve been on ___ committees and I know all rules and regulations!” (Really? Then why did you just violate the COE with a comment in your listing remarks on the MLS?)
  • “I’m familiar with short-sales and foreclosures because I’ve been in the business for ____ years” (Then why are you claiming that the short-sale process is complete and all you need is the ratified contract when your seller hasn’t even written a hardship letter to the bank yet and you don’t know if there’s a secod trust or not?)
  • “You must accept a lower commission than advertised if the bank counters with a lower commission-I know the MRIS rules and regulations” (You don’t say… Check out Article X, Sec 2 of the MRIS rules/regulations. And grow some cahunas and say “no” to the bank when they ask you to do something like that-you are worth your commission, aren’t you?)

How do you earn my respect?

By demonstrating that you deserve respect by your words…and actions. Here’s a sample list:

  • Know what you’re talking about
  • Negotiate well
  • Follow through with what you say
  • Be honest with me
  • Act ethically and morally
  • Ask for help if you need it
  • Tell me I’m wrong when I am. But make it constructive criticism, not badgering
  • Rather than leaving my client and I in the dark, give me information that will help me plead your case to my client and calm then down
  • If you haven’t called me within the last 2 weeks, don’t be pissed off if I call you to touch base regarding my client’s offer on your short-sale listing (I’m not calling you every other day)
  • (And don’t use any of the lines in the previous part of this post)

You won’t earn respect through a lack of manners or a huge ego. If you have manners and your ego isn’t the size of Texas, then you’re probably already earning the respect of those around you. As for the others who replaced their maners with their ego, all they will do is alienate themselves from everyone around them (except for those just like them which is not a pleasant thought).

How do you earn respect?

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Written By

Danilo Bogdanovic is a Real Estate Consultant/REALTOR(R) in Northern Virginia and author/owner of and Danilo serves on various committees with the Dulles Area Association of REALTORS(R) and the Virginia Association of REALTORS(R).



  1. Matt Wilkins

    September 17, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Well done. I do think you can strike a balance between working in the best interest of your clients and cooperating with the opposing side to achieve the goal. The biggest thing is to keep your cool and don’t let what other people say (true or not) phase you.

  2. Jay Thompson

    September 17, 2008 at 3:56 pm

    Hear that? It’s thunderous applause from Phoenix….

    “How do you earn respect?”
    By providing superior customer service in all aspects of what we do. That clearly falls mostly to the client side, but in many ways everyone else involved in a real estate transaction — including the agent on the other side — are “customers”.

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    September 17, 2008 at 4:01 pm

    Agent Comment: “I’ve been doing it this way for 25 years!”
    My Response: “The fact that you’ve been screwing it up 25 years, doesn’t make you right TODAY!”

    The agent’s reliance on their years of experience is startling to me. Agents who claim their number of years as a basis for their superioty, as opposed to their abilty to learn and adapt to an ever changing industry does not impress me. Yes, we all learn things as we go along, we gain wisdom and foundations that you can get with experience, however reliance on past experiences WITHOUT situational awareness and looking forward to learning what the industry CAN and SHOULD be are liabilities to themselves, their brokers and their clients.

    Don’t misunderstand…. I think we should have a healthy appreciation for someone how has survived this industry and be open to what we can learn from them. They in turn should have learned after the first year that there is not one single super-agent who knows everything….

  4. Matthew Rathbun

    September 17, 2008 at 4:04 pm

    BTW: I also think it’s important to understand the difference of “respect” and being “professional.” I don’t expect anyone to respect me until I can prove I’ve earned it, however I do expect professional courtsey and apprioprate interaction, until you’ve figured out that I am really am stupid 🙂

  5. Natalie Langford

    September 17, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    When you think of it, earning your respect isn’t that tough – it’s just a matter of doing the right thing. But it’s so EASY not to do the right thing!

    When @bkmcae wrote: “…your latest AG post is un-freakin-believeably good. nice work. *clapping*…”, I had to check this post out. If plagiarism were a good thing, I’d copy this word for word and post it on my own blog. (but plagiarism is bad…very bad)

  6. Danilo Bogdanovic

    September 17, 2008 at 10:36 pm

    Matt – I stay cool most of the time and never lose my poker face around those types of people. But once in a while I have to vent (thank goodness for AG)

    Jay – Thank you! And well said.

