Cleveland Carole The Realtor® Does Not Feel Like A Stereotype To Me

Real Estate Agent with Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office

My pal Linda Davis and I banter back and forth about politics. We are rarely of the same political philosophy but good friendships survive that! Linda says I am Carole The Realtor® This tag has been blogged about on Active Rain (social network for the real estate profession)  over the last few weeks but I have my own take due to public perception about agents.  And it still ain't pretty. Our company, Howard Hanna,  bought Realty One/Real Living over the past few days. Shaheen Samovati from the Plain Dealer has been on top of it, she's a sharp cookie and a good writer. She did a story about it here. The PD columns get a lot of strange commentary, but since this time it was about real estate, it hit home. You can go read all the comments but here is an excerpt from one:

"For the most part, Realtors are the laziest and least ethical people out there, doing everything to make a commission for themselves without regard for the homeowner. Do yourself a favor, don't list with a realtor. Whatever you think your home is worth, lower it by 10% - 15% and sell it without the hassles."

Brokers and agents like Linda Davis have written about what we really do as have a lot of you. Still, stereotypes persist. Carole The Realtor® doesn't feel like a stereotype to me. Why?

  1. Greed and only working for the commission is not part of my equation. Yes I need to make a living just like Sally the Secretary and Diana The Grocery Manager. But there is no greed in wanting to pay my bills and keep up my house.

  2. Unlike Joe the Plumber I could not buy a business this year for $250k nor would anyone give me a loan to do it. And this with having a steady stream of business for quite some time now.  

 3. I don't snark at other brokers or agents from other brokerages. I don't try to steal their clients either.    

 4. I don't only show my own listings and I don't only market listings to agents in my company.  

 5. I DO network with other agents and have great relationships with people in other brokerages.  

 6. I have never tried to cut another agent out of a deal, held back offers from clients so one of my clients could buy the house instead or any other strange behavior of the same ilk.  And frankly in six years in this business I have only ever seen maybe two or three agents who are like this.  

There are bad peaches in every bunch (and don't ya hate when that happens) but this is true whether or not you are dealing with real estate, telephone companies, grocers, or any other business!   What is my career really about and what do I do all day? I learn! Agents are like investigative reporters. What do I investigate and learn?  

 1. The history of neighborhoods, how each one came to be.  Maybe a factory is close by and therefore housing for the workers sprung up like flowers in a garden back in the day. Maybe there was an active religious institution; a school; maybe it's on the transit line. Who chose to live where and why, back in the day, is fascinating to me. I wind up at the library a lot because of some tidbit of info I've found out in the different ‘hoods.  

 2. I ferret out what's vibrant in each of our neighborhoods. Is there a long time hardware store or bakery? The Brothers Lounge was dormant in one of our neighborhoods for a few years.  Now Cudell Edgewater residents (and people from all over the city) are ecstatic that it re-opened.  Gordone Square Streetscaping is happening in Detroit Shoreway and the Capital Theatre will be open in about six months. That neighborhood is becoming more vibrant by the minute. And the tid bits go on and on.

 3. Real estate nuances. Why is one street more sought after than the one right next to it? Why would a house sell more near a transit station and one on the other side of the community not?  

 4. Government regulations and how they play out in house sales and house market values. Do you have to have a city point of sale inspection if you sell your house? Are you going to be a landlord? Do you know you need an inspection? Did you know the city will come out and do a weatherization checklist for you to help you save on fuel costs? There is a lot to learn that is helpful to buyers of homes.

  5. Through many people/clients I have learned how to refinish floors with boat paint, where the best (insert culture) restaurants are that people of that culture frequent. Where there is a leather tailor to fix my briefcases or purses or coats. Where are their neighborhood block clubs and where are the dog parks?

  6. What communities have point of sale inspections and which ones don't.  Which communities have land banks of vacant land and how they can be purchased and who to contact.  

7. Sometimes I even find out what companies are hiring in a community, which ones aren't.  What cool new business has moved into a neighborhood. (We have one person who makes ‘thingies' for guitars and has a patented way to keep strings from needing to be tuned as much. Keith Richards, among others, buys this stuff from him). Where are the best independent coffee shops? All of these things make for a vibrant neighborhood. I get to learn where they are in each community. And then I get to pass this information on to folks looking to buy a home.  

