Top Reasons Real Estate Agents Have Bad Reputations

Real Estate Agent with Jeff Fritzson Real Estate, Ebby Halliday Realtors 0629874

I can already hear many people saying, "What do you mean bad reputations, my reputation is great." Unfortunately when you ask the general public to use one adjective to describe a real estate agent, do you really think that adjective is going to be "awesome", "great", or  "trustworthy?" It does not matter whether you are in Frisco, Texas, Seattle, Washington or Miami, Florida. The majority of people have a negative connotation of RE agents. Here are some possible reasons.

Three Reasons

  1. Descriptions of Homes - you put immaculate home move-in ready this won't last. What the customer finds is a home empty and broom swept. Then you start seeing all the marks on the wall, the empty hole in the kitchen island where the cook-top and downdraft vent use to be, a green pool in the back and a master bedroom that you are almost afraid to walk on it is so dirty. You may be the buyer's agent but it was the seller's agent that OK'd the description. That reflects on all real estate agents.
  2. Communication - think of all the nightmares you have read on ActiveRain alone regarding agents that don't answer their phones, voice mail that tells them they only answer during certain hours of the day regardless of the hours a customer may keep, do not pass communications to their clients and don't respond to text or emails. As agents we have to explain this to our customers and clients. How do you explain that without leaving a negative connotation about a colleague?
  3. Buying a Listing - how many agents approach a listing and price it higher than they know or should know it will sell in a reasonable amount of time? They set an unrealistic expectation and fail to meet that. Then they go in and convince the client that they need to lower their price for any number of reasons. At this point they may have already caused a loss in value simply because the home has been on the market and is now slightly shop worn. How does that client feel about the RE agent now?

I know of many more but I am not here to bash RE agents. Everyone makes the best decisions for themselves based on the situation and their resources. Perhaps it is time to get better resources. Experience can help, education can help but if you simply are going through the motions realize that as a RE agent this is not about you. It is about the customer and the clients you work for, the other agents and brokers you interface with and how you represent yourself as a professional.

You Represent The Industry

Remember you do not just represent yourself, you represent every other real estate agent as well, Our industry is made up of the same old 80/20 rule that has been around for a long time. If we have 80% professional, ethical agents providing great value and 20% who don't, the broad brushstroke that we are labeled with comes from the 20% who do no apparently have the best interests of their clients, customers and even prospects at heart. Remember people were complain 3-4 times more than they will compliment.

As a friend of mine here in the rain stated recently, "Not a problem, I will take care of that." Then take care of it whether it is presenting an offer, answering your phone  or simply picking up the crap in the front yard. It will take all of us to minimize the damage of the general public's view of our industry. For those people who are still leery of working with a real estate agent, give me a call and find out what my clients know - Your Success is My Focus.


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Wayne Johnson
Coldwell Banker D'Ann Harper REALTORS® - San Antonio, TX
San Antonio REALTOR, San Antonio Homes For Sale

I will not argue your points, but can we think of any business or profession where there will be bad reputations-attorneys, sales people of all stripes, big business, small business, and the list goes on.

Aug 10, 2014 01:42 AM #67
Keith Whited
RE/MAX Gateway - Alexandria, VA

Good Post - but it barely scratches the surface of the many reasons we rank just above used car salesman - - What! Oh no - - are we really below them now?

Aug 10, 2014 06:12 AM #68
Kari Walker
Keller Williams Beach Cities - Hermosa Beach, CA


I think you are right on. All of the professions that I know about including our federal, state and town governments, contractors etc. have people in them that are less than reputable in their professions. The person paying the bill is not the person these people are thinking about at all. However, I do feel, silly or not, that most of the Realtors that I know are good upstanding people who   do the best for the people they represent that is possible.  I think it is very unfortunate that often we Realtors come in at the bottom of the list just before or just after the car salesman when confidence ratings are taken about professionals. Often I want to ask " What more do they want from us, anyway?" Especially when doctors come in at the top of the list. But that is another topic.

Aug 10, 2014 06:58 AM #69
Anna Hatridge
Goodson Realty - Farmington, MO
Missouri Realtor with Goodson Realty

Great post!  So glad you spoke to the issue of how we all represent the entire industry.  It is amazing the number of people who think they only represent the company they work for or the individual client they represent.  In my opinion, when we develop a standard wage we will be viewed as having a base standard. I think often anyone who works for commission is viewed as suspect. 

Aug 10, 2014 02:40 PM #70
Pete Xavier
Investments to Luxury - Pacific Palisades, CA
Outstanding Agent Referrals-Nationwide

Good post and comments, much needs to be done including greater transparency and consumer education.

Aug 10, 2014 03:30 PM #71
Les & Sarah Oswald
Realty One Group - Eastvale, CA
Broker, Realtor and Investor

There is a bad apple in every occupation. I know for a fact that agents who don't answer their calls or buys a listing won't last too long. After all, isn't the success of our business based on reputation and referral? I can't control how my fellow agents operate, but I can have a good night sleep knowing how I practice and perform to best represent my clients.

