Teams and Deceptive Trade Practices

Real Estate Agent TX #0540728

In my market area it is not uncommon for team leaders to contract with their team members to take credit for their activities. To accomplish that, they expect other brokers to close out transactions naming them as the buyer agent.  As a matter of principle, I refuse to do so. 

In the past, my MLS has endorsed this practice and  overridden my decision in favor of the team leader. I am not sure they are still taking this position. Recent new Texas regulations suggest teams are taking a lot of heat for misrepresentation of their responsibilities and level of control.

As a practice, I refuse to do that because I am not going to be a party to their deceptive trade practices. The only reason one would take credit for somebody else’s work is to mislead the public.

Am I missing something? I find this practice deplorable and fraudulent if not for any other reason. Is it like this in every market? 

This week I was threatened by a team leader because I refused to give him credit for his team members performance. The idea that he would steer business in a different direction and not cooperate or show my properties is deplorable, unethicable, and unlawful.

I’m sure there are a lot of team leaders out there that have an opinion on this post.  I would like to hear from you. 



Comments (22)

Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

We have lots of team in the Denver metro area that must be recorded under the team name.

Apr 07, 2018 04:52 PM
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224


  Thank you Tod! 

Apr 07, 2018 06:03 PM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Not sure I have a position here. Someone gets credit and it is usually the team leader just like a franchise or office gets credit for the production of their agents. What is the difference?

Apr 08, 2018 04:48 AM
Tod Franklin

A team leader taking credit for another's production is the only problem to me.  Teams, brokers, franchises, companies taking credit is natural and not a problem to me.  Only agents misrepresenting production is the issue. 

Apr 08, 2018 10:29 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Tod - hmm.  More for me to ponder. 

Apr 08, 2018 05:14 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

I have not run into this, but would naturally put the actual buyer agent as the buyer agent. It wouldn't seem right to put someone else's name there. 

If I were the buyer agent who wasn't getting any credit for my own work, I'd be outta there.

Apr 08, 2018 05:47 AM
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Yep, it's pretty standard around here. The leader gets the cred - the team gains experience and more business due to the leaders name recongnition in the market. I don't love it, but it is what it is...

Apr 08, 2018 09:57 AM
Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Broker
Elizabeth Anne Weintraub, Broker - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

I used to think that way too, but there is a reason that is NOT the reason you think it is. For me, anyway. I don't know how other teams work.

The buyers on my team originate from me. I assign the buyers to my team members and I give them MY buyers. The buyers are MY buyers. I have a written agreement with team members that says all buyers remain my clients, even after closing. My team members help because I cannot show all homes by myself and completely manage all escrows. My name is on the contract, too, so if a listing agent refused to correctly close out production in MLS, that would be a violation of MLS rules. 

Apr 08, 2018 11:32 AM
Tod Franklin
Dallas, TX

Hello Elizabeth, your title says you are in the 1% top production of Lyon agents. Is that based on soley your production or the production of your team?

Apr 08, 2018 11:50 AM
Hella M. Rothwell, Broker/Realtor®
Carmel by the Sea, CA
Rothwell Realty Inc. CA#01968433 Carmel-by-the-Sea

Tod Franklin , do you mean that when YOU (not as in what Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Real Estate Agent, Top 1% of Lyon Agents describes) are the listing agent and a buyers agent from another agency gets an accepted offer from you that closes, on the MLS it will list that buyer's agents team leader as the selling agent?


Apr 08, 2018 08:06 PM
Tod Franklin

Yes, exactly. 

Apr 10, 2018 06:11 AM
Terri Woods
Benton, Linn and Douglas Counties - Days Creek, OR
Selling Homes and Land in Oregon

It is actually up to the team and their agreement. If the Buyer's agent decides to be on a team, they agree to the terms of the team. And if the terms state that the Team Leader gets the credit, then that is the way it is. It is their agreement.

I have done the same in a co-list situation. I was moving and I did not need to get the 'credit' of the sale so I put the other agent as the listing agent.

I understand what you are saying, though. 

Most team leaders pay for the ads and marketing to get the buyers/sellers. And they pay for the transaction coordinator, etc. The agents understand that the team will get the credit. And in some states that do not allow teams to get the credit, it goes under the team leader.

I do love hearing from other sides though.

Apr 08, 2018 08:15 PM
Bruce Kunz
C21 Solid Gold Realty, Brick, NJ, 732-920-2100 - Howell, NJ
REALTOR®, Brick & Howell NJ Homes for Sale

Thanks for starting this, Tod Franklin. The responses are interesting to me. I'm not a part of "a team" so to speak, but the agents in our office all work with each other as needed. It's good to play nicely in the sandbox, but I'd have a problem with someone keeping me hidden (and Yes, I get the idea of 'teamwork').


