Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Why Publicly Write About Bad Agents or Bad Business Practices?

Why Publicly Write About Bad Agents or Bad Business Practices?

House of CardsYesterday, while going through my e-mail I had a message from a really great client who found me through Active Rain.  Towards the end of his message he stated

"It seems business is good based on your blog. I still read it regularly. Keep up the great stories, especially the ones about the bad agents. Makes me feel all the more appreciative I found a good agent when I bought my place!"

The public is reading our posts.  Why should we be writing about bad agents and posting it publicly?  Some may say we are airing our dirty laundry.   Some may say you are hurting the reputation of the profession.  I feel it is just the opposite. I have sure written more than my share of posts about this and similar topics.

In this post I have decided to list some of the benefits of posting these topics publicly.  Do we do it to say how great we are?  Or is there a much better reason? 

Here are a few of the benefits I that come from writing about bad agents or bad business practices.

  1. We start a discussion among professionals that help us all learn and improve our business practices.
  2. It is a vehicle for new agents to learn their trade through the experiences of other agents.
  3. It is a wonderful way of educating the public so they know what to watch out for when dealing with those in the real estate profession.
  4. It keeps these issues top of mind with agents when they are conducting business.  Hopefully helping them from repeating others mistakes.
  5. It provides the public with questions to ask of any real estate professional when interviewing them.
  6. The more open we are, the more the public can trust us.  We will also be dealing with more educated clients.
  7. It is a great way for potential clients to check us out and learn more about our business practices.
  8. Hopefully we are helping to raise the level of professionalism in our trade and the level of expectations from the public.

That last one may get a few questioning me.  Why would you want to raise the level of expectations from the public?  The answer is simple, we as professionals take pride in what we do and know that an informed public will gravitate towards us and avoid those who are not so professional.  Education for both us and the public is a good thing in my mind.

In the future I will continue to write about professional standards, ethical business practices and bad agents and bad business practices.  I will also right about the good agents and good business practices.

For the next week I may not be as active here.  The next two days I will be taking the Luxury Homes Designation Course (CLHMS) in Waikiki with Sharon Simms and Tami Simms-Powel.

Next week we will be hosting the CRS Sell-a-bration in Waikiki at the Hilton Hawaiian Village with many of the top REALTORS® in the country in town.  Tied to that event will be the Honolulu Active Rain Gathering on Monday evening 1/28/08.  We have room for a few more people so please contact either Randy Prothero or WooHoo Celeste "Sally" Cheeseman.



Randy L. Prothero, REALTOR®

Broker-in-Charge, ABR, AHWD, CRB, CRS, e-PRO, GRI, MRP, SFR

eXp Realty

Team Leader - "The Prothero Group"

Randy Prothero is well established as an expert in working with military / VA clients and first time home buyers.  His home seller's (listing) campaign is one of the most aggressive marketing programs in the area.  His luxury home listings sell faster and for more money.

Based out of Mililani, Hawaii. Randy services the island of Oahu (Honolulu County) Performs mediations and ombudsman services for the Board of Realtors.  To improve overall professionalism in his area Randy also offers classes for real estate agents. 

www.HawaiiRandy.comOahu (Honolulu County) Property Search  Hawaii Military Relocations

Comment balloon 61 commentsRandy Prothero • January 24 2008 03:09AM


Great list, Randy.  I agree that when done correctly it can be a benefit.  The biggest two being education of other agents, sometimes new - sometimes not and alerting the public that certain behavior outrages us as well.  We're not all used car salesmen.
Posted by Jesse & Kathy Clifton, Retired (Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS®) over 11 years ago

Jesse & Kathy - I have found most agents to be conscientious and honorable. 

There are many part time agents in our business that just do not have the training or the time to properly service their clients.  Then there are a small minority who are just unethical.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
I enjoyed reading this post. In any profession, we will find those who do not work competently (sometimes consistently and sometimes on occasion), so trying to encourage the best out of us all is always the way to go.
Posted by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck (Frank Schulte-Ladbeck Professional Real Estate Inspections) over 11 years ago
I am always concerned about airing dirty laundry.  I usually do agent -bashing under
"members only."  The one time I talked about competence generally I got an AR meanie telling me I was violating anti-trust because REALTORS were in charge of the listings in question (it was about Foxton's.) You have to be very careful how you approach the topic...though I agree, if done correctly, it can be very helpful to your business and clients. 
Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) over 11 years ago
So right, blogs are about everyday occurences whether they are good or bad,  it is a way of reaching out to the public and letting them know your personality.  The public gleans who you are through your writing.  If those bad agents do not like the publicity change their ways!  
Posted by Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239, Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com (Real Estate One) over 11 years ago

Hi Randy

I think your approach is novel and your reasons well founded. I have always your straight forward "tell it like it is" approach.  As professionals involved in multiple transactions we see on a regular basis more than the average person who may have only one or two transactions; on which they base their opinion of the profession as a whole. 

