Are Realtors the Rodney Dangerfield of the Business World? What's Your Theory?

Real Estate Agent with Helping people in transition 210155

Are Realtors the Rodney Dangerfield

of the business world?


The other day I took one of my heavy hitter buyers out to look at some homes. They’re looking for a home in the $600-$750,000 price range in Cary and Apex, North Carolina.

Now I don’t know about your market, but here in the Cary/ Apex area, that buys quite a bit of home. These folks are very serious, very qualified, and looking to be in before the year’s end. Naturally I’m excited to finish off the year with a sale of this magnitude.

We're looking at some nice homes!

We look at a few homes on Saturday, and then a few more on Sunday. But none of them had the “Wow” factor that they were seeking. They’re very particular buyers and they realize that there is no such thing as a perfect home. But, for that kind of money, they should, at a minimum, be wowed to some extent.

Now, just to make it very clear, I love these people. We have a great time going out together. We laugh, we get serious, and we have a fun time. We just haven’t found that just right home yet.

So the search goes on…

The search goes on!

But the point of this post reflects on something they said to me during the day.

After admitting that they were nuts and were probably going to make me crazy in the process, they said,

I could never do what you do for a living”.

And they’re right! Most people can’t do what we do for a living. It’s not an easy job, and it seems that more and more along the way, my buyers come to realize this. They see how hard we work. They see how difficult it is to find the homes that meet their criteria, schedule the appointments, map out the day, only to have to re-adjust everything when a seller calls to cancel the showing.

They see that you can’t buy a home on the internet. The pictures look great, but when we arrive, there are power lines running through the backyard or there is some other deal killing encumbrance that couldn’t be discovered from the MLS listing sheet.

They also see that our day does not begin at 9AM and end at 5PM with an hour in the middle for lunch. They see that we pay for all our own business expenses and are only compensated if we actually make it to the closing table.

Now don’t get me wrong here. I am NOT complaining, I’m curious. I love most of my clients. We end up maintaining friendships. We end up socializing, going to each other’s homes and, well, just being friends!

But, to finally get to the real point of my post today, why is it that we, as Realtors, don’t get the level of respect that some other professions get, especially since more and more of them keep saying to me…

I could never do what you do for a living.”

I have my theories. I even know some solid reasons why this is an issue. But I'd love to hear from you, my dear readers, why are Realtors sometimes treated like the Rodney Dangerfield's of the business world?


By the way, if you've not seen the ActiveRain video of the day, this one sheds some light on one of my theories...

This Guy Is Not a Good Realtor!



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About The Author

Craig Rutman is a North Carolina Residential Real Estate Specialist that can assist you with the purchase and/or sale of real estate in the Raleigh - Cary – Apex metro areas; or any place else in the country by connecting you with a relocation professional in your destination of choice.

To find all available homes for sale in the Triangle area of North Carolina, please visit

Call me TODAY at 919-349-9530

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  1. Dana Devine 10/27/2009 06:33 AM
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Sandy McAlpine
Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC

Wow, I have totally been there and thought those thoughts and had people tell me the exact same thing. Deja Vu!

Oct 27, 2009 06:09 AM #44
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Gene - I might live without the respect for Rodney's money too!

Steve - The sad part of it all is that it's not a game.

Pacita - You totally nailed it with this comment, "For every client we help, it's an opportunity to change the perception and image for the better."

Chrystina - I love it too. The only thing I would even consider changing would be the level of respect.

Sandy - Like Yogi Berra once said, "It's like deja vu all over again!"