Apr 09, 2018 08:27 PM
Patricia Settar

I’m wondering why this team concept has you so irritated. I’m a team lead with 25 years experience, I’m mentoring realtors and I spend a lot of time doing so. We create a synergy with exchanging our challenges and creative ideas. Quite frankly we’re certainly not at all deceptive! This idea of who gets the “credit” that your talking about is only based on the reporting local mls.

Apr 10, 2018 05:17 AM
Tod Franklin
Dallas, TX

Patricia, let me reverse the question. Why do you need MLS to keep track of your teams performance by logging transactions under your name?

Apr 10, 2018 05:52 AM
Tod Franklin
Dallas, TX

 Patricia, if one of your team members is sanctioned by your real estate commission does it go on your record or their record? 

Apr 10, 2018 06:30 AM
Karen Feltman
Cedar Rapids/Iowa City, IA KW Legacy Group - Cedar Rapids, IA
Relocation Specialist in Cedar Rapids, Iowa

I had this situation.  The "team member" that wrote the offer and did all of the work is the one that I turned in for the MLS to have "credit" for the sale.  The team leader then emailed me and asked me to change it. I declined.  At no point did the team leader engage with me during the transaction and their name was not on the contract as the selling agent.  It caused a few angry emails to my broker, who agreed with me and said no.  That poor buyer's agent.

Apr 10, 2018 08:10 AM
MichelleCherie Carr Crowe Just Call...408-252-8900
Get Results Team...Just Call (408) 252-8900! . DRE #00901962 . Licensed to Sell since 1985 . Altas Realty - San Jose, CA
Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years

I would defer to what the buyer agent asked me to do.

Apr 10, 2018 09:56 PM
Derrick Guevremont
Counselor Realty of Rochester - Rochester, MN
Rochester MN Homes for Sale

It is the way things are here in our MLS and I believe it's terribly misleading.

If the team leader is giving all of the clients to new agents and they are gaining experience, then that's one thingm but...  We have teams with many experienced agents (30+ years sometimes!) doing the agent work and cooperating agents never deal with the team "leader" at all during their transactions.  I know for a fact that many of these agents have plenty of buyer and seller clients that come to them without any regard to the team they are on.  Past clients, referrals, etc.  When turning in a sale to the MLS I enter the REALTOR agent I am working with only to be told that I need to change it.  I have asked why they do this many times but have never received an answer and I don't push for it because I am not trying to cause trouble if they don't want to tell me.

So...   When I go to a listing appointment and I give the potential seller my experience, my production, the whole program, another agent gets the listing by telling the sellers they have sold hundreds of homes and it's all registered on the MLS production data.  I find it incredibly misleading and really not even true.  There's no way an agent should get credit for a sale they had no part in creating or closing.  I don't know how it would be any different if the broker/agent at my company took credit as an agent for every listing and sale that our company produces.  What a "team" that would be!  On a real team, one person doesn't take all the credit.  If they could do everything themselves, like it looks on the MLS, they wouldn't need a team.

Apr 11, 2018 12:41 AM
Jeanne Gregory
RE/MAX Southwest - Sugar Land, TX

Several years ago I sold a listing and closed it using the buyer agent info from the contract.  Two months later, I was contacted by the broker for the buyer agent saying I needed to change the MLS to reflect his sale.  This was early in the year and I suppose he was trying to compute previous year production.  Nowhere in the contract was his name mentioned and he never interacted on the transaction.  I told him no, I wasn't changing it.  He called my broker.  She said she wasn't changing it.  He threw a fit like a two year old.  But he didn't get his way. 

Apr 11, 2018 10:21 AM
Thomas McCombs
Century 21 HomeStar - Akron, OH

Interesting discussion. I don't have a dog in this fight, but it seems a little dishonest for a team leader to claim credit for another's work, even if that work was originated by the team leader.

It may be that there needs to be a better way to tally "sides" in MLS's.


Apr 24, 2018 06:14 PM
Bud Rozell, ACI
Good Home Inspection - Dallas, TX
Residential and Commercial Inspections

I can relate to the confusing the public aspect. From a home inspector's perspective, everything goes along fine until there's a problem. I've called CSS and made arrangements, I've sent out a confirmation letter to the listing agent asking that the property be prepared for inspection, smooth sailing. Only the property wasn't prepared for inspection, or worse yet, something failed under testing. At this point communication with the listing agent is imperative. Only the contact information I've been given is inaccurate and so is the information on the sign. Much confusion is created, much time is wasted. This scenario doesn't play well for the buyer nor the seller. I'll be long gone in a few hours, so it's not overly important to me. But a seed of mistrust has been planted in the transaction between the buyer and seller. I'm probably making more out of this than there is, but these are my observations.

Nov 12, 2018 08:05 AM