One year following the launch of Inman’s The Basics newsletter, our weekly dispatch of must-reads for new agents, we’ll spend the month of August digging deeper into what it takes to survive against the odds as a new agent in a tough market.

They know (or think they know) all the latest gossip. They enforce the HOA regulations. They’ll call the authorities for the slightest perceived infraction. And they’re sure they know more about real estate (and everything else) than you do — especially when you’re a new agent. Her name is Karen. His name is (probably) Ken.


From the know-it-all colleague to the insufferable client, we asked you to tell us about your worst experience with a Karen (or Ken). What qualifications did they have for their opinion or did they just make it up as they went along? Did they attempt to be (passive-aggressively) nice or just straight-up ask to speak to your manager? Here’s just one of your stories.

  • Honestly, it’s generally the agent or agents on the other side of the deal who end up as “Karens” — being defensive, argumentative, unresponsive, unprofessional, unethical, etc. I”ve had an agent demand feedback on a listing I showed where the listing agent didn’t even come to do the bare minimum, like open the doors and turn on the lights. I work in a city where there are many condos, so you sometimes have to figure out where to go; often apartments are not numbered so you’re playing a guessing game. Then, the listing agent is hounding you for feedback. My response is “If you’d like feedback, I provide it at the time of the showing in person.” I understand that sometimes things come up and an agent is unable to show, but come on people, how would your seller feel if they knew that they were paying you a solid commission and you’re not even “selling” the home? Perhaps not a typical “Karen” behavior, but still an epidemic in real estate today. Laziness. 

Now it’s your turn. Share your stories in the comments below.

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