Oct 27, 2009 07:21 AM #45
Jeffery Griffin
Jeff Griffin LLC - Wailuku, HI
Broker Owner

that video is great Aloha

Oct 27, 2009 07:38 AM #46
Martin Kalisker
Greater Boston Association of REALTORS - Boston, MA
Professional Standards & Legal Assistant
It's always nice to hear that you are appreciated, but it could also be a cry for help! They are getting worn out, and so should you! Maybe it's time to sit down with them and let them know that you won't be previewing other properties together until they clearly define what it is that they are looking for. Let them go to some open houses together. Hold them to a buyer's agency agreement with a retainer fee to pay for your gas. They'll get "clued in" quickly! And you're right - they wouldn't waste a doctor's time, or the auto mechanic's, so why should they waste yours. I can't remember the blog post, but recently someone wrote about "if you want to treat me like a prostitute, then I'm going to charge you like one." Same concept.
Oct 27, 2009 08:48 AM #47
Kim Southern- "Sold" with Southern Hospitality
Century 21 In the Mountains - Ellijay, GA
Greetings from the North Georgia Mountains!

No...they COULDN'T do what we do for a living. To be succesful in this business today takes a certain kind of person -- one who is smart, self-motivated, creative, has a good personality; one who is adaptable, detail-oriented, constantly learning and improving themselves. There aren't a whole lot of folks out there who are up to our task. That's why we good ones will always survive -- if not thrive -- during tough times like these, and will always outlast the 'also-rans' that think this business is easy.

I believe that those of us who prevail now will bring a renewed respect for our profession.

Thanks for another Craig-tastic post!!!   

Oct 27, 2009 11:42 AM #48
John Rakoci
Eagle Realty - North Myrtle Beach, SC
North Myrtle Beach Coastal Carolinas
We are our own worst enemy much of the time. It takes so little to get a license we do not always get hard workers. Many BICs will put any warm body with a license - even a tainted one- on the rolls looking for quantity not quality. It is a rare market that requires a suit and tie and in no market is shorts & sandals acceptable. We must be avalable at hours beyond 5PM but does not mean we are at anyone's beck & call. A clean vehicle helps too. Part-timers have become a large percentage of our numbers which is hurting our clients and reputation.
Oct 27, 2009 02:03 PM #49
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

Great video. Most people like the certainty of a regular paycheck. People enter this profession thinking the money just rolls in. Surprise! It can be a long time between checks.

Oct 27, 2009 03:24 PM #50
Jirius Isaac
Isaac Real Estate &TriStar Mortgage - Kenmore, WA
Real Estate & loans in Kenmore, WA

Well, great post and it looks like aomost everyone is in agreement, myself included.

Oct 27, 2009 04:20 PM #51
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

Few theories. 

1)  Not sure of the NAR statistics off the top of my head but 80% enter this profession with no sales experience.  It's a sales job people.  Not the sterotype used car or door to door guys, but professional salespeople.  Asking the right questions? Follow up?  Lumpy earnings etc.

2)  What is the attrition rate in this industy?  It's unreal it's almost as high as telemarketing sweatshops.  With the constant turnover the majority of our industry isin't really qualified.

3)  When the current financial crisis hit in Sept. 07.  My wife and I started to look to buy a home we started with new consturction, then we ventured to REO's looking for a deal, after not finding anything we loved we looked into land to custom build.  Out of the 100 Real estate agents we met in our journey.  Only 10 were good.  Only 3 were great.  At least 50 of them I wouldn't let dogsit.

I decided to enter this profession because I saw a field filled with bad agents combinded with the opportunity to make millions on the investing side.

Oct 27, 2009 04:51 PM #52
Randy Hooker
Dreamcatcher Realty / Greater Phoenix Area - Gilbert, AZ
Gilbert, Chandler, Mesa, Queen Creek

Craig, this should have been a Featured post. Awesome insight.  Awesome post.  Keep up the good work!

Oct 27, 2009 06:47 PM #53
DeeDee Riley
Lyon Real Estate - El Dorado Hills CA - El Dorado Hills, CA
Realtor - El Dorado Hills & the Surrounding Areas
Craig, I think alot of people think it would be fun to show people houses all day. They don't see all that goes on behind the scenes and what it takes to even make that part happen, let alone getting an offer accepted and it get through closing. It is great when you hear those words, "I couldn't do what you do", and know it is recognized. Thanks for your post!
Oct 27, 2009 07:13 PM #54
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Jeffery - And Aloha to you too my friend!