 8. Something different every day.  This is not an exaggeration. Every single day. If you get right down to it, almost every job allows us to learn something every week, challenge ourselves. But in real estate I get to do it every single day. Being somewhat geeky that makes me feel even better about getting up and going to work every day. Probably helps keep me young too!  

 Agents are like matchmakers.  I keep thinking about that. We help match up clients to homes. I always have ideas running around in my brain and one of them is to set up monthly meet ups for agents of every brokerage so we can talk with each other and find out who has clients that might be good for our listings and vice versa. God knows we all work hard and taking time off is difficult so why not match up a social event with some good work networking? This may sound like a digression (lol) but it's not. Because being an agent allows me to think up creative ideas.  

They may or may not work, but throwing the ideas out there for sure can't hurt. We all do this, and isn't that another wonderful side benefit to our careers?   This week, I look forward to welcoming, one on one, agents from Real Living who will be working under the same umbrella brokerage as I am, and celebrating the fact that I can count on thinking about or learning something new every day. And hopefully matching up a few people to homes. There really is no stereotype to our career is there?  Peace Out - 3C

Comments (23)

Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

LOL George it's a good thing we don't take these things personally yes? lol.  I'm in it for the office coffee LOL (not!)

Nov 06, 2008 09:45 AM
chris schlenkerman
howard hanna - Cleveland, OH

Carole - glad to hear you're not REALLY in it for the filtered topsoil b/c we were gonna get Starbucks but now i know it's not needed. 

Nov 06, 2008 01:49 PM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

lol @ Chris. You mean it's not Starbucks? Now you tell me!

Nov 06, 2008 02:06 PM
David M. Childress
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Akron, OH
I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio!

Hi fellow HH Realtor!! I went to bed Red last Friday and woke up Green! What a week that was!

I also posted in the PD article because I was furious at the lunatic who hates Realtor's. He obviously has an agenda and spewed it out at us. I took it personally and answered him as did several others. This is an excellent post and I voted to have it featured!

Nov 11, 2008 10:03 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Hi David and welcome aboard!

You know, every post that allows comments on the PD gets a slew if (how can I say this kindly) venom -- but this one was really hitting home.  I am glad you commented, I did see some good rebuttal on there.  Good job!

Nov 11, 2008 10:06 AM
David M. Childress
Howard Hanna Real Estate Services - Akron, OH
I would love to be your Realtor® in Akron Ohio!

Thank you Carole, I got quite a few emails and phone calls from Howard Hanna agents last week (due to AR probably) and they made a huge difference in my state of mind of not being with RO any longer. I want to thank all of you for your kindness and for just thinking of us and understanding what we went through. God bless all of you and I know we will all benefit because of your (my) leaderships forward thinking!

Nov 11, 2008 10:59 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

David, both of our companies are based in training and professionalism so we feel great about having you and your colleagues on board. I remember when we went from being Smythe Cramer to Howard Hanna, I had some trepidation because it was not a known entity and a brand change. It would be impossible for you not to feel some of that too.  I hope we can make your transition as easy as possible.

Looking forward to learning new things from all of you!

Nov 11, 2008 11:23 AM
Larry D. McGee, CRS, CRB


It is unfortunate but true that most humans stereotype other humans.  Your reference to the local rag (the PD) and a particularly ignorant writers stereotypical comments on Realtors is a just one more case of stupid journalists writing of things they know nothing about.  Having been repeatedly and often misquoted by reporters in the local Denver papers, I recently dropped out, and sent a press release to both dailies not to call me again.  I think the newspaper reporters and editors of today are hacks, and are just angry and fearful that they may soon lose their jobs because they have become not relevant.  Look soon for my post the Security of Relevance, inspired by your noticing and commenting on that term in my Active Rain post.

