Battle Royale: Realtors or Politicians, who’s worse?

Yes, we have the right to ask this question, as we are Realtors, and we encounter shady less than professional crooks (yes, crooks) on a weekly basis. At the same time, most of our colleagues are the nicest, most professional people in the world that work their asses off, but seriously…the lying, the cheating, the dishonesty, the back-stabbing, the constant self-promoting, and on and on. You’d think we’re on Capitol Hill, and you’d think the San Francisco Association of Realtors would put a stop to some of these people, but still they’re out there.

So who is worse, a Realtor or a Politician? Debate, discuss, have at it, because this week, we’ve had enough of it.

Battle Royale [theFrontSteps]

11 thoughts on “Battle Royale: Realtors or Politicians, who’s worse?

  1. You might as well throw used car salesmen into the mix too. Politicians are worse. Realtors actually provide a good service, and I’ve had nothing but good experiences. Policiticans, not so sure.

  2. Is this really a fair question to ask when you know there are so many realtors that read your site!? ;-) I’m guessing we outnumber the politicians by at least a 1000 to 1!

    Frankly, I’m fortunate enough to know dozens of incredible Realtors that are not ridiculous pricks. Some are Zephyr agents, and others are just amazing agents I’ve had the opportunity to work on a transaction. Most are educated, intelligent, kind, down to earth and are empathetic to both their clients and other people’s situations.

    That being said – I’ve run across some pricks as well. And the pricks I have been unlucky enough to run across have been some of the biggest pricks I have met in any profession. And it has nothing to do with their “bling, bling” cars, or their constant cell phone chatter. (As an aside, unfortunately, sometimes we are in line at the grocery store when someone calls to tell us an offer has been accepted, or rejected, or that the buyer wants a $50K credit because they’ve decided they offered too much – we don’t have regular jobs with regular hours – so when the phone rings, sometimes it IS that important because it’s someone else’s livelihood and dreams on the line and if we don’t tend to it that instant, we could ruin it for them and then we’d REALLY be assholes!!!) The biggest Realtor pricks I have met win the “biggest prick” award because they don’e give a crap about anyone but themselves – not about their clients, not about other agents, not about the attrocities of the world – nothing. Their desire to collect as many dollars as possible is only overshadowed by their need to have their enormous egos stroked (and I have a feeling those enormous egos are compensating for something else tiny – their SOULS! get your mind out of the gutter – I know what you where thinking).

    What makes THESE Realtors worse than any politician is that they don’t go away after a few years. They can’t get voted out. For as long as they remain in this industry, they are taking advantage of people and stepping on them left and right to achieve their own goals.

    A good Realtor cares about people.

    A “big prick” Realtor wouldn’t pee on their client if they were on fire, unless the client was holding their commission check.

    So – to summarize – generally speaking, politicians are crappier than Realtors. But if you were to have a “biggest prick” contest between a crappy Realtor and a crappy politician, the crappy Realtor would indeed walk away with the trophy.

    That’s my 2 cents. :-)

  3. Luba,

    Yes it is fair to ask this question especially since so many Realtors read this site, because a lot of these “pricks” think nobody is paying attention. And that’s where they are wrong. As stated, there are good and bad, but a recent conversation with a colleague (whom I adore) revealed much more information than even I had come across that really solidified the similarities of Realtors to Politicians (at least for me). Thanks for your $.02.

  4. no comment really on realtors vs. politicians…depends on your experience with them and your personal point of view.

    what is pretty disgusting is however this: the number of times a previous commenter used the word “prick” in her diatribe. pretty offensive and immature.

    another foul mouthed realtor I guess. whatever.

    [Editor’s note: Sorry, your comment was lost in our spam filter. Sometimes that happens.]

  5. I’ll entertain the post but not provide a definitive answer. Both groups have an incentive structure that hurts the profession and the image of the profession is damaged in the process providing a stereotype. Policiticans have no real motivation to serve the general public and Buy-Side Realtors have no real interest in helping their clients get a property at the best price. This creates an industry biad towards globally pushing prices higher.

    But sure, there are good and bad in both camps and I’d argue that finding the right Realtor is way more important than voting for the right candidate. At least you vote will count for something when you caste you vote to pick your agent.

  6. Selling agents have the strongest motivation to serve the clients and make sure Buyers purhcase homes at the best possible price. Selling agents represent buyers. They educate buyers to the marketplace and the value, often they represent someone on their first purchase, which requires educationl skills, time and patience.

    Buyers turn into sellers. That is the basis of any strong agency business. Future business is developed via word of mouth and good service.

