As a Real Estate Agent, Should I Be Apolitical?

Real Estate Agent with ACME Real Estate

Facebook is a funny thing. It can bring out people's sensitivities like no other social media. For some reason, that status update can really get personal.

Now, my mother never told me not to discuss politics and religion (though she probably should have) and anyone that knows me, knows that I have strong opinions no matter which way they sway, and usually am not afraid to share.

Should that change now that I'm a Realtor?

As professionals, some topics are obviously off limits. But frequently when riding in the car with a client (who may now also be on my Facebook page), topics arise which bring out political perspectives. I am a rational person, not an ideologue, but I am sometimes torn between saying how I really feel and how I'm "supposed" to feel based on the client's expectations.

Agents with whom I have worked for and with have demonstrated to me that they do not, shall we say, actually believe the sentiments they dish. Much is for show. And when you get right down to it, keeping clients happy is more important than being truly YOURSELF.

Is it wrong for me to feel that I'm entitled to having it all--a personality, a profession AND an art?

My husband reminds me that one of the things that happened during the communist regime in the USSR was that everyone knew what was "really going on" but there was a universal, enforced homogeneity of acceptance of the OTHER reality, the one that masked the truth. People were afraid to have an individual voice.

Americans talk a good game, but in my opinion, not many people I've met can walk away from a conversation with someone who vehemently opposes their positions and still like them, appreciate them, or want to do business with them. It is something I strive for.

I want my clients to know I'm a real person. I want to know them as real people and treat them as such.

And frankly, I feel blessed to have been born an American, and I think we all ought to exercise our independent thought more frequently. And with regards to FB, perhaps we should not be afraid to say what we think, and have the conversation.

Posted by
Courtney Poulos, Realtor, GREEN, EcoBroker Certified | 323.919.0375 direct | DRE 01882678

John Walters
Frank Rubi Real Estate - Slidell, LA
Licensed in Louisiana

Courtney speak your mind if you want.  I have spoken mine in this site and don't really care if I offend any one.  I don't know your political leanings but I for one feel we have a President who really does not like this country as it is.

My wife is from Cuba and she can tell you what it's like to live under communism.

Sep 01, 2010 04:39 PM
Don Wixom
RE/MAX Executives Nampa, ID - Nampa, ID
"Looking out for your next move..."tm

Courtney, I sure believe that we should stand for what we believe, however, I also know the truth in scripture, "...cast not your pearls before swine..."

So, I think it depends on whether the discussion is a proper platform to make a difference or if it's just an argument or debate.

I also believe we should respect other's beliefs, because they have a right to them, just as we do.

Great post! Thanks for the provoking thoughts!

Sep 01, 2010 04:41 PM
Angela Penkin
RE/MAX Plus - Rochester, NY

That is a tough one for sure. I try very hard when I am with my clients to keep conversations away from politics and religion. Honestly, I am such a poor judge of peoples ethnic origin based on their looks, or name, or anything like that even when I know someone's country of origin, who knows what religion they might be? I talk about my kids, football, who they know that I might know, etc.

I think it is OK to have discussions like this with your friends - my BFF real estate friend and I have very opposite opinions, but I think she is winning me over  - - but clients are not necessarily friends. I think that they care that you are going to be loyal and trustworthy and treat them with respect. Do you really want to know that your clients hate a particular group or idea?

I don't think Facebook is the place for that - it's like standing in a parking lot screaming obscenities or racial slurs - I was subjected to that 2 weeks ago when a guy on a cell phone was standing in the grocery store parking lot screaming about someone. I was really offended that he didn't care that I was standing right there, except on Facebook about 20,000 people will know about what you think in like 4 minutes.

Join an action committee or a politcal campaign, something like that. My 2 cents, which is what it's worth!

Sep 01, 2010 04:50 PM
Chris and Maria Jeantet
Shasta Living Real Estate - Redding, CA
Top Realtors in Redding CA

Well said Courtney, I appreciate your transparency. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you wanting to have all three things:

1) Personality

2) Profession

3) Art

Our FB profile tells people who we are and what we're about so there's no surprises whent they meet us in person.

Sep 01, 2010 04:52 PM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I agree that you should be yourself....however, you do need to be careful sometimes in considering who might be reading both your blog and your Facebook status and comments.  If you want to be yourself, that is great, just accept that by having your set of beliefs, you will eliminate some of the possible client base that you would have by staying neutral.  But then, if you want like minded people, then share what your feelings are, and you will have a strong following!  Either way, I think that it is most important for you to not feel like you were cheated out of being who you really are and your clients deserve to see you as a real person.  Good luck!

Sep 01, 2010 05:20 PM
Eileen Liles
970-216-0530 - Cedaredge, CO
Macht-Liles Real Estate Group - Cedaredge, CO

I guess it really goes two ways.  Either they will identify with you and want to work with a  like-minded person - or they will know you are not "in their camp".  Maybe we need to look at it from our own perspective - do we really want to spend time driving people around and being nice to someone while biting our tongue bloody....  I will say that I think twice before I post anything, anywhere. 

Sep 01, 2010 05:24 PM
Wade Kawahara
Dominion Real Estate Partners, LLC - Phoenix, AZ

Courtney, I really try hard to remain neutral and try not to share my opinions except if they are real estate related.  That way I don't clash with my clients.

Sep 01, 2010 05:55 PM
Don Spera
CR Property Group, LLC - East York, PA
Serving York and Adams County, PA

If I am asked a direct questions and it does not jeopardize my license, I agree on being a straight shooter with no punches pulled.  I am not going to put on a front that people can easily read through.

Sep 02, 2010 01:06 AM
J. Philip Faranda
Howard Hanna Rand Realty - Yorktown Heights, NY
Associate Broker / Office Manager

I have found that talking politics is never a win. The best you'll do is not lose. Or you'll lose. But you'll never win. Therefore, a break even or lose outcome in the best case scenario would have me avoid it. 

Sep 02, 2010 07:13 AM