Nov 22, 2008 11:05 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Hi Larry, and you coined that phrase, the security of relevance and it was a V8 moment for me.  I love it. As for the stereotypes, it continues to baffle me about how badly people view those of us in real estate. As for the rags, yes, our local paper continually writes stories without (mostly) much depth and they don't even add links as we are prone to do in blogging so people can investigate further.

We do have a real estate blogger with the Plain Dealer who does a good job.  I guess that's something in a shallow sea of journalism!

I await your post!

Nov 22, 2008 11:12 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Everyone should really head over to Larry's recent post on the loss of a job and how many other people it winds up affecting.

Nov 22, 2008 11:14 AM
James Wexler - Scottsdale, AZ

arguably, and I say this with some hesitation, we , as realtors were probably overpaid and underworked druring the boom years, now, we are underpaid and overoworked , it will be natural to have some anger sent our way as many who bought homes are bearing the brundt of the loss

Nov 23, 2008 02:22 AM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Hi James, thanks for making some thoughtful comments. I saw it earlier and have been thinking about it while cleaning my house lol.  I've been trying to think back to the last six yrs and how the process went during the less lean yrs. Truthfully, I just had a different set of challenges. Maybe it meant writing an offer on a few different homes for the same buyer because there were multiple offers.

Since more of my buyersr were using mortgage lenders I had never heard of, I found myself working hard to make sure things went right.

And for whatever reason, the closings (except short sales) go much smoother - at least over the last 12 months.  I have one that is a mess at the moment that has nothing to do with the market situation and everything to do with a lender who has been less than forthcoming and changed terms three days before closing. 

So I don't know. For sure it was easier to sell homes in higher price ranges on a steady basis. By that I mean more than 85k LOL. 

I think you bring up a point that is worth repeating and expanding on.  Since this is one of the biggest investments our clients make, if we are sloppy or lazy or cause it to not go smoothly for the clients, well, I think it sets us up for instant bad reps. And like you said, maybe that part is as it should be.

I had one client five yrs ago who bought after I showed him one home.  This past week I wrote an offer for a client on just one home seen; in between, not reallyl any difference in work! lol


Nov 23, 2008 09:47 AM
Tim Ludemann
Ochopee, FL

Carole - Great pionts about not being the stereo typical agent...i could careless what other agents clients that is another story...Great job!

Dec 30, 2008 08:57 AM
Karen Kruschka
RE/MAX Executives - Woodbridge, VA
- "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS"

Carole  My husband and I have been in this business for 33 years.  If we were lazy and greedy I doubt if we would have survived this long.  Your post is really well done and should let the public know in your area that you are a "cut above" the crowd.  Karen

Jan 08, 2009 01:17 AM
Terry Miller
Miller Homes Group - Tyler, TX
Miller Homes Group and Tyler Apartment Locator

Great post. Hey I like your blog but you have not posted in a while. Hope 2009 is great for you.

Terry Miller

Jan 09, 2009 03:34 AM
Maggie Dokic | Miami, FL | 888.883.8509 X101
eXp Realty LLC - Miami, FL
GREEN, CDPE, SFR, Pinecrest | Palmetto Bay |

Contessa, I knew there were many things I liked about you.  =)  Your integrity tops the list.


Jan 16, 2009 02:34 PM
Nancy Lohman
Highlands Ranch, CO

What a great blog! You have class with a capital C.  It is unfortunate that people get the wrong impression of what we do. 

Nov 14, 2009 11:45 PM
Carole Cohen
Howard Hanna Cleveland City Office - Cleveland, OH
Realtor, ePRO

Hi Nancy, thanks for your kind words.  It's a shame so many people can't get past the stereotype. In fact I've seen a few TV shows this year that add to the 'view.'  And I was not happy lol.  Hope things are going well in Toledo! 

Nov 15, 2009 02:51 AM
Ontario Mortgage

I really love this blog and this community.  Never mind what the people say, as long as we are happy of what we are doing.  Its all that matters :)

Ontario Mortgage

Mar 06, 2010 03:11 AM
James A. Browning
Browning Real Estate School/REO Institute - International, IT
MRE REOCertified(R) SSCertified

Good post, how is the market in Cleveland, is there more REOs than SS? It the current market improving? James

Aug 10, 2012 03:36 AM