I'm #1......just like everyone else

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Top Properties

Have you ever opened up a newspaper (I know, seems prehistoric) and looked in the classifieds or real estate section? I suspect most of you have. Outside of all the great locations (location....location), won't last longs and other cliche sales tactics agents use you'll usually find one other thing: Charts, graphs, banners and other things exclaiming agents and brokerages as #1! Why? Because people like to work with the top professional. It's easy enough to get caught up in.

But everyone seems to be number one. It's a phenomenon that seems unexplainable, right? Unless there's a huge tie at the top, how can everyone be #1? The answers are simple. To be number one you're one of three things:

  1. REALLY the number one agent/brokerage around.
  2. Skewing numbers to show that you're number on in specific areas, market conditions, etc.
  3. Lying.

That's it. It's really simple. If you sell the most properties or most dollars in sales, you have a claim to being "top dog" (though such phrase is a little dated and very cheesy). Often times this is the same agent/brokerage (with the most transactions and dollars) and other times, a large sale or many really high or low dollar sales will skew the numbers so as two different agents/brokerages are #1. I don't worry too much about this, they can both claim it in my book.

However, the intentional skewing of statistics to show that you're number one drives me crazy. It's just a little lame. If agents/companies spent as much time working hard at their job and say, providing market data to consumers, as they do trying to connive ways to "truthfully" tell people they're #1; they'd actually be #1 without the fluff. Not much you can do about it as long as there's a full disclaimer that "statistics taken from MLS over a 9 day period where I closed a bunch of deals and didn't do anything for the 3 months before or 6 months after" or something similar. That's an obvious exaggeration, and lame as I think it is, I can actually live worry-free with those who PROPERLY identify what they're number one at with a clear, legible disclaimer. What I cannot stand is those that......LIE. I dislike liars in every aspect of everything. So don't say you're #1 if you suck. There's someone out there who is closing a house Monday (January 4th) and is readying a "I'm #1" ad/speech/listing presentation prop/etc. based on the fact that they'll have the highest volume in their area despite the fact that they're the only one.....and the likelihood that they'll lose the title mere days after and probably never regain it.

Want people to think that "REALTORS" aren't scheysters and as crooked as used-car salesmen?? STOP allowing people to open a paper and see that there's 14 #1 agents/offices right in front of them!! Hard to get respect in an industry when some of the more visible out there do not deserve it. Truth be told, I finished 2009 #8 in my immediate office market area of Coal City/ Diamond/ Braidwood (I could throw in a ton of other little towns that had no/limited sales to boost the geographic range of where I'm a top 10er....but that would make me lame as well. And I'm lame enough on my own). Would I like to sell more properties than I did? You bet. Just like if I was #1, I'd still want to sell more than I previously did. Would I advertise myself being #1 when I wasn't to help boost the possibility of selling more? Nope. It's lame. I'd much rather focus my time on serving clients and providing something other than skewed numbers or lil' white lies to the public.

So, have yourself a great new year! Sincerely, Jim Ludes "Grundy/ Will County's #1 REALTOR between February and September of 2009 under the age of 40..............wearer of shirts with sleeves slightly rolled up, husband to a little wife, Katie, and children named Gabe and Dylan, owner of a beagle, Priscilla, standing over 6 feet tall and driving around in a Cavalier or minivan (sometimes scooter)."

**Got the pooch pic from http://jaggedsmile.wordpress.com/2008/02/14/top-dog/ don't know him, but his sketches are cool and his sketches and artwork are hip.**

Also, my apologies to used car salesmen...I know you're not all scheysters- just exaggerating a sterotype.

Posted by


Jim Ludes is a REALTOR with Century 21 Coleman-Hornsby in Grundy and Will County, IL. If you have a question about real estate that he might be able to help with, email him at Jim@JimLudes.com or call/text at 815-712-7786. If you'd rather observe from afar or become friends first, check him out at:

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Comments (8)

Donna Harris
Donna Homes, powered by JPAR - TexasRealEstateMediationServices.com - Austin, TX
Realtor,Mediator,Ombudsman,Property Tax Arbitrator

But some are #1 in listing volume, #1 in sales volume, #1 in cold call marketing, #1 in driving people around, #1 in taking forever to return someone's call.... There are lots of #1's so many they should specify.

Jan 02, 2010 05:55 AM
David Tapper
Coldwell Banker - Burlingame, CA

Good stuff, Jim. I agree, there are so many number 1agents, you can't keep up with them. There are also the neighborhood specialist too.

I actually joke about this with my potential sellers when I'm at a listing presentation. I think it's best to address it. I also bring a letter from my broker letting him tell of my accomplishments instead of me bragging mysefl.

I don't think it's very classy to tell everyone how great we are.

Keep up the good work.


Jan 02, 2010 05:58 AM
Diane Rice
Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL - Lansing, IL

JIM!!!!!  Happy NEW Year!!!  It's so good to see you!  I too deplore folks bragging about their achievements... boastful and full of pride.... but WHAT does the CLIENT care about that??  They just want to buy or list a house!!! UGH!!!  Thanks for telling it like it is.... hope you will be telling more of it!  Happy NEW YEAR!!!!

Jan 02, 2010 06:00 AM
Ceci Burklow
Pride of Texas Real Estate - Austin, TX


Well written "rant" (I had a rant post of my own a couple weeks ago, it feels good doesn't it!?).

Rant or not, what you said is true. If Realtors would all stop claiming to be #1 we would all look so much more professional to the world at large and the very people we are trying to attract.  
Plus, in the void left in the precious ad space they could actually put some useful information in that buyers/sellers are looking for & can benefit from!

Hope you have a #1 2010!

Jan 02, 2010 06:02 AM
Howard and Susan Meyers
The Hudson Company Winnetka and North Shore - Winnetka, IL

Hi Jim,

   I found your blog after you posted on mine.  Thanks.  Great sense of irony here.  The next question we might want to ask is as a client, are you receiving the best service from a #1 agent or are they spending all their time farming, but not performing?  I might want to hire #2 (Avis) who "tries harder".

Jan 02, 2010 07:38 AM
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR

Hey everyone, thanks for the input and kind words! Good luck to you all in 2010 too!!! Donna killed me with "#1 in taking forever to return someone's call" :) .....and Diane, I'm trying to make a real effort to blogging consistently at Active Rain again.

Jan 02, 2010 08:24 AM
Terry Chenier
Homelife Glenayre Realty - Mission, BC


Everyone is #1 in their own mind. I work mostly on referrals, that's best.

Jan 02, 2010 04:13 PM
Ross Quintana
Real E Smarter - Spokane, WA
Real E Smarter Real Estate Coach - 509-362-1966

Hey Jim,

Yeah, If I use numbers I like to compare myself the the averages because likely they will interview average agents. I don't think you have to be number one, you do have to better than average though if you expect people to hire you.

Jan 08, 2010 04:52 AM