Due to the exponential nature of our business, and referrals for instance, a good experience can be as beneficial as a bad one.  Therefore writing about a "bad apple" can be construed as "good public service".  If it is working for you that is great!  Have fun in Hawaii! 

Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) over 11 years ago


You`ve  confirmed everything I`ve written in the past about A/R being a great source as a Business Network.


Posted by Scott Daniels Florida Real Estate 2.0. Agents Earn 100% Commission. (Florida List For Less Realty, Inc. Broker/Owner. ) over 11 years ago
Post their names and faces in the post office. Until the public has had a bad experience they don't always know who to use.
Posted by Terry & Bonnie Westbrook, Westbrook Realty - Grand Rapids Forest Hills MI Re (Westbrook Realty Broker-Owner) over 11 years ago
Randy, Active Rain is a great source of information for agents and the public.  I think that the overall perception of agents can change for the better here when the public sees the overall high standards agents try to achieve.  There are good and bad in every occupation, and people are aware of this.  Pointing out the bad only helps to inform.
Posted by Peggy K., Illinois Virtual Tour Provider and Real Estate Photographer (Grand Property Virtual Tours) over 11 years ago


I agree.  I think you should keep writing about professional standards.

Posted by Mike Jaquish, 919-880-2769 Cary, NC, Real Estate (Realty Arts) over 11 years ago
I would rather the public know that not all Realtors(R) are bad....the proof is in the pudding. I wish I could be there take take the course and to meet you....I already met Sharon...shes a great lady...I'm sure she will teach you a few things...have fun...Hopefully I'll be in Naples next month finishing my CRS designation...i had to put my last class on hold.
Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Randy, I think we all need to remember the Code of Ethics when it comes to agent bashing. I agree we do need to be as professional as we can, and it's true that some agents should not be allowed in anyone's door! I love the fact that we can get all the education that's out there.

When you write about education and ethics you have my full attention. You write what's in my heart, but you say it much more eloquently.  :-)

Posted by Linda Scanlan (A Fan of AR) over 11 years ago
Randy, have fun, take lots of pictures so we  can see them. One final thought, yes they are reading.
Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) over 11 years ago
There is a difference between writing about bad agents and practices in order to teach and writing to bash.  Bashing just isn't nice but I do think the public can appreciate us more when they are aware of what the proper process really is.
Posted by Virginia Halter, ABR, CDPE, CRS, GREEN, SFR, SRES (RE/MAX Signature Properties) over 11 years ago
Randy, i fully agree about the readership. I had some one call me about an issue and how to handle it. If it is your style write it.
Posted by Frank Rubi, FrankRubiRealEstate.com (Frank Rubi Real Estate, LLC) over 11 years ago
Randy - Yes the public is reading and so are other agents.  Yesterday an agent told me he read my blog all the time.
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 11 years ago
Randy, I certainly agree with you in principle and in application. I would just add one note and that is that the writing is put forth from an objective point of view and not be of a "bashing" nature. It really should have a clinical aspect and teaching perspective. That way we all benefit and it truly does raise the bar and meet all the very good criteria you have set forth. You do this well and we all benefit. Thanks for this good post! Have a fun time and bring back stories and photos for us. We really enjoy that!
Posted by Jeanean Gendron, Specializing in Selling Unique Properties (The Address Realty) over 11 years ago
Thanks Randy, I don't agree with agent bashing but it does have the ability to teach others.  Can we use situations with no names to keep the classroom open to everyone?
Posted by Latonia Parks, Certified Military Relocation Expert (Top Bragg Realty, Fayetteville NC, Home of the 82d ABN DIV) over 11 years ago

Randy, This is another one of those things that is all about the presentation. When writing about the negative aspects of our business we have to stay focused on the "action" not the REALTOR(R). And you do that well.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) over 11 years ago

Randy - What you say makes plenty of sense. Bashing an agent and similar activity is wrong, and possibly a COE problem, but educating each other and the public about appropriate behavior and such makes sense. Isn't it another form of transparency about our industry? One of the great things about AR is the ability to learn and be educated. 

