"Real Estate is a Relationship Business" - Not exactly... (A Rant)

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

We hear this all the time - heck, I say it all the time! "Real Estate is a Relationship Business" - meaning that the more people who know you and like you, the more real estate you'll sell. As opposed to the good old Numbers Game philosophy that the more people who throw away your monthly marketing postcards or ignore your newspaper advertising, the more real estate you will sell.

And of course, I believe that - at least the part about how the more people who know you and like you, the more real estate you'll sell.

But is real estate really a relationship business?

I say no.Chad

This blog was partially inspired by an episode of Million Dollar Listing (don't get me started). Okay, too late.

The three twenty-something boys young men drama queens who are the stars of the real estate reality show seem to have an unending supply of "Dear Friends" with gazillions of dollars to spend on real estate (or gazillion-dollar homes to sell). Dear, dear friends. "After all," sez Chad, "Real estate is a relationship business."


If you've ever watched the show with a critical/cynical eye, you might have noticed that these boys young men drama queens give abysmally bad counsel. Often laughably self-serving, almost always bordering on incompetent. They advise their Dear Friends to make full price offers in a declining market before the house even hits the market. They allow their sellers to dictate the price and terms of their listings, whining all the while that the seller is being unreasonable (but not knowing what else to do). They talk their buyers out of even asking for repairs at inspection because the seller has already come down on his price (again, in a recessionary market).

I don't know anything about agency law in California, but if it's anything like Colorado, these boys young men drama queens are failing in their agency obligations to their clients. Or, if not technically violating Madisonagency law, definitely doing nothing to earn their $100k+++ commissions.

Speaking of commissions, a recent episode showed Madison being dismayed when his seller client accepted a lowball offer on her $3.75M listing which resulted in - get this - a $42,000 decrease in commissions for him! Poor Madison.

So, what does this have to do with real estate and relationships?

Selling real estate is about knowing how to sell real estate. Let's say that differently. It's about knowing how to manage and facilitate the exchange of real property so that the buyer or seller who hired you is satisfied with the outcome.

Sure, building your real estate business may have everything to do with your relationships, but THAT'S NOT WHAT WE DO! Is tax preparation a relationship business? Is dentistry a relationship business? Is dog-training a relationship business?

No, we expect our tax preparers to know how to prepare taxes. We hope our dentists know how to fix cavities. We expect a dog-trainer to be a master in dog behavior. That's their business.

Our buyers and sellers have the right to expect that we know our business. Which is... how to manage and facilitate the exchange of real property. Not how to persuade our Dear Friends to provide us with easy paychecks.

Rant Over.

As promised, I'll return to my little series on pricing historic homes in urban neighborhoods... I just got distracted today.

Posted by

It's Here!


The More Fun You Have Selling Real Estate, the More Real Estate You Will Sell! 
(True Story)
Order Your Here!










Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Bob Murphy 10/28/2009 10:15 PM
  2. Karen Singbeil 10/29/2009 02:36 AM
More Referrals: Strategies & Tips on Getting More Referrals
Learn to be a Top Producing Listing Agent
Selling Soulfully
Best Business Practices
Real Estate Professionals
million dollar listing
reality tv
selling with soul
all blogs

Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Bob Murphy
Keller Williams Realty Consultants - New Albany, IN

HI Jennifer - I haven't read all the many comments you've received on this one.  But it looks like you have evoked some emotion in a lot of people.  That's a good thing.  I have to say that this time I would agree with you but it's a qualified agreement.  The qualifier is it is a relationship business if the folks you represent think you are competent to begin with.

Oct 28, 2009 10:14 PM #142
Scott Guay
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty - Ocean Pines, MD
Associate Broker. Ocean City and Ocean Pines MD


Great post.  I watched that show the other day and was ammazed on the advice they were handing out.

Your comment "Selling real estate is about knowing how to sell real estate. Let's say that differently. It's about knowing how to manage and facilitate the exchange of real property so that the buyer or seller who hired you is satisfied with the outcome." is right on the money.  Doing that will build a relationship.

Oct 28, 2009 11:27 PM #143
Mark Hall
Realty One Group Cascadia - Vancouver, WA
Homes for Sale Vancouver Washington

I would imagine that the number of leads dear friends grew significantly when they became reality TV stars. Reality TV is an oxymoron. When the cameras go on, all of the reality is thrown out the window!

Oct 29, 2009 01:10 AM #144
DeJaniera B. Little
Weichert Real Estate - Philadelphia, PA

The good thing about this show is that they do ask for the deal...

Oct 29, 2009 02:05 AM #145
Sabrina Kelley
ERA Herman Group Real Estate - Woodland Park, CO
Woodland Park Colorado Mountain Homes and Land

Hot hot hot topic. I had goggled these million dollar agents  a few nights ago and wish I had run with my rant on my blog page. I think most people and Realtors are of the opinion that these guys aren't the best representation of our profession. I am sure we will see several more blogs inspired by these goofs.

