Don’t Talk Stink About Real Estate Professionals

Managing Real Estate Broker with eXp Realty RB-19250

Our Code of Ethics had a few changes for 2012.  In the past it was a violation of the Code of Ethics for a Realtor to make false or misleading statements against a competitor.  The word competitor was changed to real estate professional in the Code of Ethics.

Here are a couple of questions that come to mind. 

1)      Who are considered real estate professionals?

2)      Shouldn’t we use that standard for everyone?

The first question is a good one.  Are the real estate professionals only those with a license?  Home inspectors in Hawaii for examples do not have licenses.  Are they real estate professionals?  The tongue in cheek question would be are those who are acting unprofessional included?

The bigger question is shouldn’t we use that standard for everyone?  Making a false or misleading statement about anyone is wrong whether our Code of Ethics says so or not.  In Hawaii we have a phrase, “No Talk Stink.”

The other day, I caught myself blurting out a negative comment about a lender, when I heard someone mention their name.  I recently had two extremely bad transactions with that lender and a few others in the past.  I kind of snapped when I heard their name.  Not a good thing, it was not one of my prouder moments.  What I said was not a violation of the Code, because nothing that came out of my mouth was false or misleading.  I regretted saying it and apologized.  I was not as we say in Hawaii “pono.”

Even though our Code of Ethics only speaks to how we talk about other real estate professionals, I believe we should never say anything false or misleading about anyone.  Do you think politicians and their campaigns should also be held to that standard?

My final thought is that the Code of Ethics is a set of minimum standards.  A professional never strives for the minimum.


Posted by



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations


Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Joe Jackson 04/14/2012 09:38 PM
  2. Jon Kolsky 04/15/2012 02:11 AM
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Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

At the same time, shouldn't you be able to advise a buyer that perhaps choosing another lender might be the best course of action?

Apr 15, 2012 05:56 AM #27
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

Bad mouthing people just puts youo into the same non-professional class as the person you are talking about

Apr 15, 2012 06:41 AM #28
Adrian Willanger
206 909-7536 - Seattle, WA
Profit from my two decades of experience

Very good point, It doesn't to much good to berate someone, just acknowledge that this wasn't a good fit and move on. 

Apr 15, 2012 06:43 AM #29
Cathy Criado
Criado Realty - San Antonio, TX
Making Real Estate Profitable

Randy, its easier said then done, but you are very right. Often what comes out of our mouth stems from what is in our heart. Maybe if we try just a bit harder to think well of people first before speaking then there'd be less negative talk.  If we actually told ourselves every morning that we will speak only kind words, we might have better results.

No matter what, if we talk bad about others it gets around, and honestly, nobody appreciates it. 


Apr 15, 2012 06:45 AM #30
Joy Daniels
Joy Daniels Real Estate Group, Ltd. - Harrisburg, PA

You are so right - as professionals we need to be professoinal and speaking poorly about someone is NOT professional.

Apr 15, 2012 07:21 AM #31
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Gabe – This can be important when giving referrals.

Lenn – Possibly more people would get involved with politics if they were held to similar standards.

Mark – We could get our mouth washed out with soap.

Eve – The word fair should be removed from most things.  Who decides what is fair?

Jon – When I write articles like this I never use names, just situations and behaviors.

Wayne and Jean – I agree.

The Christian Team – You are right.

Michael – There are so many people who touch our transactions.  If I were asked, I may not know for sure about a few of them.

Apr 15, 2012 07:30 AM #32
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Harry – Always a good idea to get the brokers involved.

Richie – Sometimes it is best to say nothing.

Richard and Jean – Steering clear is something we all have to do.  If you have been in the business awhile, you know a few folks to avoid if possible.

Tammie – I have a list of venders I and my previous clients have had good experience with.  If they mess up one of my clients they are immediately removed from the list.

Sharon – Thank you!  I haven’t been writing as much lately.  This was my 101st post to get featured since joining Active Rain.

Phil – I try to avoid that, but am not afraid to apologize if I mess up.

Karen – The truth will set you free.

Apr 15, 2012 07:32 AM #33
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Mike M – I am sure that many have spoken or writing false and misleading statement against your Senator.  The issue with politics is not just the politicians, but the campaigns and other groups who attack them.

