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South Florida Realtors Are Their Own Worst Enemies

Services for Real Estate Pros 0659282

What I am about to write is probably going to irritate a lot of realtors, especially in the South Florida area, but it is necessary to make my point.  I have been practicing since 1997 and over the years I have found that realtors in the South Florida area are their own worst enemy.  Don’t take this personally as my point is to better the profession by pointing out the bad in order for people to create something good.  This has been ignored for far too long.  

They are greedy, uneducated for the most part, unethical and treat each other with utter contempt.  Can I back this up?  Sure, but I think everyone reading this knows exactly what I am talking about anyway.  We rarely answer the phone anymore, keep relevant listing information to ourselves in order to keep commissions all to ourselves, don’t keep our clients informed the way they should be, drop commissions in order to garner a listing and then offer the lower side to the selling agent and make showing a property an absolute sh*@t show.  

Have I touched a nerve yet?  I know what you all are thinking already.  Here is a guy that has had a bad experience and is now taking it out on everyone.  No, I have had hundreds of bad experiences and now it’s time to call some people out.  

Should a realtor have some form of education other than a week in real estate school?  I think so, but apparently nobody else does because sellers never ask about an agent’s education.  All they are concerned with normally is how much this is going to cost them.  I don’t know about the rest of the country, but in Florida all you need is money to get a license.  That money is used to pay for the real estate school, licensing fees, testing and ridiculous board dues.  Therefore, the more agents you lock up the more money you make.  In Dade and Broward counties, for instance, there are approximately 40,000 realtors which equates to $40,000 in board dues alone.  So, in essence, you do NOT need to be a citizen of this country or this state, nor do you need to speak the language as the testing center will provide you with a test in your native language.  This same person now has a license and will sign up with a company that will issue them a 1099 and charge them for everything from a desk fee to insurance at ridiculous prices which the realtor will in turn pass on to the consumer in the form of a “processing fee”  as much as $500 so long as he or she closes a deal.  This person needs listings desperately to get off the ground so they cut commissions drastically thus creating a domino effect whereas others will follow in order to compete.

 If a college degree were required we could cut out a lot of unscrupulous agents and do our clients a great deal of justice in the process.  Less agents also mean better and more honest service.  But all of the capitalists out there would cry foul if ever implemented.  After all this is a free market.  It works for accountants though doesn’t it.  Don’t get me wrong, I am all about the “American Dream” and the fact that it should work for everyone, but in the end there has to be some kind of safeguard for the client so that they know they are getting the very best.  Where the degree comes from makes no difference.  I can’t fully expect everyone to get a degree, but shouldn’t getting a license be a little bit more stringent?  No wonder the general public likens us all to used car dealers.  

We have to oblige by a “code of ethnics” in order to practice, kind of like a doctor or lawyer, but I have yet to find anyone who really does or has been successfully prosecuted by the real estate commission or the board because a lost agent is lost revenue and it is up to the manager of the office they practice at to make that decision anyway.  Usually they don’t because that costs money too, so the so called “ethics” goes continually unchecked.  A great example is of greed is when an agent has a great listing that they know will sell quickly for top dollar and does so within days yet continues to show the property and string other agents along just in case the first deal falls apart.  They will even leave it on the MLS knowing that is unethical.  Or, they hold onto it before placing in the MLS in order to garner commission all to themselves.  That is all in good, but when the seller doesn’t know this then we have crossed over the the greedy unethical side.  

We may not be able to curb all of this misbehavior, but do we have to be so utterly rude to each other in the process?  It’s bad enough that we have to go through a ridiculous process of calling to no answer, but to make an appointment with “showing time” only to be rejected or get a text that the property has already sold when you are trying to do the right thing by your buyer is inexcusable.  I like to call and talk to a human in order to make absolutely sure the property is available and to find out if there is anything else I should know so that I don’t waste my time, but most of the time you will never get a call back.  When we do actually speak to each other our egos get in the way and we tend to communicate like we are on a throne simply because we have the listing.  We scream, insult and even badger each other to death simply because we can.  Then once we have had enough we skip over the listing because we can’t the abuse anymore, which in turn means our buyers cannot see something they may truly love.  

Then we lie on the rental side just to get a tenant in a property and use discrimination as a tool to keep from losing it.  Oh you won’t rent it to my client.  You are discriminating.  That his led to realtors asking for a copy of a tenant’s license in addition to paperwork and deposit in order to see what they look like and then using that as a weapon to turn someone away we don’t like.  Otherwise we all know that a license is not a requirement to make an offer.  

Rentals do not pay a lot so in order to make a living from it one has to resort to volume and we all know what that means, cutting corners.  We lie about a job, income or even identity simply to make the deal.  How do I know this?  Because I have been at the losing end of several of these transactions.  As a matter of fact, I have been screwed so many times by other realtors that I could be driving a Rivian by now.  But that is getting off course.  I am certain at this point you say it’s my fault for now vetting the renter or landlord, but there are times that no matter how much you do it may not be enough.  Case in point for listing side:  I take a listing for a rental not knowing that the owner/landlord is a drug dealer and the house is about to be seized.  We rent it, he collects three months up front and disappears.  Case in point on the rental side:  You rent a property to someone who practices in medicine illegally in the house and eventually gets busted.  How are we to know this may happen?  Or, you sign a lease for a couple and then another couple shows up at the walk-through.  You don’t know who is who anymore because you never met any of them in the first place.  On whichever side you are on as a realtor you have just been taken for a ride.  Why do I bring up all of these examples?  Because every single one of them has happened to me by realtors who just wanted to push a deal through without one bit of remorse for who they just shafted, realtor and owner alike.  

I have been to other states and found that for the most part they practice more professionally than here.  We can fix this if we start with the basic act of professionalism and kindness towards one another.  Answer your phone, speak on a a professional level without screaming, try to work things out without resorting to insults and threats, be honest in everything you do and educate yourself as much as possible.  Do these things and perhaps this profession will be a lot more tolerable and the public will look at us with a lot more respect because how can we expect that from the public  if we don’t even respect each other?






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Morris Massre