The pie-hole that wouldn't close.

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

Many times, over recent years, in my experiences in online real estate discussion groups, someone will inevitably ask the question: "What is the standard commission in your area?"

Most of the time, knowledgeable agents jump in and state: "There is no 'standard', real estate commissions are negotiable"... and go on to expound on the value of finding a good Realtor, and not allowing the commission to be your main criteria in selecting a Realtor. We can go into more of that, but that's a different post than this one.

Almost without fail, at some point or another on that thread, some idiot Realtor will say... "standard commissions in our area are 6%, but I'll do it for 5%, call me!!" or "everyone in our area grumpy kitty in the sandboxcharges 5%".  A few of us will try to explain to them that even the discussion of commission amounts, in public (and y'all know that social media IS public) is a potential violation of Sherman anti-trust laws, and we inevitably get into a heated discussion over whether indeed that's true or not.  In some of those conversations, I've been told by Realtors who've been in the business for a long time (so, what I'm saying there is ... not some "newbie")... that I don't know what I'm talking about... that we're just talkin' in generalities... and there's nothing wrong with that.

One agent went so far as to tell me that he'd been playing in the Sherman Anti-trust sandbox for 32 years, and he knew it better than I basically 'shut-yer-pie-hole'.  (Awwww... I love my pie-hole.. 'cause, you know, pie goes in there!)

pie for the pie-holeWell, in a fairly recent "thread that wouldn't die", we had that same hackneyed conversation.  But this time, one of the regulars (a non-Realtor) decided that he would find out the truth, and sent a copy of the conversation off to a Washington advocacy group.  They, in turn, turned it over to the Department of Justice, who contacted him by phone, confirmed that it was an illegal discussion, and asked a lot of pointed questions... (including the url for the conversation) and are now monitoring.

big pie holeI imagine there will be handful of interesting phone calls to managing brokers.  What you say on a social media website, especially as a professional Realtor, is there forever (and ever and ever)... make sure that what you say is correct, and legal.

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Show All Comments
Joe Manausa
Joe Manausa Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Tallahassee Real Estate

You ruined my morning Alan May , now all I can think about is pie ...

Jul 08, 2019 06:42 AM #18
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

I'm a big fan of the way you tell a story.

Jul 08, 2019 07:09 AM #19
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Very interesting indeed.  So the blowhard that knows it all after 32 years may soon get a lesson of their life.  Thanks for sharing this story with us Alan May 

Jul 08, 2019 08:27 AM #20
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Alan- a good reminder to agents to remember one of the first things were taught in their real estate courses. And yes, I too am very hungry for pie now. 

Jul 08, 2019 09:54 AM #21
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

A warning to all (whether Realtor or LO) ... thank you Alan May.  Someone IS listening or watching ... all the time.



Jul 08, 2019 03:14 PM #22
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 702-574-8102

Hopefully Alan, your post goes out to those who need to be reminded of this important message.  

Jul 08, 2019 03:40 PM #23
Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate

Good evening Alan May , this can't fix stupid. What an important message..glad someone reported it and made an example of it.

Jul 08, 2019 05:05 PM #24
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Great story, Alan May 

Our Code of Ethics says that Realtors are supposed to cooperate. That does not extend to discussing what to charge our clients. 

Jul 08, 2019 05:08 PM #25
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude


How dumb can you get? I know the answer!!

And here I thought you were going to talk about agents who don't stop talking, based on your title!



Jul 08, 2019 08:18 PM #26
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

I had to come back to this one just for the title and take another look. It’s really important The people don’t make rash decisions

Jul 08, 2019 11:39 PM #27
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

Jeff Dowler, CRS I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel like I’m taking things to another level,

Jul 08, 2019 11:41 PM #28
John Wiley
Fort Myers, FL
Lee County, FL, ECO Broker, GRI, SRES,GREEN,PSA

We have agents who know but don't think it will affect them.

We have agents who don't know.

Brokers should care and make sure their agents Know and Care.

Jul 09, 2019 04:32 AM #29
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

It's amazing there are always those that think no one is watching or paying attention. Heck, even the Russians know about Sherman anti trust act. 

Jul 09, 2019 05:57 AM #30
Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate - St. George, UT
So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR

You're right Alan, most likely nothing will come of it and is why the verbal purging pie holers keep blabbing away.

Jul 09, 2019 01:51 PM #31
Bob "RealMan" Timm
Ward County Notary Services - Minot, ND
Owner of Ward Co. Notary Services, retired Realtor

Congrats on the feature Alan May . I wish you would have linked to the Q that started it all.

Jul 09, 2019 02:51 PM #32
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi Alan May - Now I have to figure out where I can find some Pecan pie!  

Jul 10, 2019 05:46 AM #33
John Van Hogen
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Hillsboro, OR
Serving Sellers / Buyers / Investors 503-680-9390

So true Alan. And it's amazing at how many instances of interference by Realtors I've witnessed online...also a clear violation and cause for suspension/loss of license.

Jul 10, 2019 11:17 AM #34
Kevin J. May
Florida Supreme Realty - Hobe Sound, FL
Serving the Treasure & Paradise Coasts of Florida

If you play in the "sandbox" long enough it's inevitable that a few terds are going to show up. I enjoyed this post immensely Alan!

Jul 11, 2019 04:07 AM #35
Jim Smith
The Property Management Company - Round Rock, TX

I monitor several real estate pages on a few media sites; and, it is frightening how many times I see the fee discussion occur.  I have even removed myself from a couple of those sites so that there would be no 'guilt by association'.  When we see these discussions, it is our responsibility and duty to chime in and respond with a reminder to not discuss specific fees.

Jul 11, 2019 06:32 AM #36
Suzanne Strickler
Realty Mark Associates - Havertown, PA
School is never out for the Successful.

To whoever is monitoring...I'd like blueberry pie with fresh whipped cream.

Alan, you're a hoot!

Jul 11, 2019 11:19 AM #37
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