When You and Your Business Card Become Unethical...

Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Compass, formerly RE/MAX WHP 0524642


I stopped by one of my listings this morning and found a competitors business card on the kitchen counter. This in itself is often encouraged by many listing agents, but with an expectation in mind. Most business cards have simple details like contact information, a photo and possibly a catch phrase or company slogan. The one in my listing was a 5x7 glossy table tent that shouted in all bold caps:



"WHY PAY X % in commissions when you can list for FREE!"


As a current member of the ethics panel here in the state of Texas for the Texas Association of Realtors I can all but guarantee you that this type of "advertising" is unethical and a violation of our Realtor Code of Ethics. 

Realtors cannot leave advertising flyers in other agents listings. A business card saying the same thing would be perfectly acceptable, but not something 6 or 7 times the size of typical business card. Not only this, but the table tent left had other violations including having his company font size 1/3 the size of the rest of the wording. That too is a violation. Article 12. 



Posted by


Greg Nino
, Houston area Realtor®.
Helping residential buyers, sellers and tenants 7 days a week.
Available @ 832-298-8555 

RE/MAX Compass (Formerly RE/MAX WHP)





The information contained in this blog is believed to be reliable and while every effort is made to assure that the information is as accurate as possible, the author of this blog, and its comments disclaim any implied warranty or representation about it's accuracy, completeness or appropriateness for any particular purpose. All information is copywritten and the property of Greg Nino.  






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Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 www.LizTour.com - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

Greg, Just another reason brokers should periodically be taking a look at their agent's advertising/business cards, etc. 

Mar 26, 2017 05:34 AM #4
Suzanne Strickler
Realty Mark Associates - Havertown, PA
School is never out for the Succesful.

Greg Nino - make a mental note of who it is....and wait. Ricardo Montalban said it best..."revenge is a dish best served cold."

Mar 26, 2017 06:35 AM #5
Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

We have seen this kind of thing too.  Possible interference of a contract comes to mind as well. -Kasey

Mar 26, 2017 10:56 AM #6
Sonja Patterson
Keller Williams - BV - College Station, TX
Texas Monthly 5-Star Realtor Recipient for the Hou

Yes, the "list for FREE" sounds doubtful at best...Still, it is annoying to find someone else's advertising in your clients' home!  

Mar 26, 2017 07:10 PM #7
Raymond Denton
Homesmart / Evergreen Realty - Lake Forest, CA
Foothill Ranch Specialist

So what did you do, Greg?  Did you report the Agent?

Mar 27, 2017 09:56 AM #8
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Hope you will take the opportunity to show them the error of their ways. How do people not think that is tacky? Would they want it done to them? Don't know because they don't have any listings - yeah! Greg's got them all.

Mar 27, 2017 01:02 PM #9
Bill & Cyndi Daves
Hiawassee, Young Harris, Blairsville, Hayesville, Murphy and Beyond! - Hiawassee, GA
TeamDAVES - Your REALTORS In the GA/NC Mountains!

Two thoughts here - First, leaving even a business card with that language on it would, in my opinion, be a violation of the COE. Second, until we start filing the appropriate complaints these sort of things will continue to happen. It's a clear violation however many agents and, unfortunately, their brokers, have the mindset that the offended party won't do anything.

Mar 31, 2017 07:08 PM #10
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

Wow...that takes nerve. I agree with Bill & Cyndi Daves  that even leaving a business card with that is wrong. I hope you're going to follow up with their broker and you might want to email them a copy of the Code of Ethics too. 

Mar 31, 2017 08:00 PM #11
Dörte Engel
RE/MAX Leading Edge - Bowie, MD
ABC - Annapolis, Bowie, Crofton & rest of Maryland

Dear Greg,

What a way to make friends & influence people. See, if this agent's offers will EVER get cordial treatment in the future. Plus, how much "free" can they take to the grocery store to buy their own provisions? You can only live on love for so long.

Mar 31, 2017 08:00 PM #12
Dolores "Dee" Mauriello
Keller Willaims - Wayne, NJ
Realtor, Homes For Sale Wayne NJ

Greg that is definetly a no no...maybe you should leave a flyer at that agent's office or listing saying pay no commission qet no service.

Mar 31, 2017 08:16 PM #13
Georgie Hunter R(S) 58089
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

A cheesy tactic for sure. It takes all kinds.

Mar 31, 2017 08:50 PM #14
John Wiley
Right Move Real Estate Group- EXP Realty - Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

Thanks for pointing out some un-ethical practices of agents.

I feel that Brokers should be aware and monitor the advertising of their agents.

Apr 01, 2017 06:58 AM #15
Jeff Dowler, CRS
Solutions Real Estate - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

Definitely a no no but it's not something I have seen too much of, thankfully. I did see one house where some "enterprising" agent left not just one advertisement but multiple copies all over the house, including one in the MBR!

Apr 01, 2017 10:54 AM #16
Theresa Akin

Wow!! Just pulled a similar, not as large, but close sized table tent. I text the agent about how unethical it was. Anymore, I don't care if they leave a card, I can always contact them through my Supra and ask for feedback. Brought it home and shredded it. Had  slogan about lower commission for selling their home. ANother agent had actually called my attention to it. I owe her, big time. Hmm wonder if she likes margarita?

Apr 01, 2017 01:06 PM #17
Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

When agents fail to report agents misbehavior or violations of rules and regulations regardless of their excuses to take any action, they are just as responsible for the continuation of such behavior. Nothing will stop such behavior until firm action is taken to end such behavior. 

Apr 01, 2017 06:52 PM #18
Melissa Spittel
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Westminster, MD
"Achieving Results Together "

There's an agent in my area who recently did a Facebook ad. The slogan was "Buy with me and list for free".  Being curious, I checked out the "small print" and stipulations. Needless to say, I'm not seeing many listings come on the market by that agent. 

Apr 02, 2017 11:01 AM #19
Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
Good Company Real Estate www.ChandlerRealEstate.weebly.com - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Greg - It is amazing what some agents try and get away with. Hopefully you informed them that they were playing with fire.

Apr 02, 2017 10:08 PM #20
Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty
Bucci Realty, Inc. - Melbourne, FL
Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County

Sounds like a marketing genius there!  OK, maybe a real marketing slimeball! 

Apr 03, 2017 11:03 AM #21
Jerry Lucas
ABC Legal Docs LLC - Colorado Springs, CO
Mobile Notary Colorado Springs, CO Notary Training

I also see a lot of spammers on social media sites, violating the rules.

Apr 05, 2017 08:25 PM #22
Robert Vegas Bob Swetz
Realty ONE Group - Las Vegas, NV
Las Vegas Henderson Homes for Sale

Hello Greg

I totally agree with your post and featured to the group:


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Apr 05, 2017 09:21 PM #23
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Greg Nino

Houston, Texas
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