Gettin' excited about coming to Hawaii tomorrow!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (Solutions Real Estate ) over 11 years ago


You bet they read them; I found that out in a strange way.

Hope all is well.


Tom Braatz

Posted by Tom Braatz Waukesha County Real Estate 262-377-1459, Waukesha County Realtor Real Estate agent. SOLD! (Coldwell Banker) over 11 years ago

"The Good, the Bad and the Ugly" is nothing new. 

Besides, if they are on the Internet, it's not hard to find the bad and the ugly.  The Good News about ethical real estate practices is front and center on ActiveRain. 


Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 11 years ago

We should all be careful what we say, regardless if it is in a forum like this, or casual conversation.

We should be doubly careful about comments on others blogs. I had a prospect call me. When I asked how she found me, she said AR and she liked the COMMENTS people made on my posts.

Posted by Jim Little, Your Sun City Arizona Realtor (Ken Meade Realty) over 11 years ago
Knowing that the public is reading our posts should make us ever more diligent - to post useful information that has value to the public. Good job, sir.
Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Frank - Well said

Ruthmarie - I agree

Russ - Hopefully we will encourage them to either change their ways or find another line of work.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Allison - Thank you.  It is hard to not have fun in Hawaii.

Scott - You are welcome and thanks for being one of the agents who openly discusses ethics and professional behavior.

Terry - I have made a point of never posting names or company names.  I do share them with the agents and brokers in my office.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Peggy - I think informing the public is important.

Mike - I think that is a discussion that should never end.

Neal - I am looking forward to meeting Sharon.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Linda - I think giving the circumstances without publishing their names keeps it educational and not bashing.

Missy - They are reading, the proof is the number of contact messages I get from clients through Active Rain.

Virginia - I agree completely.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Frank R. - Thank you, I plan to keep on writing.

Jennifer - That is a big compliment.

Jeanean - Thanks for reminding me to put the camera in my pocket.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Latonia - I never use names unless it is for a pat on the back.

Broker Bryant - Thank you.

Jeff - I am looking forward to meeting you in person.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Tom - They sure do.

Lenn - So true.

Jim - It is always important to remember that not only what we write will be out for the public to see, it will be there for many years to follow.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
Gary - We also want to be sure our facts are right.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
Randy - Consumers want valid information and that includes telling them what they should avoid.  Knowledge is a powerful tool. 
Posted by Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities, Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A. (Charlemagne International Properties) over 11 years ago
Norma - Very True
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
Randy,  Great post and I agree with you.  Self-serving aside, I quite like #6 & #8 the best.  Our industry needs it.
Posted by Marc Grossman, GRI, Greater Orlando Real Estate Broker (Marc It Sold!) over 11 years ago
Marc - I also like those two picks.  Thank you.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
Randy I agree.  Who better to expose the bad apples than those of us who are in the Industry and understand how things should be done?  Also it lets those in the public that have had bad experiences know that is not the norm and that there are those of us in this business that take pride in what we do and expect better from others in our profession.
Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 11 years ago
George - Good point
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
Bronson - Hopefully the part of the public who read these posts will see that most of us are out there trying to protect them.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
it makes us more real Randy, to talk about the bad as well as the good. I think it's a good thing and also plan on writing about both the good and the bad.
Posted by Monika McGillicuddy, Southern NH & the Seacoast Area (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Verani Realty) over 11 years ago
Monika - We can also add the ugly to that list :)
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Randy - I've never classified your posts as Bashing - you're describing situations, or situations and how to handle them.  That's educational for both agents and the public.

