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Pulse is a recurring column where we ask for readers’ takes on varying topics in a weekly survey and report back with our findings.

Last week, Inman’s Christy Murdock laid out a list of seven things that make real estate agents look unprofessional online. From an outdated headshot to no headshot to a total lack of online presence, it’s a guide to putting your best face forward in the digital world. Of course, professionalism (or a lack thereof) is important everywhere — on social media, on the phone and face-to-face.


So it made us wonder: What’s the most unprofessional thing you’ve seen a fellow real estate agent do? Did they show out (or forget to show up) for an open house or closing day? Did they use salty language or post something unbelievably vulgar on social media? Did they present themselves in a way that was over the top (and not in a good way) in their marketing or in the media?

Here are your best stories (without naming names):

Editor’s note: These responses were given anonymously and, therefore, are not attributed to anyone specifically. Responses were also edited for grammar and clarity. Inman doesn’t endorse any specific method and regulations may vary from state to state.

  • Attending closing in shorts, T-shirt and gym shoes.
  • Have only a cursory knowledge of real estate processes and procedures.
  • Not responding to text, email or phone calls is on the top of my list. Otherwise, I think the reason I work in real estate is because I can mostly do anything I want as long as it is legal.
  • Yelled at another agent at a closing.
  • Can you imagine hearing an agent talk about the final walkthrough scheduling in the same five-minute conversation as advising their client that they didn’t have to pay their credit card payments because the loan was already approved? Yep. It happened. Buyer didn’t get their house. Who you work with matters.
  • An agent was routinely calling me with his seller silently listening. I was suspicious, given the way he ranted about how great his seller was (he wasn’t). And then, one day, they accidentally unmuted themselves in the background. For a multitude of reasons outside of that, the deal fell apart. But I know that agent is unethical and have shared his behavior with other agents, so they are aware.
  • Sent an email saying the seller would replace the pool pump and another email saying the pool guy was replacing it the day before inspection period was up, then ghosting me when I asked if I could go and verify. Then when, I did go on the last day of inspection to check, she stood in the driveway asking what I was doing there. Then, when told her I was there to check if the pool pump was replaced, she says, “You are not allowed on the property.” I asked again, “Was the pool pump replaced?” She says, “You are trespassing; the owner wants you to leave.” I say again, “You told me the pool guy replaced it yesterday; did it get replaced?” She replied, “You are a bully; I am going to call the cops. You are trespassing.” Then I say, “I’m a bully. Seriously? Can you tell me if the pool pump was replaced?” She then yells, “Get off the property. I am calling the cops” as I was standing in the street. I guess I got my answer, and it had not been replaced. I had to get her broker involved, and we finally got it resolved, but that was nuts! I will avoid this agent like the plague, and, oddly, she is a mega listing agent. I don’t know how she has stayed in the business with behavior like that.
  • In Connecticut, everyone works together to get a deal closed. Buyer’s agent, listing agent, lender and attorney are always in communication. I was told by a Rhode Island broker who had a buyer’s agent working with one of my listings in Connecticut that I was not allowed to talk to his lender. I told him that would never be the case and continued doing my job.
  • I recently had a Rhode Island broker allowing his agents, who are not licensed in Connecticut, showing my homes in Connecticut. He literally set up ShowingTime to reflect his name but the unlicensed agents’ contact info so it looked like he was doing the showing. I called him out on it, and he basically said he didn’t care — that it should work that way. OMG, I don’t know how some people have their license.

From Instagram:

