Are ya gonna blackball me?

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The other day, I was informed by a seller that a local real estate company may be blackballing our listing!

My hubby and I just listed my brother-in-law's mother's home in an adult community. There is a real estate company that only works within that community. As a result many of the listings are represented by them.

 Our seller hired a local handyman to perform some repairs on the home and he expressed his concern that she had not listed with the "other real estate company." "Oh, you shouldn't have listed with Turnbloom. The rest of the agents are going to blackball your listing and refuse to show it to their clients! You'll never get it sold!

This is not the first time I've heard vicious rumors of listings being "blackballed" for one stupid reason or another.  But is there such a thing? And is it something we all should be worried about?

Here's my take on it and what we explained to our seller;

If you were a buyer's agent, and that buyer absolutely, positively wanted to see our listing (which is priced pretty damn well, I might add!), AND was ready, willing and able to write an offer, would you REFUSE to show the home?

How about this, if your client wanted to write up an offer on our listing, would you REFUSE and recommend the buyer write an offer with someone else?

I don't know too many agents representing buyers who would pass the opportunity to put bread on their table and pay bills (especially in a market like this!).

For all the "blackballing" rumors I've heard over the years, I believe properties will still sell, as long as there is a willing buyer and seller.

I find agents who "blackball" are usually the ones who need a sale in the worst way (nothing like shootin' yourself in the foot!).

Do you worry your being blackballed and not allowed into the club? Do you think there really is such a thing as blackballing? Or is just another urban myth used to keep all of us in the real estate industry "in line"?


Comments (57)

Heidi Krone
REMAX 1st Olympic - Forest, VA
ABR, GRI - Lynchburg, Forest, Appomattox, Amherst, Bedford
Diane Unbelievable are we not adults in the game or real estate. I have not run into to that in our area.I also think that we do not do service to our clients or customers by only showing luck... priced correctly any property will sale. Heidi
Jun 25, 2008 03:58 PM
Roland Woodworth
eXp Realty - Clarksville, TN
eXp Realty

Diana: Gove me a Buyer is is Ready, Willing and Able... I will show and sell them what ever they are interested in seeing.

Jun 25, 2008 04:30 PM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

Diana, I beleive this practice is an antitrust violation.

Antitrust violations: Any  business activity where there is a monopoly, a contract, a conspiracy, or a combination that negatively impacts an individual's or a company's ability to do business.

Jun 25, 2008 04:39 PM
Derenda Grubb
CENTURY 21 Mike D. Bono & Co.'s - Lake Charles, LA


Blackballing, like other negative practices rarely occur.  The issue is that when they do, they are so offensive and astounding to us, that it seems larger than life.  Great  post.

Jun 25, 2008 04:42 PM
Wayne B. Pruner
Oregon First - Tigard, OR
Tigard Oregon Homes for Sale, Realtor, GRI

I have not heard of this practice in my area. Even an agent with a bad rep gets their listing showed if it is a nice property.

Jun 25, 2008 04:46 PM
Christy Powers
Keller Williams Coastal Area Partners - Pooler, GA
Pooler, Savannah Real Estate Agent

The client always comes first. The other companies hurt feelings that they lost one listing should not prevent them from showing your listing.

Jun 25, 2008 04:53 PM
Carolyn Gjerde-Tu-Davis
Lyon Real Estate - Davis, CA
Ca Real Estate

My guess is that there is no true blackballing taking place, there may be a company that has a larger market share, but the majority of agents will likely show whatever listing works best for the client. 

Jun 25, 2008 05:54 PM
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

We have seen this happen where a home gets blacklisted. It's not right, but it does seem to happen in different areas.

Jun 25, 2008 07:43 PM
Allison Stewart
St.Cloud Homes - Saint Cloud, FL
St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904

Does the term "Co-Operating Broker" mean anything?  If it is priced well and you do a good job of marketing it, it will get sold. Either by you, or a cooperating agent who has a desire to eat.  I wouldn't worry so much about what the rumors going around are...I would instead be working on my marketing campaign to achieve the fastest sale.  What better way to let your professionalism shine through than succeeding inthe face of adversity! 

Good luck and Sell Well!

Jun 25, 2008 10:18 PM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

 I had to read this and see where you were from...Blackball..oh yicks..! We had one brokerage that used to be almost always the exclusive listing agent in an area...when we did some homework we found out that they were really keeping the prices artificially low (this was a few years ago) as a result the homeowners who listed with them were really paying the price.  You may learn some things about the "exclusive broker" that are not to the benefit of these homeowners...that would sound, at least from midwestern standards like an illegal no- no.

Jun 25, 2008 11:56 PM
Kathy Anderson
Arizona Luxury & Lifestyle Living - Cave Creek, AZ
Arizona Homes For Sale, Sun City Grand

Blackballing does not serve a buyer client very well.  Even if I don't like an agent or broker, if the property is what my client is looking for, than I wouldn't be doing my job if I didn't show it to them.