Oct 29, 2009 01:00 PM #146
Michelle Gibson
Hansen Real Estate Group Inc. - Wellington, FL

Jennifer - I've seen the show before and wonder how much is real and how much is fake. 

Oct 29, 2009 01:46 PM #147
LLoyd Nichols
Premier Florida Realty of SWFL - Fort Myers, FL
SW Florida Homes

Jennifer: I saw the show once and started to laugh. It does not have much to do with true Real Estate and some of them should try to represent their clients in a more ethical way.  I have the same concern as Michelle. It looks fake.

Oct 29, 2009 04:29 PM #148
Dick and Dixie Sells
Sells Real Estate, LLC - Trinity, FL
Realtors, Tampa Bay Florida Homes For Sale

I feel the show is an insult to all real estate professionals of any age- young or old! And if Chad flips his hair one more time..... I am going to scream!

Oct 30, 2009 10:10 PM #149
1~Judi Barrett
Integrity Real Estate Services 118 SE AVE N, Idabel, OK 74745 - Idabel, OK
BS Ed, Integrity Real Estate Services -IDABEL OK

Hi Jennifer,

I haven't seen the show and probably won't...not a tv watcher.

It sounds like it would be annoying for any legitimate agent.

Good read and enjoyed reading the comments.

Great discussion.

Oct 31, 2009 12:03 AM #150
Scott Wells
Future Home Realty - Wesley Chapel, FL

I have to say I love the show...but I think its just that a show...Scripted... I don't know the market in Cali..but I do think that if this were in context they do often fail their clients...but who knows the real context when the camara isn't running....Lots of actual negotiation and not jumping on tables might be happening...Of course that non-drama stuff isn't good for the show...lol...

Oct 31, 2009 06:49 AM #151
Bill Saunders, Realtor®
Meyers Realty - Hot Springs, AR

Hi Jennifer,

Good rant. I watched this show one time. My wife kept saying, "Your mouth has dropped open again."


Oct 31, 2009 11:36 PM #152
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

That's hilarious, Bill!

Oct 31, 2009 11:42 PM #153
Shana Haugen
Century 21 - Gold Key - Fargo, ND

LOL I was wondering if any veteran real agents watched these shows or if they burn out on the idea.

I think the show is interesting to compare markets, and interesting to see what "work" they do.  Like, ordering a catered lunch, answering the phone, and driving to Malibu.  What a terrible life for them...

I like Tatiana's show!  Again, not because I think she is fabulous, but because they showcase the day in the life of other agents.  One episode focused on how rookies were doing, where they were getting their clients from, etc. and I loved it.

Finally, I LOVE LOVE LOVE Property Virgins on HGTV.  Sandra is awesome.  She is qualified, capable, and does everything she's supposed to do.  She's a good Realtor Rolemodel.

Nov 04, 2009 03:39 AM #154
Timmy The Cat
Branch, LA
ActiveRain is a scam

Well said, Jennifer! I used to love watching Property Virgins, I still love Sandra Rinomato and bought her book as soon as it came out, she's a great role model, but the show isn't as much fun to watch anymore it just makes me want to climb inside the t.v. and talk to those virgin clients of hers. And Million Dollar Listing was never fun, just frustrating!

Nov 04, 2009 02:37 PM #155
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Kate & Shana-  I actually can't stand Sandra Rinomato - and there's a blog inside me that I'll put together one of these days explaining why. But she's way better than the silly boys at Million Dollar Listing...

Nov 04, 2009 11:23 PM #156
Ann Cordes
Century 21 Randall Morris and Associates, Waco - Waco, TX
Home Ownership is Not a Distant Dream

Jennifer, I have watched that show, and those guys are so self-centered I want to shake them. But with their poor client service, they won't get many repeat clients or referrals. But I guess they will sell enough to stay in business. But if they would change their attitude they could do better.

Nov 06, 2009 02:37 AM #157
Jon K. Judd
Keller Williams Realty - Central Delaware - Dover, DE
GRI, e-PRO, SFR, Delaware Homes

Just finished re-reading all our comments including mine...

Bottom line, these three guys seem to have had a very successful real estate career going for them, so far.

Nov 06, 2009 06:33 AM #158
Nicole Orringer
HomeTowne Realty - Clayton, NC

I watched the show one time.  The California Real Estate commission must be very slack!  If they were in NC they would have their licenses taken away.

Nov 07, 2009 10:47 PM #159
Luther Harrity - Saint John, Rothesay, Hampton, New Brunswick Real Esate
Royal LePage Atlantic/Harrity Real Estate Services - Saint John, NB

Well put. I used to watch the show, until i started to realize I was just watching a soap! Great post Jennifer.

Nov 22, 2009 10:49 PM #160
Michael Blue
Home Smart Realty West - Encinitas, CA
REALTOR - 760-889-8877, Encinitas/Carlsbad
Forward October 2013. Really has nothing to do with real estate except for the putz bully Josh Altman, he looks like a secondary cartoon character black-and-white from the 1960s who was it?
Oct 23, 2013 02:41 PM #161
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?


Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

Author of Sell with Soul
Ask me a question
Spam prevention