Didn't Your Mother Ever Tell You If You Can't Say Something Nice, Don't Say Anything At All?

Real Estate Agent with Lyon Real Estate BRE #00697006

land park agentA while back an agent in my office asked if I would be willing to spend some time with her. She asked me to explain how to do a daily real estate blog and show her what I do online. While it may seem to some that everybody is online these days, I know that they aren't. Especially older real estate agents, which tend to make up most of the population of any given real estate office. But I like to help people when I can, so I agreed to talk with this agent.

We went into the conference room and sat in front of the computer. I explained what I do and where I post my blogs. To show her why I blog, I went to Google and put in the search term "east sacramento agent." My blogs and website popped up a number of times in the first 10 results.

I expected to see amazement in the agent's eyes. But that's not what happened, and I was completely unprepared for her reaction. Her eyes flashed anger and hatred. Her lips quivered. She said in a demanding tone, "That's not fair. I've been selling homes in East Sacramento for 25 years. Why isn't my name there?"

Last night I watched an ESPN special. Now, ESPN is not a channel that I watch but I was introduced to its "30 for 30" film series by my husband. Its documentary "Unmatched" is about the friendship between pro tennis champs Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Two competitors. 80 matches. Friends. It was moving.

See, I don't hate anybody in real estate. Maybe that's easy for me to say because I'm basically a pretty easy-going person. I look at the wide variety of people who are in this business and, even if I don't particularly like another agent, I figure someday I might represent a buyer who would like to buy that agent's listing or vice versa so I try to find something to like about the person. I respect other real estate agents. I welcome competition. Maybe I'll win the listing, maybe I won't. It's OK either way.

There is an agent in my Land Park office who sells a lot of homes in Land Park. She sells more than me, although I'm not so sure about this year. I admire her. I look up to her. I hold absolutely no grudge against her. I'm pretty sure she feels the same way about me.

I often hear other agents openly bad mouthing competitors. For some, it's jealousy or rivalry. For others, it might be some kind of unjustified compensation factor because they think that by tearing somebody else down they can build themselves up. Or they might have just reason. Maybe the agent is the lying, cheating, conniving, person some in the public think we are but sooner or later that person will get what's coming. It's karma.

I feel ashamed when I hear those types of comments from my fellow agents about their competitors. I think we as agents should do a better job of supporting each other and stop stabbing each other in the back. That kind of behavior is disgraceful. Our economic times are trying enough as they are. If Evert and Navratilova can do it, so can we. You think?

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Elizabeth Weintraub is an author, home buying expert for About.com, a Land Park resident, and a veteran real estate agent who specializes in older, classic homes in Land Park, Curtis Park, Midtown and East Sacramento, as well as tract homes in Elk Grove, Natomas, Roseville and Lincoln. Weintraub is also a Sacramento Short Sale agent who lists and successfully sells short sales throughout the four-county Sacramento area with an emphasis on Elk Grove. Call Elizabeth Weintraub at 916.233.6759. Put 40 years of real estate experience to work for you. Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate. BRE License # 00697006.

The Short Sale Savior, by Elizabeth Weintraub, available with free shipping.

Photo: Unless otherwise noted in this blog, the photo is copyrighted by Big Stock Photo and used with permission.The views expressed herein are Weintraub's personal views and do not reflect the views of Lyon Real Estate. Disclaimer: If this post contains a listing, information is deemed reliable as of the date it was written. After that date, the listing may be sold, listed by another brokerage, canceled, pending or taken temporarily off the market, and the price could change without notice; it could blow up, explode or vanish. To find out the present status of any listing, please go to elizabethweintraub.com.


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Lottie Kendall 09/19/2010 03:21 AM
  2. Miriam Bernstein, CRS 09/19/2010 04:24 AM
Real Estate General Information
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Bartender, Make it a Double
elizabeth weintraub
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homes in east sacramento
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Missy Caulk
Missy Caulk TEAM - Ann Arbor, MI
Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate

Wow, that is a revealing reaction.

So I am curious did the lesson continue on blogging or end right there. All I can say is I am so glad I have been blogging for a long time.

Sep 19, 2010 12:37 PM #31
Tere Rottink
CoastalVa Realty Inc - Virginia Beach, VA

I have nothing nice to say, so I just won't comment.

Sep 19, 2010 12:54 PM #32
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Elizabeth, we should all build each other up, unfortunately pride, and envy and jealousy pop up. It is human nature.

Sep 19, 2010 12:54 PM #33
Tere Rottink
CoastalVa Realty Inc - Virginia Beach, VA

Just kidding.  I try to teach my children and live by example...  If you have nothing nice to say don't say anything.  This reminds me of someone who visited my house and saw a picture of me when I was young and said "what happened to you?"...  He tried to unstick his foot from down his throat but the damage was done.  Some times words come out of our mouths before we think what we are saying.

Sep 19, 2010 12:56 PM #34
Cece Blase
Paragon Real Estate Group - San Francisco, CA

What a fun read, and what a bizarre response from that agent! I enjoyed reading the comments. They crystallized my thoughts-- jealousy, fear, a resistance to change-- it's all on glaring display here.

Sep 19, 2010 01:18 PM #35
Kathy Kenney
Keller Williams, Princeton, NJ - Robbinsville, NJ
Realtor - Princeton & Central NJ Homes for Sale

I have to agree with Cece (#35), it's all about jealousy, fear and a resistance to change.  It's like learning a totally new language with all of the new technology that's out there.  It's difficult to learn, but not impossible.  It can be scary for someone in the business for a long time to have to learn a totally different way in order to keep up. 

