Honour and Real Estate: Like peanut butter and chocolate?

Real Estate Sales Representative with Immeubles Deakin Realty

I've always been proud of what I did for a living.  I was a criminologist for 18 years, and though I sometimes got flak for working for the federal government, people usually had the impression that what I was doing was honourable, that it would help make our world a wee bit safer. 

When I stayed home for 5 years to raise my two sons, that too was honourable.

When I left criminology and started my Montreal home staging business, that was at least interesting and gutsy.  I thought it was honourable too - helping homeowners get the most from their investment, and helping buyers see the true potential in a property.

Man with expression of suspicionAnd then I became a Montreal real estate agent.  And something changed.  Now, when I tell people what I do for a living, I usually get one of three reactions:

  1. Suspicion.  I see it in their eyes and in their body language (it's the criminologist in me).  They want to get away from me as quickly as they can politely do so, and they certainly don't want to divulge any personal information for fear that I'm going to add them to my "contact" list and never let them go.
  2. Pity.  I experienced this recently on a trip to Los Angeles.  Without fail, every person who heard I was a real estate agent looked at me with pity.  "Oh, poor you. " I was not prepared for this.  And then when I told them that here in Montreal, we haven't had the crazy down market seen in so many U.S. cities, they think I'm also a spin doctor (see point above on suspicion).
  3. Boredom.  Either they used to be a real estate agent themselves, or half their neighbours, friends and family members are or were.  Yawn.

Young karate boy bowingI help people sell their home.  Their HOME. 

And I help people find the house that will become their next home.   

Home: The place where they will find peace, raise their family, seek sanctuary, create memories, gather with loved ones, find comfort, heal from wounds and mould themselves into the powerful creatures we all are meant to be. 

There's honour in that, isn't there?  There's gotta be.



Originally published at www.readysetsold.ca/blog

Posted by




Professional home staging and professional photography: two critical factors to making sure your home looks its best, both in person and on the Internet, and neither of them cost you a penny when you list with me.


Put your best house forward. TM

Tanya Nouwens

Tanya Nouwens Inc., Montreal Real Estate Broker and Canadian Staging Professional (TM)  www.readysetsold.ca 

RE/MAX ROYAL (JORDAN) INC., www.remax-quebec.om

C. 514-919-8468    tanya@readysetsold.ca

This blog is written with my opinions. My opinions are presented with accuracy but not guarantees. Copyright Tanya Nouwens - 2015. If you want to reprint parts of this, just email me for my permission at tanya@readysetsold.ca.


Comments (17)

Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

Great post!  You are so right that the perception is that we should be pitied or blamed for the current state of the economy.  They went after the lenders, the appraisers and lastly the REALTORS that got us into this entire mess.  Good luck to you!

Dec 16, 2010 02:30 AM
Jeff Lundquist
United Country Premier Real Estate - Annandale, MN
Jeff Lundquist

What we do is definetly honorable. Most clients do appreciate and respect what we do, but when there is an ethical issue with an agent it seems to spread to all of us. Unfair, but a reality we must deal with.

Dec 16, 2010 02:40 AM
Cherise Selley
Selley Group Real Estate, LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realtor


Like any profession, the honorable ones constitute a small portion of the industry.  And from our AR connection, I think that you are incomparable to the typical Realtor.  I see honor in your willingness to be self-effacing... g

Dec 16, 2010 03:52 AM
Malcolm Johnston
Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario - Trenton, ON
Trenton Real Estate

Tanya, I get what you're saying. As Realtors, we have a terrible reputation, and sometimes I can sense a change in people's body language when I tell them that I am one. There are definitely some greedy, unethical people in this business, and they have made life difficult for your average, everyday real estate agent who simply plugs along, working hard, getting things done.

Dec 16, 2010 04:18 AM
Larry Estabrooks
Independent Real Estate Agent - Moncton, NB
100% representation means NEVER DUAL AGENCY !

Tanya, in any profession, practitioners make choices. Some choose the "high road" while some choose .... , well let's say other paths. The honour is in consistently making the right choices in one's professional practices.

Dec 16, 2010 04:45 AM
Susan Mangigian
RE/MAX Preferred - West Chester, PA
Chester & Delaware County Homes, Delaware and Ches

I feel proud that I am a Realtor. There is honor in it.  You have to change their perception, one happy client at a time!

Dec 16, 2010 10:05 AM
David Pylyp
RE/MAX Realty Specialists Inc., - Toronto, ON

A Very wise person once told me that I am in the "people's needs filling business."

I help them fix the problems in their lives.

Some agents just post a sign in the front lawn.

There is a difference


David Pylyp

Living in Toronto

Dec 16, 2010 12:01 PM
Ellen Caruso
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International Realty - Glen Head, NY

Tanya, There is Honor in whatever you do with passion, and you are passionate in your words and your actions can only be the same.

Dec 16, 2010 01:34 PM
Brian Madigan
RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto) - Toronto, ON
LL.B., Broker


You are right, there are too many agents. But, that's largely due to the ease of entry. In home staging there really is no set business model, you have to have the right flair, be creative and work on a budget to be successful.

Good luck.


Dec 17, 2010 12:08 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Immeubles Deakin Realty - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

Thank you all for taking the time to comment.  You are absolutely right, of course, honour comes in how we do what we do.  I've never been in a profession that was so openly negatively perceived before, so this has been a bit of a surprise to me.  Onward and upward, my friends, changing those perceptions one happy client at a time :)

Dec 17, 2010 12:27 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Tanya, I look at it this way for your clients, you are one multi-talented individual to help them. They should see that I think.

Blog Award

Dec 17, 2010 10:52 AM
Tanya Nouwens
Immeubles Deakin Realty - Montreal West Island, QC
Montreal Real Estate Broker & Stager

That is so sweet, Gary.  Thank you!

Dec 17, 2010 11:14 AM
Janice Ankrett
Burlington, ON
Staging Professional

Tanya, I think the reaction you are getting is the usual one for any type of sales person working on a commission. As you pointed out they have a fear of being chased or targeted.

When they need that sales person to get what they want it is a different story. Maybe you should go back to saying you are a Stager LOL.

Dec 18, 2010 08:29 AM
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Tanya, oh, I know exactly how you feel.  YEARS ago, my husband encouraged me to go into real estate and I promptly told him he was nuts.  I didn't perceive it as being anything of which I could be proud.  A few years later and exposure to some really great agents changed my mind, but it's sad we don't have a good image in the eyes of many.  With that said, I agree with those that say it can be as honorable as we make it. And that's all we can do!

Dec 19, 2010 01:08 PM
Ty Lacroix
Envelope Real Estate Brokerage Inc - London, ON

Tanya, that used to bother me at first but I know in my heart and by facts that I really help my clients, they appreciate it and I can hold my head high.


Dec 31, 2010 01:42 AM
Larry Matthews
Hants Realty Limited - Halifax, NS
Larry Matthews DAC Broker and Appraiser

All you can do is all you can do. All you can do is enough. If you are honest and you know it do not waste one ounce of energy worrying about what anyone else thinks. Be proud of who you are and what you do.

Best Regards


Jan 17, 2011 08:17 AM
Warren & Melanie McNeil
Re/Max Twin City Realty Inc, Kitchener-Waterloo ON - Kitchener, ON
Team McNeil

I receive that kind of reaction as well. I just look forward to meeting the people who respect my profession and look to me as a professional. I am also very proud to be a realtor.

Thanks for the post

Jan 26, 2011 03:51 PM