Aug 10, 2014 03:30 PM #72
Jeff Fritzson: Frisco Real Estate Pro
Jeff Fritzson Real Estate, Ebby Halliday Realtors - Frisco, TX
Your Success is My Focus!

I have read all the posts and am overwhelmed with the responses. Some things I took away from the comments:

We are dealing with people and their money. Usually it is not just a little money either. That makes things tense. Agents and theiur clients sometimes are hesitant to be held accountable for the own actionis. That is right even our customer and clients who make mistakes will point the finger. Imagine that.

People who are not satisfied will tend to tell people 3 to 4 times the number of people that people who are satisfied and extremely satisfied.


Time to get to work and do the best we can. Do not be afraid to tell the trust even when it means you made a mistake. Honest communication is always better than a half truth or lie.

Have a great weeek and thank you for taking the time to read and comment.

Aug 10, 2014 11:11 PM #73
Gene Fitzpatrick

Well said. It is a real shame that only a few can damage the reputation of so many. Unfortunately, this occurs in so many occupations.

Aug 11, 2014 01:02 AM #74
Fred Sed
Fred Sed Group ~ Your Premier Southern California Realtors - Irvine, CA
Your Orange County Realtor, Why? Because Fred Sed

All great points Jeff. These are all items I try very in my business to represent myself and the industry in. It's important to be honest and communicate constantly with buyers and sellers and give them a realistic expectation of how the transaction will go.

Aug 11, 2014 04:22 AM #75
Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

And in fairness to everyone, real estate transactions are pretty complex ..... a lender's, or an inspector's, or a title officer's misstep can send things careening offtrack in a hurry, and the agent, because she is the most visible participant,  gets stuck with the blame. 

Aug 11, 2014 08:04 AM #76
Steve Halen
HomeSMARTLifestyles - Queen Creek, AZ
Arizona Dream Home Search


Timely post, I can only control my own actions and set a high standard and encourage others to do the same.  And I do find myself apologizing (sometimes) to new clients who have had a bad experience with a Realtor who was less than professional.  When I do get these particular clients, I go above and beyond to leave them with a great, professional and successful experience!



Aug 12, 2014 01:19 PM #77
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Sadly all these things happen too often.  There are those out for the quick buck, but long term integrity will count for more in the long run.

Aug 13, 2014 02:23 AM #78
Jeff Fritzson: Frisco Real Estate Pro
Jeff Fritzson Real Estate, Ebby Halliday Realtors - Frisco, TX
Your Success is My Focus!

Thank you all for your comments and participating. It is great to see so many people who care enough to try and explain what we as agents and brokers already know: the majority of us work as hard as we can to deliver the best results, value and experience for our clients. The problem as most of us have said is that the minority that do not deliver are heard the loudest both inside and outside the industry.

Aug 13, 2014 07:14 AM #79
Deleted Account
Fort Myers, FL

I have to laugh at some of the descriptions I have read.  Then, they have no more than 5 photos, none of the inside.  When I see these, I think what does the inside look like, if they didn't take any photos?  Why lie about or puff a home in the description?  The buyers or at least their agent will see the home and know the description is a lie.  As far as communicating, sometimes, I over communicate, but I feel that is better than not enough.  I used to be guilty of number 3, but realized I was hurting my clients, as well as myself.  bottom line, great post!!!

Aug 14, 2014 07:25 AM #80
Holly Biltz
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Saint Cloud, FL
I sell the dream of Home Ownership!

I never understand why some Realtors are even in the business when they don't answer phones, email, text, what is the point. Another thing why do agents put pictures in the MLS that are dark, sideways or blurry, doesn't make sense and you are not doing your listing or customer any good doing this. I just don't get it.

Aug 14, 2014 08:27 AM #81
Jon Kolsky
Kolsky Realty & Management - Long Beach, CA
Licensed California Real Estate Broker

Jeff Fritzson: Frisco Real Estate Pro ~ it's a shame when "we" get lumped together, or so I feel! Generalizations are for the birds, not for me. The way I see it my reputation is my reputation. Even though I don't go to McDonald's, could you imagine going into a McDonald's where the service and food was below par and then claimg all McDonald's are bad? 

Aug 14, 2014 08:35 AM #82
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Oh boy how many more reasons could we come up with!  How about...poor attitude?

Aug 15, 2014 03:09 AM #83
Jamie R. Bell
Bell Realty Group at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices NEP - Glastonbury, CT
Your Central CT Realtor

Great post and so very true. Of course as noted in other comments there are a few more reasons why the general public does not think highly of our profession or value our worth. But great reminder and hopefully a few of the 20% will see the post and make a change that will help them and the other 80%.

Aug 21, 2014 10:39 PM #84
Nina Hollander
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Charlotte, NC
Your Charlotte/Ballantyne/Waxhaw/Fort Mill Realtor

Jeff, all your points are completely valid. And let's not forget the "hard sell" agent.

Sep 18, 2014 01:13 AM #85
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

Jeff,  what a super read, I'm glad I found this one during my travels. Thanks for sharing.

Mar 17, 2015 01:30 PM #86
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