Unfortunately, when things get tough, it’s not socially acceptable to throw sand at our opponent.

About me: I’m impatient, antsy and funny. In this business, I’ve learned it takes all types of agents and clients to make the world turn. As real estate agents, when you’re in the trenches, playing nice in the sandbox with your clients and colleagues can seem like climbing a mountain without a harness.

What I’ve learned in the sandbox is this:

Do your work

Don’t rely on the other agent in the transaction to do your work. I once had an agent who emailed me after closing to ask if I could send them a copy of my file so they could get paid. Seriously? Earn your half of the commission split, and don’t make the other party involved in the sale chase you for paperwork like you just robbed a bank.

Occasional public opinion aside, we do a lot of work to get a transaction off the ground and to the closing table. It’s easy to become resentful or disgruntled. Do your part in the transaction, and do your own work.

Don’t hate; communicate

Ignoring phone calls and emails is not a good way to conduct your business. Not delivering news, an item of a critical nature, is unprofessional and can be disastrous. Whether it’s a listing or a property in escrow, I try diligently to communicate with all parties involved in my transactions at least once a week. I don’t succeed all the time, but I try my best to make sure that everyone knows I am still alive, breathing and know they exist.

Be classy, not sassy

An embarrassing moment in my career was when I screamed at the co-op agent with whom I was working on a transaction. To make matters even worse, this agent worked in my office. I let my frustration during a heated conversation take over, and I temporarily lost all the sanity and professionalism I had.

I should have been the bigger person and maintained control over the situation. My behavior compromised the rest of the transaction. If you feel frustration boiling over, talk to your broker or a colleague. Write a nasty email, but send it to yourself only. Do everything you can to keep yourself from crossing over to the dark side. Maintain your composure at all costs.


What does it mean to me? Treat others how you want to be treated; be kind. Yes, some people are nasty no matter what you do. Most are not. At the end of the day, we are all humans — not robots. Something I often forget. We are people with feelings, bad days and outside circumstances that sometimes overlap into our work lives. Try and put yourself in the other person’s shoes before snapping to judgment. Kindness goes a long way.

Fellow agents will fondly remember with whom they had an excellent experience. I know I do.

Kellie Tinnin is a real estate agent in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Follow Kellie on Twitter @KellieTinnin.

Email Kellie Tinnin.

Show Comments Hide Comments


Sign up for Inman’s Morning Headlines
What you need to know to start your day with all the latest industry developments
By submitting your email address, you agree to receive marketing emails from Inman.
Thank you for subscribing to Morning Headlines.
Back to top
Only 3 days left to register for Inman Connect Las Vegas before prices go up! Don't miss the premier event for real estate pros.Register Now ×
Limited Time Offer: Get 1 year of Inman Select for $199SUBSCRIBE×
Log in
If you created your account with Google or Facebook
Don't have an account?
Forgot your password?
No Problem

Simply enter the email address you used to create your account and click "Reset Password". You will receive additional instructions via email.

Forgot your username? If so please contact customer support at (510) 658-9252

Password Reset Confirmation

Password Reset Instructions have been sent to

Subscribe to The Weekender
Get the week's leading headlines delivered straight to your inbox.
Top headlines from around the real estate industry. Breaking news as it happens.
15 stories covering tech, special reports, video and opinion.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
Unique features from hacker profiles to portal watch and video interviews.
It looks like you’re already a Select Member!
To subscribe to exclusive newsletters, visit your email preferences in the account settings.
Up-to-the-minute news and interviews in your inbox, ticket discounts for Inman events and more
1-Step CheckoutPay with a credit card
By continuing, you agree to Inman’s Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

You will be charged . Your subscription will automatically renew for on . For more details on our payment terms and how to cancel, click here.

Interested in a group subscription?
Finish setting up your subscription