    Who would you believe was a better realtor, a referral from a trsuted friend, or a smiling face on postcard through your mailslot?

    Agents who represent buyer , work very hard for clients, the clinets get the service for free, as the listting agency will compensate the selling broker as part of an MLS agreement, Selling agents often counsel buyers away from suspect property, Advise on items to look out for that a novice buyer may overlook, or warn against offering too much money on a property because it is staged nicely.

  7. kathleen,

    you sound so “obvious” – but one of the laziest agent I met was the one selling our house. She was working for people leaving california, she did NOT do her homework by preparing comps, she did NOT get the best possible price for her clients, she did NOT work on behalf of her clients… and she pissed US off … cutting back any chances of us coming back as clients.

    She’s very bad but she’s not a crook, and I wouldnt compare her to a politician…

    Actually, I’m not sure many realtors can be compared to politicians. Real estate agents maybe, but not realtors.

    To be really bad, you need to be as bad as closing ONE (“edgy”) sale and become part of the past. and with ONE transaction you cannot be a realtor.

    Bad realtors would be people with many many transactions, but with bad attitude. I agree that anything would sell in SF, but I’m not sure you can accumulate dozens of scams, enough to become a realtor.

    So in that way, bad realtors could be “better” than politicians in the way that at least they CLOSE deals – ie they get the job done. maybe poorly, but still, there is some transaction done – while some politicians are only about babble, and NEVER get anything done (ie, not passing laws, not writing propositions to be voted, spending 90% of their elected time on vacation in Hawaii etc etc).

    Now talking about who’s the biggest liar. It’s my opinion that the biggest and best liar is elected between all candidates. each and everytime. In politics, lies are sometime necessary. Omission lies are unavoidable…. if not, nobody would even bother to go to the polls. nobody would think that maybe we can do something better than what is done today.

    OTOH, lies in realestate are many times the responsability of the client. The property is not made of wind. You can hire an inspector, you can hire a SECOND inspector, you can track tons of info online, you can knock at the neighbors door to ask question and cross examine the edgy info given to you. Houses are anything but wood and plaster. So you CAN actually bust some plain lies and omission lies – and it’s your choice to bend your decisions accordingly. If 60mn online shows that 40% of the given information about a particular property is not accurate, move on.

    You’re asked to choose between 3-4-5 candidates for election. You’re asked to choose between thousands of properties, and maybe a hundred RE companies. So there is a difference between choosing the less damaging politician (by avoiding the worse ones), and weeding dozens of RE crooks, to pick one of the best agent (while giggling, and laughing and joking about the bad agents).

    Last, a politician can damage THOUSANDS OF LIVES. A RE agent will scam at most a few families.

  8. Kathleen, you have no choice but to defend a flawed incentive system that is designed to push prices higher. I’m not sure I have an alternative that the world would agree upon, but buyers are at an extreme disadvantage with no real advocate / adviser. Once a buyer decides on a propery his/her agent only has one prime motivation — and that is to see the buyer win the home. Sure — an agent may disuade you on certain obscene issues, but rarely does a buyer agent not push you to make the best offer you can make, which may or may not be a fair market price for a property. And buyers agents always ask about the buyer budget, and routinely show properties well above what is already probably a stretch top end budget.

    I’d much rather see the selling commission reduced to 3% for the selling agent — and have the buyers pay a bounty on the selling price to the buyers agent. I’d gladly pay a 5% bounty if I could motivate the agent to help me win the property for 10% under asking. And 1% if sold at or above asking. This would put a lot more pressure on the industry to find a market price more efficiently as both buyers and sellers are motivated to help their client get the best price.

    Maybe that’s not the ideal solution, but the current real estate commission structure sucks for buyers and I firmly believe its a large contributor to the current real estate bubble that is bursting across the nation. That and the silly lending practices that allowed buyers to purchase more than they could afford on the premise that real estate never goes down. I also contend that buyers themselves are largely ignorant to these facts and end up taking financial advise from people that (a) are not qualified to give it, (b) have no liability for providing bad advise, (c) are motivated to ‘push’ you to spend ‘whatever it takes’ to win a property

    Exhibit A:



  9. the barrier to entry in real estate is much lower than in politics. i think that says it all.

  10. The current real estate commission structure works in the extreme favor for buyers of Real Estate.

    A buyers agent can spend 100’s of hours working with someone helping them buy a home.

    The buyer does not pay them anything for their time expertise, and guidance.

    The Seller pays 100% of the commission to the listing broker. The Lisitng brokers agrees to pay the Selling Office ( buyers broker) through escrow, per MLS agreement.

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