In real estate sales, how many homes we sell and how much money we make is the only measure of success. What many people don’t know is that it’s possible to be a jerk and make money too.

  • Giving top producers praise for selling and ignoring their bad habits makes everyone’s jobs harder and lowers the bar for real estate.

In real estate sales, how many homes we sell and how much money we make is the only measure of success. What many people don’t know is that it’s possible to be a jerk and make money too.

What we never discuss or write about are the real estate agents who make a lot of money but don’t always play nice or act professionally. I have run into some total jerks who are no. 1, and they sell houses like crazy all day long.

Lowering everyone’s expectations — and reputations

I keep lowering my expectations of the top agents who sometimes have habits that should not be imitated. I try not to feel disappointed when I encounter super mega agent who seems somewhat incompetent.

We help top producing jerks out by ignoring their less desirable habits and qualities and praising them for their ability to earn a lot of money. Their actions can make all of our jobs harder and hurt our reputations as service professionals.

Letting a new agent on the team work with homebuyers is pretty common. First-time homebuyers won’t notice the negligence and incompetence.

I see it on my end when the agent writes an offer on one of my listings, and we end up on the opposite side of negotiations. Buyers are a lot of work; the senior agent makes more money with listings, and to many, working with buyers is not a good use of time.

A couple of years ago, some clients of mine told me a story about how their agent, who is one of the top agents in my market, told them they did not need a radon inspection.

She said she had never heard of a house with radon in the neighborhood that she had been selling real estate in for 30 years. They said she seemed to be in a big hurry to get the “deal” done.

They believed her and skipped the radon test. When I represented them a couple of years later on the sale of the same home, the buyers did a radon test. Radon levels were high enough so that a radon mitigation system was needed.

There are probably low producers and under-achievers who have a lot of bad habits. I just don’t notice them as much because I don’t work with them often or at all.

One of the main differences between a list of good habits and bad habits of top agents is that none of the bad habits are expressed with buzz words, yet I’m sure someone can be “present” and still be a jerk.

12 bad habits of top producers

Here are just a few examples of the bad habits I’ve seen:

  1. Believing they don’t have to use the latest technology because they sell a lot of real estate. As a result, the rest of us end up helping them with the little things like getting them into our listings.
  2. Not responding to calls, text messages or emails from other agents.
  3. Having unsupervised assistants who don’t know how to do their jobs and end up asking other agents for help.
  4. Thinking rules only apply to the average producer.
  5. Assuming their time is too valuable to spend with buyers so they assign a new agent who is fairly clueless do all the work so they can avoid the drudgery.
  6. Writing sloppy ambiguous offers on last year’s legal forms.
  7. Sending a pre-listing packet, and giving speeches when meeting with homeowners rather than listening and answering questions.
  8. Believing that because they have had success in sales they can lead a team.
  9. Failing to keep on top of rules and contract changes, and doing things the way we used to do things.
  10. Bulldozing clients to speed things up and get decisions made quickly so they can move onto the next deal.
  11. Calling the biggest purchase of sale in most people’s lives a “deal” or “transaction.”
  12. Making selling real estate self-centered rather than client-focused.

Again, there are many wonderful agents, brokers, team leaders and assistants out there who are successful and are a joy to work with. They work hard, are courteous to other agents and treat their clients with respect.

Our clients don’t see what goes on behind the scenes. Often agents work together and come up with solutions to problems that will satisfy both buyer and seller.

How well we work together is important to our clients but not valued as highly in real estate companies as the ability to sell, sell, sell!

How can anyone wonder why real estate agents are not held in the highest regard by the general public? Sometimes we are even viewed as predatory, flashy and self-centered.

Teresa Boardman is a Realtor and broker/owner of Boardman Realty in St. Paul. She is also the founder of

Email Teresa Boardman

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