Posted by Sharon Simms, St. Petersburg FL - CRS CIPS CLHMS RSPS (Coastal Properties Group International - Christie's International) over 11 years ago
Randy - I agree that bashing has no place on a blog or public - however, the truth of what the diffenece beteween a good agent and a bad educates and sometimes you have to tell the story to help the public know why you are a great agent - and why they need to be careful who they use even if it is not you - they know what to watch for.... that is my two cents anyway - and you do not bash - you do educate
Posted by Thesa Chambers, Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon (Fred Real Estate Group) over 11 years ago
I have not directed at any particular agent...nor mentioned names (which you did not either) and it was in good taste to help others with seeing the difference in thinking and how we conduct and perceive our biz. I just read a story on how an agent sent out her client to Open Houses only to have the agent there bash her and say that she could get them a better deal, commission discussion and so forth. Wow....I couldn't believe it. This is as the real world and if we can educate the public on scenarios ...they can watch out for certain things in the transaction to beware of. As long as it's in good taste ....  I had an agent call me and ask if my post was about the person. I said not really...just pointers to look out for. Talk about guilt trip :)
Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) over 11 years ago

Sharon - Thank you for the kind words.

Thesa - Mahalo (Thank you in Hawaiian)

Sally - Possibly you may have educated that agent with the bad behavior.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

Randy - we haven't posted on this topic much, if at all. Mostly we write about our local market. Seems like a lot of our posts also poke fun at the media.  Your article here is a good idea and the points well taken. Like the idea of agents and business practices that need to improve. One of the key things is agents and brokerages that put out numbers spun with their "list-with-me" agenda.

hope all of you are having a great time at CRS do. We went to the one in San Antonio a few years back. Still think CRS is the certiication for any of us to have.


Posted by Gary Bolen, CRS - Lake Tahoe Real Estate Information (McCall Realty) over 11 years ago
Gary - Of the certifications I have the CRS is by far the most beneficial.  Even though I already have the designation, I still attend events and classes.  I think that is the one thing that sets CRS apart from the others.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
The way I see it, the problem with posting one side of a "bad agent" story is just that, it's one side of the story. We and the public would be better served by reading the decisions of ethics/professional standards tribunals. Because they've made their decision after hearing both sides of the story. And we all would see that it does pay to adhere to the process and file a complaint.
Posted by Larry Estabrooks, 100% representation means NEVER DUAL AGENCY ! (Independent Real Estate Agent) over 11 years ago
Larry - If you have any of those stories I would look forward to reading them.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
Randy, great post!  I feel exactly the same as you do!
Posted by Jim Crawford, Jim Crawford Atlanta Best Listing Agents & REALTOR (Crye-Leike REALTORS®) over 11 years ago

Randy- I have found your stories "educational".....and many times I pray I never get into a situation as some of the ones you've described.

****Have a good time at your trainings, and tonight you are at the AR Party.....Hope it was a good time by all.

Posted by Kathy McGraw, Riverside County CA Real Estate (CELLing Realty) over 11 years ago

Jim - Great minds think alike.

Kathy - The AR gathering was a blast.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
Randy  I only post bad practices publicly when I can do so in ageneral and not attack any agent personally, but your reasons for doing it are excellent,  Karen
Posted by Karen Kruschka, - "My Experience Isn't Expensive - It's PRICELESS" (RE/MAX Executives) over 11 years ago
Karen - I never post names. 
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago

First of all I agree with you that the public should be educated and secondly I believe that as a professional we should raise the bar on the quality of service and professionalism we use in our business. That is the only way we will shed the bad impression some have of Realtors.

Posted by Sally Zatkoff, Making a Difference (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services PenFed Realty) over 11 years ago
Sally - I think that open discussions of ethical and professional behavior and standards not only serves to educate the public, but will help with their trust of us also.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
We all run into bad apples in our line of work. I do think it is right to let the other agent know that you don't like how he/she does business, but I don't agree with public bashing. That being said, you should let your clients know that not all agents are created equal & that you provide this and that above and beyond the call of duty. Talking about ethics and spreading the word is a great way to educate as well-but we all know, some of these idiots will never change.
Posted by Michael McEleney, ' Honesty. Integrity. Loyalty.' (Urban Acres Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Michael - Many will not change, so we need to deal with them in ways to better protect the public.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
Right on Randy. We do need to let these agents know that we don't care for the way they conduct business. These people are the ones giving the good ones a bad rap without a doubt. I have no problem telling other agents why they stink at their job...
Posted by Michael McEleney, ' Honesty. Integrity. Loyalty.' (Urban Acres Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Michael - I try to be tactful.  I have suggested to a couple of agents that they grab their file and meet me at the Board of REALTORS to sort it out.  Amazing how they straighten out at that point.
Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 11 years ago
Good suggestion!
Posted by Michael McEleney, ' Honesty. Integrity. Loyalty.' (Urban Acres Real Estate) over 11 years ago

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