Jun 26, 2008 02:56 AM
Diana Turnbloom - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

To All! Thanks for all your comments. It's amazing how many of us work in areas where the blackball myth rears it's ugly head sometimes. I'm in agreement with all of you. Doesn't matter how hard agents try to blackball listings, if the property is priced AND marketed well, it will sell! BTW-We are receiving an offer on the property today--One of the agents in the dominant company is bringing it in.

As for blackballing a listing due to commissions, some of you were on the fence with this. I don't really see any difference.  Although Andrew in Canada had a very interesting way of resolving the issue by asking the buyer to make up the difference and notifying them in advance. Here in NorCal we don't use Buyer's Broker's Agreeements.

A good lessson to learn and share with your listing prospects when another agent brings up the 'b' word!

Jun 26, 2008 05:23 AM
Clark Garrison
Taylor 1 INC - Atlanta, GA
"Loan Modifications"

We've all experienced "blakballing" in one way or another. I'm glad to see you ignored this situation and kept your head above water! Good for you!

Jun 26, 2008 06:05 AM
Don Fabrizio-Garcia
Fab Real Estate - Danbury, CT
Owner/Broker/Trainer - Fab Real Estate

Diana - Having lived and sold real estate in Walnut Creek for several years, I know the community and the agency you are referring to.  Apparently, they also don't like it when agents from other firms show their listings, either.  I wonder if that has changed now that the market has changed?

And, if they're silly enough to blackball your listing, then that's their loss.  Other agents will show it.

Jun 26, 2008 12:06 PM
Patrick Johnson
Windermere - Bellingham, WA

I would Run, not walk to the MLS and notify them of what you know. I agree with the post above also reagarding marketing it to death and holding opens every week just to make sure people have a chance to see it.

Jun 26, 2008 12:17 PM
Jack Climer
Jack Climer Realty, LLC - Springfield, MO

The ball that I understand is baseball, and it is ball played with a team concept, enjoy the game.

Jun 27, 2008 01:22 AM
Brendan Murphy
Raving Real Estate - Laramie, WY
Broker, CRS, GRI, ASP, e-Pro

What's that Chinese saying about revenge and how you should dig TWO graves?

This is not how to conduct business, but I suppose it happens.  Personally, I'd rather focus on how to get or stay ahead of other agents.  Big firms DO have power but they are not above the code of ethics. 

I liked the "JUST LISTED" postcard idea.  If you are really worried, spend $200 on postcards, beat the drum a little louder.  This blackball talk makes an incorrect assumption:  that buyers are dumb.  They are not, they are smarter and more capable than ever with the internet, so such a concept reveals a VERY outdated agent.  Back in the days when agents had all the info, yes blackballing could occur and work I suppose.  But now, it's a paper tiger; an empty threat.

Just do business the right way and don't look back, let them waste their time and hurt their reputations with such drivvel.

Jun 27, 2008 03:10 PM
Li Read, RE/MAX Salt Spring, B.C., Canada

This does happen!     I live in a secondary home marketplace, and sometimes sellers will choose a realtor in a nearby city, assuming that they may have a larger buyer base.    Some local realtors refuse to show a property listed with a non-local realtor, even though they can act as the buyer's agent.    These same realtors, though, won't show listings with some other local realtors, so I just assume the whole thing is another example of "jealousy, envy, and spite", those three uglies, who often appear when a realtor acts out of fear.     It's an interesting biz, and attracts all personality types, it seems.     These same fear-based realtors, though, usually are gone from the biz within a certain timeframe.    Thanks for the post!


Li Read, RE/MAX Salt Spring, B.C., Canada

Jun 28, 2008 07:39 AM
Diana Turnbloom - Martinez, CA
The Leading Expert in TC Services & Education

Hey thanks y'all for your kind words of encouragement! I believe the black ball rumors are just that, rumors. Buyer's now have enough access to information that they will locate the property on their own. Those agents who blackball are simply losing out on opportunities to put food on their table and offer GREAT representation for their client. This property DID go under contract after a couple of weeks on the market and is closing soon! Hah! 

Aug 07, 2008 03:25 AM

I have to say I am new to the area (Clarksville) and HAVE heard of such a practice. I encourage realtors to "blackball" realtors who are not fair and have a bad reputation. When your reputation is on the line dealing with them, you need to protect yourself.
I have heard nothing but bad things about Top Flight and unfortunately, rent from them. They are horrible and so far, three realtors have complained to me about their practices. They need to be blackballed. They lie, are slumlords and more. They rent properties that are not depicted accurately online and delete work orders. They charge realtors to get a key to show a property! They are really weird and unprofessional.

Aug 14, 2014 04:17 AM