    Matthew – Yes, there’s definitely a distinction between the two. I just thought that being professional was a given (but then I quicly remembered that it’s not always the case).

    Natalie – In the long run, doing the right thing always ends up to be the easier thing. Btw…I pay @bkmcae well 😉

  7. Daniel Bates

    September 18, 2008 at 4:18 am

    I’d love it if all every agent picked out of this was “act ethically and morally”. I’m so tired of other agents who claim to be ethical and the first time they’re in a dilemma they choose to run to the dark side. I also like the idea of asking for help when you need, which goes along with trying to help clients when you’re over your head and don’t know a thing about the area you’re in.

  8. Matthew Rathbun

    September 18, 2008 at 5:07 am

    D, I think YOU’RE professional, I just think there are several other agents who aren’t…

    Daniel: It’s been my experience (I’ve worked with professional standards and risk management for several years, now) that unethical behavior is almost always situational. It’s almost always a good person making a bad decision “in the heat of the moment”. Those people get complaints. Don’t misunderstand, I think bad decisions should hold consequence.

    However, the truly nefarious ones; the ones who intentionally go out to hurt people are much craftier and plan it out in such a was as to be less culpable. Those are the people who I am most concerned about. Thank goodness they are the minority…

  9. Thomas Johnson

    September 18, 2008 at 7:49 am

    “You must accept a lower commission than advertised if the bank counters with a lower commission-I know the MRIS rules and regulations”

    We have been collecting full cooperation after the deal has closed from the listing broker. All commissions offered in MLS are unconditional. It is a slam dunk to appeal this before the MLS committee.

  10. ines

    September 18, 2008 at 8:22 am

    More applause from Miami! and a woot woot!

    Would love to close a deal with you….it would be a walk in the park – even if confronted with mammoth obstacles

  11. Claude Labbe

    October 10, 2008 at 6:15 pm

    “act ethically and honestly”, also includes certain standards of respect not only for me, but for my client, as well as your own (other agent’s) client.

    When I see the other agent treat either client in a way that causes concern, my own radar starts trying to see if there are other issues that are being covered up. Being professional includes all other parties & players & vendors to the transaction, not just “me” who may hold the key to the sale at the moment.

  12. Houstonblogger

    December 29, 2009 at 8:27 am

    Would it be inappropriate for me to announce my love for you right here, right now? I swear to God, if I hear “I’ve been in the business blah, blah, blah….”, one more time, I will bitch-slap someone. Sorry for the apparent pent up anger on this, but I get this daily. Not only from across the table in a contract I am negotiating, but in my own office, from people whom I feel I could school after a mere two years in the industry. Please note, I do not think I am superior in any way. I just don’t appreciate those who do and have yet to prove to me why they are.

    If you’ve been in the business for such a damn long time, then perhaps you need a refresher course on rules, regulations, laws, ethics, practice and plain common courtesy. Just sayin’.

  13. Janie Coffey

    December 29, 2009 at 8:32 am

    hahaha, my business partner and I, like you, are younger and own our own small boutique brokerage and hear lots of those comments, my most favorite was an aging female agent said to my 6′ tall blond business partner, Shelly, “I have jeans older than you”, to which Shelly cooly replied “Well, isn’t that unfortunate?” and calmly walked off, leaving the female agent’s jaw on the ground!

    • Houstonblogger

      December 29, 2009 at 8:35 am

      I love Shelly.

      • Janie Coffey

        December 29, 2009 at 8:39 am

        she is English and has this dry hard-a$$ sense of wit that you do not want to mess around with. I am pushing her to let me make Shelly.TV with her razor sharp sarcastic view of Real Estate. I’ll let you know if she concedes, it would be rolling on the ground hilarious..

  14. Houstonblogger

    December 29, 2009 at 8:43 am

    Sounds great! Keep me posted. I also work for a small boutique firm! Love it, love it, love it!

  15. Karen Cloke Rodriguez

    January 7, 2010 at 6:35 pm

    Oh, did I cringe when I saw the first line ” I’ve been in the business for____ years!” I had a very unprofessional agent say that to me and I said, “No ma’am. You have been in the real estate business ONE year. And unfortunately, you been repeating it for the last 14.”

