Real estate agents fall into two broad categories: those who are in it for the commissions and treat the clients as numbers, and those who put the client’s best interests first, even if it means not earning a commission. Here are 10 telltale signs you’re suffering from commission breath.

You may have hit the mouthwash this morning to avoid having bad breath, but are your clients still holding their noses because you suffer from commission breath?

Real estate agents fall into two broad categories: those who are in it for the commissions and treat the clients as numbers, and those who put the client’s best interests first, even if it means not earning a commission.

Commission breath can hit without warning. You need to start using “Commissterine if you are an agent who:

1. Delivers the ‘me-me-me, sign-here’ listing appointment

These agents walk into a listing appointment and explain how great they are, how many houses they have sold and then say, “sign here.” Their only goal is to get the listing signed and then leave as quickly as possible without regard to questions or issues that the seller may have.

2. Focuses more on the money, than the client

These agents look at the real estate sale as a piece of inventory that needs to be moved with little regard to the human side of the transaction.

They ignore fears their clients may have about the transaction not closing, the difficulties associated with moving and how having a property on the market disrupts their clients’ lives and stresses them out. These agents track houses sold, not families served.

3. Over-promises and under-delivers

This type of commission breath often sneaks up on agents. The agent goes on a listing appointment and explains all the great marketing services and things he or she will do to get the seller’s property sold. These agents mean to do all of those things, but don’t ever get around to doing all that they promised.

4. Lies or does whatever it takes to get the deal

Unlike the agents who at least intend to provide service, these agents have no compunction about telling lies or saying whatever it takes to get the listing signed or to close the deal. If someone else has an issue, who cares?

5. Takes the listing and disappears until it’s time to collect a check

This is one of the most common types of commission breath. Sellers routinely complain that they haven’t seen their agent since they signed the listing. Other telltale symptoms include their listing agent isn’t notifying them about showings or providing them with reports about the market activity on their property.

6. Omits important facts

Agents like this know there’s an issue with the property that needs to be disclosed, but because the sellers and buyers seem to be unaware of it, they keep their mouth closed. If the buyers can’t figure it out from their own inspections, that’s their problem.

7. Relies on the other agent to do all the work

These agents can be inexperienced, new or just plain lazy. Half the people who hold licenses didn’t close a deal last year. Most of these agents haven’t got a clue when it comes to solving transaction problems.

In fact, the only way the deal will close will be if there’s a competent agent on the other side who steps in to do what it takes to close the transaction.

8. Never says ‘thank you’

These agents never say “thank you” to their clients for their business, to the listing agent who changes his or her schedule to accommodate a showing or to any of the other people involved in the transaction.

After all, these people are just doing their job — what’s the big deal about that?

9. Fails to stay in touch after closing

This type of commission breath hurts the agent the most. In my experience, agents who fail to stay in contact with past clients have an attrition rate of 20 percent a year.

In other words, each year, 20 percent of these agents’ referral database will be contacting a different agent the next time they want to list or sell a property, simply because that first agent fell off the client’s radar.

10. They go to the highest bidder

One of the most surprising findings from the California Association of Realtors WomanUP! research is that the top women brokers who have been in business for 20 years or more generally will not hire someone with commission breath.

They have no issue with a commission-breathed agent going to another company who is willing to pay them more. The way they spot this during an interview is that the agent’s first question is, “What’s your commission split?”

Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP ( and, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at and her new agent sales training at

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