Martin - Martin, I appreciate the comments. But these people are not worn out crying for help. They're energized and ready to find the right home. I'm not worn out either. They are great folks, I love working with them and we have a great time each and every time we meet. We've even gone out socially. My point of this post was to bring up a line I hear all too often and to see what other Rainers had to say about it.

Kim - Great points Kim! And than you for another Kim-tastic comment!

John - I agree that some firms are like puppy mills. They just hire anyone. And, yes, sometimes we are our own worst enemy. I do not agree however that a suit and tie is required. I never wear one and would never even consider one when showing homes. The way I dress, usually khakis and a polo shirt, allows me to get in the crawl space or attic if a client wants to "dig" deeper into a home they're interested in.Something I would never do in a suit and tie. Since all Real Estate is local, I'm quite certain in some areas shorts and sandals is acceptable too! Just ask some of our Hawaiian Rainers.


Oct 28, 2009 12:06 AM #55
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Wayne - Surprise! The money doesn't just roll in! Oh, and those clients...where do they come from? Great comment Wayne!

Jirius - Thank you Jirius! And thank you for stopping on by and taking the time to comment. Come back soon!

Mike - With regards to you bullet point #3, it's the old 80/20 rule. It's the same in nearly every industry. Only you put it at 90/10. Those numbers speak volumes.

Randy - Thank you Randy! I knew this post was going to generate some respone. I just didn't know how much. Feel free to mark it as a feature if you like!!!

Dee Dee - You are so right Dee Dee. It's all the behind the scenes work that most people never even know about. But to hear "I could never do what you do" is certainly validation for a hard day's work and a job well done.

Oct 28, 2009 12:13 AM #56
Mark Watterson
Salt Lake City, UT
Utah Real Estate
The barriers to entry to become a real estate agent are much too low. Our state has raised the requirements but they are still not sufficient.
Oct 28, 2009 12:48 AM #57
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Mark - Our state has made it much harder to get a license as well. But I still feel there's a lot of work to be done to ensure that only the best of the best are representing clients in a purchase of such magnitude.

Oct 28, 2009 12:58 AM #58
Caren Wallace
Premier Property Group LLC - Tualatin, OR
Portland Caren Real Estate

Craig, this post is a good example of how hard we work and a reminder that many clients appreciate how hard we work for them and give us respect!

Having met you in person recently, I am not surprised that you make fast friends of your are truly a sincere and funny gentleman!

I am also glad that 99% of Realtors are not like that character in the last video!!

Oct 28, 2009 01:59 AM #59
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Your whole life is one big rim shot!  I was just told that from my last buyer that purchased! I think that we have to be flexible, change direction on a dime, think quick, and be entertaining in the process.  I try and make the thing as funny & painless as possible with funny antedotes. 

I think if we give respect, we get it in return.

Oct 28, 2009 04:37 AM #60
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Caren - Caren, having met you in person recently, all I can say is thank you for Folks, Caren and I have spoken on the phone a number of times and recently got the opportunity to meet. In the 2 short hours we spent together, she was completely engaging, funny, sweet as can be and a person with a high "get it" factor. If you are ever in need of a Realtor/ Friend in the Akron Ohio region, please call my friend Caren Wallace.

Lyn - I love that line! And I subscribe to your philosophy too. We need to be all those things you mentioned AND have fun while doing it. One of my theories in life is, "If it's not fun, it's not worth it!"

Oct 28, 2009 08:46 AM #61
Carrie Sampron
Home Smart Realty Group - Highlands Ranch, CO
ABR SFR & Kathy Sampron (303) 931-3629 Highlands R

I can't count how many people I've met who hear I'm a Realtor and say, "Oh, I would make a great Realtor." or "I've been thinking about becoming a Realtor."  Everyone thinks it's easy - if only they knew!

Oct 28, 2009 10:05 AM #62
Craig Rutman
Helping people in transition - Cary, NC
Raleigh, Cary, Apex area Realtor

Carrie and Kathy - If only they knew! If only they knew!

Oct 28, 2009 10:13 AM #63
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