Sep 19, 2010 01:55 PM #36
Barbara Altieri
RealtyQuest/Kinard Realty Group, Fairfield and New Haven County CT Real Estate - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Elizabeth -- If I were that agent, my reaction would have been amazement, exactly as you said.  Has she even asked you HOW your name appeared so many times and HOW you might be able to help her with her internet presence?  Her reaction and comment will surely leave her out in the cold eventually.  BTW, the title of your post is something I say ALL the time....and yes, I got that from my mother!

Sep 19, 2010 02:17 PM #37
Jerry Morse
The Morse Company - Janesville, WI

Good advice, especially since many of us are in some very challenging markets today.

Sep 19, 2010 04:01 PM #38
Barbara S. Duncan
RE/MAX Advantage - Searcy, AR
GRI, e-PRO, Executive Broker, Searcy AR

The agent probably didn't actually know what google was.......good blog, Elizabeth.

Sep 19, 2010 04:05 PM #39
Lana Robbins Realtor ® Licensed Real Estate Broker
Aloha Kai Real Estate - Clearwater, FL
Licensed in Florida and Washington

Hi Elizabeth. I agree. Teamwork should happen not only in individual offices but between offices and across towns. We're all in the same boat. I am fortunate that in my office while we are competitive we are a team. Unfortunately once in awhile I work with some who are extremely nasty. A few who are condescending too.

Sep 19, 2010 04:15 PM #40
Lisa Bosques
Burien, WA

I'm so glad to work in an office where agents cooperate, not compete.

I heard a story today that really made my blood boil.  One of the agents in our office was competing for a listing with an agent from the office down the street(the one where each office has security cameras).  When our agent's competitor presented his market analysis to the seller, he printed out all of the listings 'he' has sold(he's partnered up with an extremely successful agent) and he also printed out a list of our agent's listings and proceeded to bash her in front of the sellers.  Of course, the sellers were offended and picked our agent over him. I've never heard of someone doing something like that before.

Sep 19, 2010 05:09 PM #41
Claude Labbe
Real Living | At Home - Washington, DC
Realty for Your Busy Life


Teamwork works best, be it acroos the aisle, across the office, across town, or, across the ActiveRain community.

But teamwork requires 2 people,  At least when you're there, you know that's one of 2; all you've got to do is find the 2nd, and those aren't always as easy as you'd like.

But there are lots of #2's looking for a #1.

Sep 19, 2010 06:12 PM #42
David O'Doherty
Raleigh Realty Inc - Clayton, NC
Clayton NC Homes, Raleigh, NC

Interesting reaction, no idea of how Google works eh? I always try to take the high road, just yesterday I got a smart comment from an agent and I had my equally smart response typed out and I paused and removed it. We can't let our egos get in the way of a closing!

Sep 19, 2010 11:11 PM #43
Darrell Walters
W. Darrell Walters - Newnan, GA

It is interesting that this agent of twenty five years came to you for help. I would have thought with that much time in the business they would have changed with the marketplace...

Sep 20, 2010 01:44 AM #44
Mindy Sylvester
MVP Realty - Naples, FL
Naples Fl Real Estate

I am grateful for everyone who broke this rule and gave me blunt, rude, unsolicited feedback over the course of my career. I learned a lot from my critics, even those I couldn't describe honestly without cursing. Those people are part of the ecosystem, too.

Sep 20, 2010 02:39 AM #45
Joan Cox
Metro Brokers - House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Great post and is so true.    This is a great environment to learn, grow and jealousy should not be a part of this experience!

Sep 20, 2010 03:09 AM #46
John Zappia
Maine Custom Realty - Portland, ME
Maine Custom Realty

I tend to stay mum on other brokers...it will bite you back if you badmouth your colleagues...If other brokers try to engage me in a bashing session I, as politely as I can, change the subject or find an excuse to leave their presence...bad business (I know who the bad apples are...that's all that matters)

Sep 20, 2010 04:02 AM #47
Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop
RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker - Chelan, WA
A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990!


And unfortunately, this agent obviously has no concept of the amount of time and effort that went into you landing so many times on the front page of Google. I too believe in the concept of abundance…there is plenty business for everyone out there who is willing to work for it!

Sep 20, 2010 11:50 AM #48
Kathryn Maguire
GreatNorfolkHomes.com (757) 560-0881 - Chesapeake, VA
Serving Chesapeake, Norfolk, VA Beach

Elizabeth:  What a shame that the agent took that approach rather than seeing your rank as affirmation that you are doing something right.  She can learn from you.  If she has a closed mind and exclaims "That's not fair!" she is limiting her opportunities for growth.

Sep 20, 2010 11:18 PM #49
Chrysti Tovani
eXp Realty, LLC. - Sacramento, CA
Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Well, my first comment got eaten, hopefully this won't show up twice. 

2nd try....

She probably thought she was on top of her game.    It was most likely a SHOCK to find out she was on an entirely different playing field.  A lot of people don't understand the internet, they choose to ignore it.  I wonder if seeing that she was nowhere on google was an "Aha moment." Maybe she was angry with herself for dropping the ball. 

Sep 23, 2010 11:52 AM #51
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