Jon – I have to say I have been shocked by some of the blogs and comments I have read over the years.  Over time some of them will be caught and corrected.  Others will join and repeat the behavior.

Leslie – Keep it factual and only if it applies to the situation.

John M. – Sometimes not answering says a lot.

Thomas – I like that about the tongue rather than the foot.  I may use that line.

Joceyln – I am not sure how it impacts their behavior in other countries.  I would think you could still file a complaint.  I just don’t know where it would go.

Erica – I do recommend local funding lenders to my clients, based on past experience.  My clients can always go with whomever they wish, but most take the advice.  Being in Hawaii, we do run into issues with out of state lenders not knowing our market, contracts, laws or customs.  We also run into problems with the time zone differences and no loan officer on the ground here.  In one case I had a loan officer tell me Hawaii wasn’t a state and the delays were normal for foreign loans.

William F. – Absolutely!

Adrian – I have even done similar with a bad potential client.  I said I was not the right agent for them and left it at that.

Cathy – I try, but we are all human.  I caught myself last week and was sorry it happened.  I did not say anything false, but it was still not the way I want to conduct myself.

Joy – It dies change how others think of us.

Apr 15, 2012 07:32 AM #34
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

It takes many professionals, such as yourself, to raise the bar and raise all of us to a higher standard.

Apr 15, 2012 11:09 AM #35
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

The rule needed to have more teeth. I have never seen so much mud slung against colleagues in any other industry as our own. 

Apr 15, 2012 01:25 PM #36
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Randy - I agree with the statement above that the truth is the truth though I do believe that we shouldn't bad mouth people.

Apr 15, 2012 02:13 PM #37
Joni Bailey
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services - Anderson Properties - Huntsville, TX
Your Huntsville / Lake Livingston Area REALTOR®

Regardless of whether it is true or not, the one saying ugly things only makes themselves look bad.

Apr 16, 2012 12:39 AM #38
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

"Do you think politicians and their campaigns should also be held to that standard?"


There is a huge difference between politicians and real estate professionals.


We use our knowledge, skill and experience to serve the real estate services consumer.

MOST Politicians use doublespeak, subtrafuge and outright untruths to serve themselves.

[reposted to permit editing of comment]

Apr 16, 2012 01:31 AM #39
Brian Park
Danville, CA

I definitely agree with Greg #18 and I also believe the code has the reverse effect of what was intended like many of the laws of this nation, they protect the guilty from the innocent. I remember years ago one broker so enraged me that I purposely did things that caused him to sue me which is what I wanted, because of the lawsuit I was able to subpoena his records which resulted in him losing his lawsuit, and me winning my counter-suit,  plus him losing his real estate  license. 

He was able to continue his plundering for years in large part to ethics violation claims he made with the board to chase other agents away, and he had a letter from a lawyer threatening a costly lawsuit to quiet them up. I called his bluff against one of my agents and he lost everything just as he should have.

Apr 16, 2012 03:06 AM #40
Mike Woods

Couldn't agree more. You don't need to be a real estate agent or Realtor to know that it's wrong to make false or misleading comments about someone.

Apr 20, 2012 12:20 AM #41
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Leslie – Thank you

Philip – Follow politics.

Christine – Not good to bad mouth, but sometimes we need to protect people from bad folks.

Joni – That is a fact.

Lenn – I think politicians should be held to higher standards.  They are writing laws.

Brian – Sometimes it takes being willing to stand up for what is right.

Mike – It should be true for everyone.

Apr 22, 2012 12:58 PM #42
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

Randy, This is a good statement:

...My final thought is that the Code of Ethics is a set of minimum standards. A professional never strives for the minimum.

May 06, 2012 01:22 AM #43
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Margaret - You are so right.

May 06, 2012 01:42 AM #44
Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland
HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400 - Pikesville, MD
Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome

I love this article on Zite, shared by Sharon..

Zite features Randy Prothero

Jun 24, 2012 08:23 PM #45
Randy Prothero
eXp Realty - Mililani, HI
Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645

Aloha Margaret, thank you for alerting me to Sharon's article.  I somehow missed it.

Jun 25, 2012 01:12 AM #46
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Randy Prothero

Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645
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