When agents go bad..........file a Greivance

Education & Training with Real Estate Expert Witness Support

Maybe I have a prejudice because I saw so many BAD agents when I was managing a large office.  So many have entered the industry in last few years with little or no training.  And,  most of all,  many seem to have lost any moral compass that they might have ever had.  Iam sure that you have had a bad character on the other side of one of your transactions.

The states aren't too much help in that it is way too easy to get a license. And,  in most states,  Continuing Education is not strict enough to require agents to really learn what they need to earn.  I know this sound harsh and I guess I meant it to be.

One thing that NAR has done correctly is to establish a pretty effective Greivance process. The problem is that few if any agents are willing to file.  I can't tell you how many times one of my agents would have with a really bad agent on the other side.  Too often they were poorly trained,  or in some cases, simply didn't care.  For example, I had established a pretty stringent list of required documents for closing files.  Frequently,  when our agent would ask for the missing document from the other agent,  they would not even know what the form was,  let along have a copy in their office. 

I occassionally had to call the Broker/Managers of these agents to try to get some help.  Too often,  the manager would be totally unhelpful,  not available and in one instance,  no one who answered the phone knew who their broker was.  Amazing.

To try to rectify these problems,  I would frequently ask my agents to file a Greivance,  especially in the case of dishonesty.  Rarely could I get my own agents to file a grievance.   Too often my agents would take the argument,  ....... the escrow is closed,  that is what is important. Or, .....that's just the way that office is,  they are not going to change.  Or,  this one .... they didn't do anything illegal, only incompetent.   Or, this one ..... I don't have the time to deal with it.  Or, this one, ....... it won't matter,  the board won't do anything anyway.

Let me address each one:

  1. the escrow is closed,  that is what is importantWe are not well respected as an industry.  Unless we get the bad guys out of the biz or get their attention,  this will never change. So, is getting paid our #1 goal in this business.  Unfortunately, for some agents,  it is.
  2. That is the way that office is,  they are not going to change.   I think every association probably has one or more offices where their are no rules.  And,  in most cases,  the board is helpless to do much about it.  The Greivance process can change that.  The best way is to always name the Broker of Record and the Manager if not the same person,  as well as the agent.  Each one can be fined or otherwise sanctioned.  And,  NAR has just passed a new rule which allows their name to be publised by the Association in Newsletter if they are repeat offenders.  So, 
  3. they didn't do anything illegal, only incompetent  You may have forgotten,  but 2 of the tenants of the code of ethics deal with incompetence.  And,  another one is based on the agent doing something that put their client at risk.  When an agent is incompetent,  this alone should be grounds for a Grievance.
  4. I don't have the time to deal with it.:   Does this even deserve an answer.  No one is going to improve our business but us.  So,  as Dr. Laura say,  .......Now,  do the right thing.
  5. it won't matter,  the board won't do anything anyway. That is where they are wrong.  New rules allow the hearing panel to fine them  (the agent and their broker) up to $5000 each.  Ouch!  In addition,  they can be required to attend board or outside trainer classes.

Is it a perfect solution?  NO,  but it is up to us to make a difference.  SEARCH FOR EXCELLENCE in all that you do.

Posted by


Guy Berry

Email - guy@guyberry.com

Visit my Website  

Connect on Facebook



Comments (2)

Mary Pope-Handy
Sereno Group Real Estate - Los Gatos, CA
CRS, CIPS, ABR, SRES, Silicon Valley

Guy, filing a grievance is not as easy or streamlined as it needs to be.

First of all, some of the bad agents aren't Realtors. We have one here in Los Gatos who's a loose canon but she isn't a board member. So it's a little harder for people to file a complaint.

Secondly, the paperwork required by the board to file a complaint is way too long. Years ago, I had an unscrupulous buyer's agent on the other side of a transaction on the other side of the valley. He actually gave the buyers the key out of the lockbox or opened the house himself to allow them to move some things into the vacant condo prior to close of escrow.

I got the paperwork to make a complaint and it was a very thick stack which would have taken me more than a couple of hours to fill out. Ridiculous.

If we are going to police our own, it shouldn't feel like punishment to do it.   I don't have time to make a big stink or get politically involved, but I think that this is the root of the problem.

Jun 05, 2008 11:24 AM
Jamie Flournoy
got agent? - New Market, MD
The Realtor on Your Side


In my mind, those agents in your office who had all of the excuses of why they shouldn't file a complaint are just as guilty as the unscrupulous agents they were dealing with.  It sounds like all they were concerned about is closing the deal and getting the commission check.  If they could just step back for a moment and ask, "If I don't file the complaint, what might this agent perpetrate on other agents and brokers, not to mention the general public?"

Hopefully, we'll finally get it in this industry that it's going to be us, the brokers and agents actually out in the field who are working with these unscrupulous agents that will need to police them.  Maybe if enough cases are brought to the board, they'll finally get the message that more needs to be done.

Jamie Flournoy, Broker, Assist-2-Sell, San Jose, CA 

Jun 12, 2008 04:50 AM

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?