That's Not How We Do Things Around Here

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Providence Group Realty TREC# 0608931


If you practice real estate long enough, eventually you will find yourself working a transaction that falls outside of your immediate stomping grounds. While folks commonly recognize that there are differences in laws and practices in between states, it isn't as commonly understood that there can also be variations within a state -- particularly within those larger and more densely populated states, such as Texas.

It is difficult to say what drives regional differences... but at some point, the words, "That's not how we do things around here" will be uttered as an objection to what one party deems as standard, conventional and acceptable practice.

Common instances of conflict occur across county lines, between metro areas, and on those 'special' occasions where one party is metro-based and the other is rurally rooted.

The reason for the differences usually boils down to availability of education, leadership expectations, and the general implementation of enforcement protocols in a given area. 

Esurance ad writers must have been channeling Realtor® energy the day they drafted the 'Beatrice' commercial.

Like Beatrice's Baffled Bestie in Blue, finding yourself as a stranger in a strange land -- where standards of practice are belittled, mocked, ignored or completely misintrepreted -- can be unsettling. 

Not only could contention in between agent parties disrupt and jeopardize client goals, it could also put Realtors® in a compromising position both legally and ethically. Looking the other way simply won't cut the mustard, as a Realtor® who knows better is obligated to make sure proper process is followed -- or defaults to a position of guilt themselves by tolerating malpractice.

See the Esurance Commercial on Youtube


What To Do When The Agent On The Other Side Isn't Acting Right 

Compliance standards are only improved when individual Realtors® are willing to take issue with individual matters, one matter at a time. Admittedly, it is a lot to ask for... Folks are generally uncomfortable with confrontation, and as necessary as it may be, the experience of lodging a formal documented complaint can be burdensome and divert attention away from activities that generate income.

As a first resort, try talking with the agent on the other side of the transaction. Breathe grace, and gently share information, exhibiting a humble spirit of learning together. Be prepared to share education resources and substantiate requirements you know to be true and necessary.

If talking with the agent fails, approaching the agent's broker or managing supervisor would be the next step in the right direction. Often, if an agent won't trust your information, she will have confidence in correction coming from her upline.

If you cannot reach the agent's broker or managing supervisor, try having your broker reach the other broker. And if that fails, the next advisable step would be to approach your local area association for assistance. Most associations have full-time staff who have extensive knowledge regarding contracts and standards of practice, and will be generally willing to answer questions and help agent parties sort out differences.

If local area association resources don't have the support you seek, Texas Realtors® have the TAR Legal Hotline at their disposal. The TAR Legal Hotline is your link to an attorney who can provide information about real estate law and related matters. All Texas REALTORS® can call the hotline: 800-873-9155.

TAR Attorneys can be extremely helpful toward providing answers regarding standards of practice, the Real Estate License Act & Texas Occupations Code regulations, and point toward documentation that may help you successfully educate and persuade the agent on the other side of the transaction.

If all else fails, reporting a breach of ethics or blatant instance of malpractice to the proper channel(s) may be required.  In Texas, these channels may include, but are not limited to:

  • MLS Provider (Area Association or Vendor)
  • The Texas Association of Realtors (TAR) for ethics-related complaints
  • The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) for practice-related complaints under licensing standards
  • Attorney General
  • Local Police

The World Is Round

At the end of the day, it is important that your focus as a Realtor® remain on your client's objectives and best interests at all times. Putting our own egos aside to follow a client's instructions can be challenging; however, pursuing satisfaction -- even if it is 1000% justified -- takes second place to serving our clients. Make sure your own practices are in good order, meet compliance, and do your best to facilitate an outcome that will achieve the results your client desires.

Know that part of a having a successful real estate career will, at times, require 'letting go', and even if you attempt and don't succeed at implementing needed change in another party's practice, getting past it and moving forward is a victory in itself.

Comments (27)

Jeanne Dufort
Coldwell Banker Lake Country - Madison, GA
Madison and Lake Oconee GA

Amada - that's quite a list!  I'm thinking you practice out in the Wild, Wild West!

Dec 19, 2014 05:03 AM
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Amanda Thomas I agree I would stand up for my client's best interest, and I might interpret that statement to mean the listing agent does like the terms or conditions of my buyer's offer? That I would have a problem with and would say so with a friendly reminder: all offers must be presented to the seller. If the issue has to do with paperwork procedure, then I would ask for clarification what exactly is expected. I guess what I am saying is I'm not going to argue or explain with the other agent how it should be done. I frequently came across this with buyer agents on short sales who wanted to tell me how to short sell my client's home. I laid out the required paperwork the lender needs and if the agent doesn't want to communicate with their buyer and comply, then we move on -- and sometimes we did. Confrontations didn't solve the problem if the agent is not willing to pass on the info to their buyer and comply with lender requirements. In the world of short sales, "that is how we do things around here." lol Thanks for the opportunity to discuss, and yes, I am not shy! 

Dec 19, 2014 05:13 AM
Amanda Thomas
Providence Group Realty - Plano, TX
​Broker, SRES®, BPOR, MCNE, ​Certified DRS Agent™

Pamela Seley, REALTOR® , we are absolutely on the same page! :-)  We confront misinformation and issues relating to malpractice -- working to find the win-win and help parties come together. -- Rest assured, the advice is not directing folks to pursue 'altercations'. That's a no-win for everyone. ;-)

Dec 19, 2014 05:24 AM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Amanda Thomas Totally with you on this one.  In our area of SE Wisconsin different areas do things differently -- and I have learnd to "go with the flow" as long as it was within the legal limits.  I would never do anything that was not within our Code of Ethics ... however there are little differences in some things as simple as "who schedules the closing" ... who cares?  Just get it done!  I have had to babysit many a transaction to get to the closing table.  I have one goal in mind and that is to see my client get their home sold or the house their buying closed!  Amen?

