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Thoughts on Professional Conduct



The truth is, getting a real estate license is far too easy. There are over two million real estate licensees in the United States and generally between five and six million homes sold each year. If you do the math, that’s less than three transactions per licensed person each year. Obviously the allocation of homes sold per agent is far more skewed, the allocation is more likely to be along the lines of Pareto’s 80/20 rule, where 20% of the agents do 80% of the business. As a betting man, I’d wager it's closer to 90/10. That said, the point remains, there are tons of real estate agents out there with a majority of the work being completed by the most competent, committed, full-time real estate agents, who generally have, if nothing else, this one thing in common: an above average level of professional conduct.


That’s not to say there aren’t exceptions. Like in any industry, there are jerks that make it to the top of their field, often as a result of them being jerks. You will undoubtedly have to manage a transaction with one of these jerks all the while wondering how on earth people work with them...well, the answer is there are some jerk buyers and sellers too, who seek out the jerk real estate agent because they think a “bulldog” is what they’re looking for when it comes to selling a house. Sometimes, it’s as simple as misjudging someone.


The weakness associated with the “bulldog” or jerk orientation of the brokerage business, particularly in small towns, is that reputations are built and spread quickly. At some point, the local real estate community will peg such people as what they are and stop supporting them, simply by blackballing them. Brokers can be a tribal group, as evidenced by the National Association of Realtors being one of the most powerful lobbying bodies on the planet, and they’ll take it upon themselves to stop showing someone’s listings (arguably as a duty to their client), turn the offender into their local association or MLS service at every opportunity and generally speak ill of them. While I don’t condone such behavior in response to jerks, facts are facts and such things happen.

The more important weakness associated with being a jerk is, simply, being a jerk. One of the purposes behind this writing is identifying ways to raise your level of professional success all the while enjoying a balanced, happy life and being a jerk is in direct conflict with that, so we’ll pursue behavior that is just the opposite.