  16. Danilo Bogdanovic

    January 7, 2010 at 7:00 pm

    Karen – That gets the “Best Response Ever” award!

  17. Patrick Flynn

    July 13, 2010 at 10:36 am

    Having the luxury of Instructing many agents from “outside” my own firm, I can tell you there are a great deal of ‘self-important’ folks in our industry that feel time in the business equals knowledge…nothing could be further from the truth. Your comments and points are awesome and I appreciate your stance on this post! Great job!

  18. Dunes

    July 13, 2010 at 11:13 am


    I think it’s been over a year now since I told ya at Trulia that it was a Breath of Fresh air to hear from someone who was obviously a True RE Professional & someone the RE Industry should be glad had chosen RE as a career..

    Ya been provin me right ever since….Thanks

    Now if this follows the pattern at Trulia every Agent with a license will show up and post how they are Honest and agree with you, then provide their Contact info ; )

    Thanks again for taking the time to share here..AG is better for it IMHO

  19. Danilo Bogdanovic

    July 14, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Thank you Patrick and Dunes!

  20. Greg Lyles

    September 6, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    I agree wholeheartedly. There are agents in the Atlanta market who’ve been around forever and get tons of business and know very, very little about real estate. So, how do y’all (notice that Southernism?) compete with people like that?

    We’ve all been schooled that we don’t knock our competition. But it has gotten to the point these people will say ANYTHING because nobody challenges them on it. Like one agent who claims $35 million in sales, yet did only about $2.5 million (the “team” did the other $32.5 million, but there’s no disclosure of that!). This same agent once asked me for a huge list of builder contacts because the developer of several lots came into the office and wanted to know what the agent had done to market his lots. He was going to take my list and tell him he had contacted everyone on it – when, in fact, he hadn’t done anything more than put a sign out and put the lots into the MLS.

    Or how about a broker who gives agents one chart this week saying what a good time it is to sell, and another chart the next week extolling the need for a price reduction! When I challenged them on this – and brought to their attention that I knew it wasn’t just our submarket, but the entire Metro Atlanta region, I was asked, “Can we count on you to be a team player?”. Well, no, you can’t. Not if it means misrepresenting the numbers to my clients so you can pay for your fancy offices and advertising.

    Or, and I promise this is the last example, the multitude of “teams” that claim they are the leader in this, or the best at that, but when you look at the actual performance of their team members it is abyssmal. But the public doesn’t know that. They take these people at their word.

    These are examples from agents at two of the most respected firms in our market. So, how do you compete with that if you can’t call them out for it?

    Y’alls thoughts?

  21. Anthony Rueda

    September 8, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Very nice post, I can honestly say I agree with everything that was written in this post. It’s so nice to work with an agent who is professional, honest, does what he says, and doesn’t disappear when a problem pops up.

  22. Rob McCance

    September 10, 2010 at 11:13 am


    Love it!!

    Great post.

    Just to add – I find that when you try to correct one of these know-it-alls they get very defensive very quickly.

    I recently had to explain to a very cocky agent that her lack of communication and our perceived personality incompatabilities have nothing to do with this deal.

    I told her:

    “I’m representing a buyer attempting to buy a home from your seller. If you let our personalities get in the way of this transaction, then you can add that to the list of other regulations you have already violated as well..”

    That didn’t have much effect either. Seems as they get more “experienced” the worse they get with slushing through all the strict rigid ways these transactions are supposed to be handled.

    So, the “I’ve been a realtor for 25 years” argument is actually one of the worst defenses they can deliver.

    babbling now, bye bye.

  23. Sheila Rasak

    September 17, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    Trying to correct another Realtor is like trying to get them to grow up. I prefer to be responsible for my side of the street and allow the other to be their lovely selves. If there’s a clear violation of ethical duties, it merely gets reported and I move on with my job.

  24. Cindy Marchant

    October 6, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    I’ve had clients tell me from time to time when we start looking at houses or when we start the listing process how pleased they are with me or how great it was of me to do “x”; my response is always the same…I am hoping that compliment will be said at the closing table. At this point I am just doing my job…but by the time we get to the closing table I hope I have had the opportunity to “exceed your expectations”.
    Cindy in Indy

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