Dec 19, 2014 05:39 AM
Ed Silva
Mapleridge Realty, CT 203-206-0754 - Waterbury, CT
Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally

Pamela, we can only hope that the  agent on the other side is a true professionals and not an order taker as that not only hurts their client but jeopardizes the deal.  In our state there is only one area where the flow of the contract is not like the rest of the state.  Some people just have to demonstrate their difference

Dec 19, 2014 05:43 AM
Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner
Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395 - Mission Viejo, CA
Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395

Reading the post, I was also curious about what issues you've run up, crazy list of things. I only hope it wasn't all in one transaction, lol

Dec 19, 2014 05:45 AM
Glory Bee

I work in MD, and I go strictly by the rules and regulations of the commission. If it is required to be handled a certain way and not I I handle it that way, if the other agent does not I document it, and notify my compliance dept and move on. The problem today agents do not get the training, either not offered or they do not want to attend. It is not for me to train or correct another brokers agent. Go by the rules and protect your client and you are good.

Dec 19, 2014 07:53 AM
Sharon Parisi
United Real Estate Dallas - Dallas, TX
Dallas Homes

Amanda Thomas Taking the high road works well in conjunction with taking that deep breath.  TAR attorneys are a great resource for Texas Realtors.

Dec 19, 2014 02:44 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

North Carolina is not as big as Texas, but we do have very unique approaches to real estate in different parts of the state. When I have an issue with another agent, if I can't resolve it nicely with them, I turn it over to my Broker In Charge to deal with the other agent's BIC. Helps keep things more neutral.

Dec 19, 2014 07:41 PM
John DL Arendsen
CREST "BACKYARD' HOMES, ON THE LEVEL General & Manufactured Home Contractor, TAG Real Estate Sales & Investments - Leucadia, CA
Crest Backyard Homes "ADU" dealer & Contractor

Ha! My oldest daughter and her family recently moved to Austin from Laguna Beach. Talk about a culture shock. Albeit they do love Texas and will probably make it their permanent home for a lot of reasons the dare not tell anyone where they're from as they've come to find out that Texans don't care much for Californians.

Dec 20, 2014 08:00 AM
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Integrity and character is priceless and when anybody proposes or engages in any discretion or questionable compliance issues regarding a transaction, a report of their actions should be made to the appropriate supervisors or regulators, regardless of the consequences.

Dec 20, 2014 09:13 AM
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Amanda, as agents, like you said - We must always try and do our best to facilitate an outcome that will achieve the results our client desires.

However, we must do this in compliance with standard practice, and also not do anything against the law.

Dec 21, 2014 12:44 AM
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Eighteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Your post reminds me the "That's not how we do it at home." comment I frequently hear from clients who are relocating to Florida!

Dec 21, 2014 01:01 AM
Bill Reddington
Re/max By The Sea - Destin, FL
Destin Florida Real Estate

Every deal is different. Usually it is lack of knowledge that creates issues. Hope it works out.

Dec 21, 2014 05:43 AM
Nancy Middleton
Counselor Realty, Inc. - Excelsior, MN
Nancy Middleton, Counselor Realty, Minnetonka, MN

I can certainly understand not knowing "what's done around here" with a great example being an agent who knows  nothing about Lake Minnetonka, MN  and the 17 different cities that have properties and homes on its shore. They often neglect to learn about all the different rules, regulations, ordinances, zoning, etc. in each city and the several agencies that cover rules about lake use and spacing of docks, etc. Some agents are reluctant to pleasantly try and explain these situations to the lake stranger agent without embarassing them by suggesting politely that what his/her client  is trying to do with the property will not be allowed. This is when it can be done privately agent to agent with suggestions of the various contacts to make to learn about all the rules.

Dec 22, 2014 06:46 AM
Amanda Thomas
Providence Group Realty - Plano, TX
​Broker, SRES®, BPOR, MCNE, ​Certified DRS Agent™

Nancy Middleton , that was an excellent example of a legitimate situation where "how we do it" should come in to play. And, thank you as well for modeling an approach that is both professional and helpful. 

Dec 24, 2014 01:56 AM
Nancy Middleton
Counselor Realty, Inc. - Excelsior, MN
Nancy Middleton, Counselor Realty, Minnetonka, MN

Thanks Amanda Thomas for your kind words.

Dec 24, 2014 02:15 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

There are county to county differences in California and big differences between Nor Cal and So Cal, but it is not so much a matter of law as it is custom. (Although there are some local issues that are law and important to know.)  There are even places to look up what is custom on the web.

Dec 30, 2014 01:56 AM
Winston Heverly
Winston Realty, Inc. - Atlantis, FL

It is a bit of a treat going back and reading some of Active Rains best archives  like this one. Should be shared again.

Mar 27, 2015 12:10 PM
Mel Ahrens, MBA, Kelly Right Real Estate
Kelly Right Real Estate - Hood River, OR
Customized Choices for your Real Estate Needs

Saw this re-blogged - really like the term "rurally rooted".



Aug 21, 2015 04:17 PM

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