  • An agent sent me a mirror photo of her with her pants pulled down. We were in the middle of negotiations … super weird.
  • Showed up to my showing that I scheduled and decided she was the buyer’s agent.
  • Lying to the seller just to get the listing instead of sticking with the facts and providing real data!
  • There are so many agents doing horrific videos, making fun of properties that aren’t even their listings and doing other such nonsense that actually violates the code of ethics. Beyond that, personally, I gave a referral to an agent. I found out more than five years later that she had closed it and never paid me a referral fee, so, therefore, past the statute of limitations. She will always be in my blackballed list.
  • Changing their buyer’s offer price after it was electronically signed — to win on a multiple offer situation. And then when they won, tried every tactic to get the sellers (and me) to drop price to what their offer had been — but without telling the buyers what he did. I discovered the falsified offer and turned him in to his broker. We ended up canceling the contract and keeping the binder deposit and required a letter from the buyers stating they did not know their agent had falsified their offer.
  • Leave a showing with people touring the house locked inside. Didn’t even slow his roll out of the driveway.
  • I worked with an agent who didn’t believe my two female clients were married and demanded to see their marriage license! Of course, she didn’t get to see it. She was extremely rude throughout the whole transaction and said she was going to report me to the division for sticking up for my clients. I reported her to her broker.
  • There was a thread on this very profile with a ton of agents making majorly homophobic comments against a class of people who are protected by the laws of Fair Housing. That was pretty wild. Just a couple of weeks ago, right here on this page. A sight to behold. Screenshots abounded.
  • Buyer’s agent asked if they could take out carpet in listing that we were in contract on before escrow closed; we said no. They took it out anyway.
  • Dress unprofessionally.
  • A competitive listing agent was told by the seller that he did not select him and gave the agent my phone number. That agent began calling me to get a “pre-listing tour” for a buyer he had. I said he could show on Monday at noon. I listed it and went live Monday at 10 a.m. He showed up — alone — with a listing agreement AS I WAS putting the lockbox on the door. I said, “Oh good. You’re here early. You can be the first to test our lockbox now that we’re live.” 🐍
  • A still active agent wasn’t satisfied with the pace of our military buyers’ loan was going, so she called into the VA and pretended to be our high-ranking buyer. It was a national security issue!😂😂😂😂 Her seller was a lawyer and had encouraged her to do this .. once he realized the trouble that could come back on him, he called us to blame her … it was insane but absolutely nothing happened to her.
  • Easy … cell phone photos, not using video marketing, not paying for advertising, either putting wrong info in the listing or leaving almost everything blank, putting zero effort into getting their listing sold. These poor sellers might as well have just done FSBO if that is the level of service they’re getting. But that’s what happens when the focus is on handing licenses out to anyone with a pulse and following some arbitrary code of ethics instead of setting a high standard on how to professionally serve our clients who are paying thousands of dollars in commission.
  • This one stands out to me: An agent showed up in his swim trunks to open the door of his listing and accompany the showing … he was coming from his own pool.
  • An agent showing my listing got into a screaming match shouting profanities at her boyfriend on the phone after her clients left. The neighbor filmed it through the open backdoor and sent it to me, and I had to go escort her off the property. She lied about it, of course, but didn’t know it was filmed. Unbelievable.
  • Posted a video to Instagram slowly getting in a pool (from behind and with attention to the bending over part) in a bathing suit that showed almost EVERYTHING. So embarrassing. Don’t confuse stripping and helping clients.
  • When doing the final walk-through of my listing (a couple days before closing due to the buyers’ insistence on not waiting until the day prior), the buyer’s secretly unlocked the back door after I had already locked it. A few hours later, I saw a moving truck parked in front of the house and movers carrying furniture inside the garage. I raced down the street with the sellers on the phone. (They had already moved out and into their new home about an hour away) saying that their alarm had been triggered.

What the buyers didn’t know was that I lived just down the same street and could see this house from my front yard. Turns out, the buyer’s agent (who was MIA during thr entire contract process) had supposedly advised his clients that they could move all of their belongings in, prior to the closing, but without asking or notifying anyone on the seller’s side!?!?!

I later learned about them unlocking the back door during our walkthrough and coming back later to jump the fence and go inside the house so they could start moving in! They were shocked when I showed up and caught them hanging out inside, eating a pizza while their movers were working. Their Realtor played even dumb, and they refused to leave, so I called the police for breaking and entering. The buyers’ only argument was pulling up a copy of the sales contract on their phone and the cops were not having it. SO CRAZY!!

And from Facebook:

  • Good Lord, I have a gang load after 18+ years in the industry. Especially starting out as an executive admin, you’re treated like dirt. Hands down worst was someone who was prominent showing up to another local agent’s memorial, who was beyond loved as the facility was overflowing, and did a video for social media from outside the memorial about how suicide is wrong and for the weak. The agent had committed suicide, and their family member was simultaneously inside giving a memorial speech about how physically painful depression is and how, when you see someone as sunshiny and happy as their family member was, how difficult it was for them to put on that facade day in and day out. I’ll never forget that moment. I lost all respect for this person, and they were well-known in the industry.
  • Infighting and jealousy, living in it and spewing it all around them. People who don’t realize there is enough of the pie for everyone, so they can chill with the bad ‘tude.
  • Don’t rely on text. Pick up the damn phone, and have a conversation.
  • Talking about other agents.

What did we miss? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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