Hawaii Randy's Real Estate Opinions: Give the Facts, But Not Too Many Details

Give the Facts, But Not Too Many Details

I was reading a post from WooHoo Celeste "Sally Cheeseman today.  Professional Attitudes & Behaviors Online.

She discussed what we write about other agents.  It made a real good point.  Some agents post comments on the blogs about other agents, naming names and/ or companies in a negative light.

I feel strongly that this is totally wrong and a violation of our Code of Ethics (COE).  I feel it is perfectly acceptable to discuss behaviors and business practices openly as long as we leave off names.  I also get concerned when agents discuss things about their clients in a similar manner, especially when they include pictures of their homes that make it clear who they are speaking about.

Have you ever heard the words "law suit" or "ethics complaint"?  If you are writing and posting these kinds of details, get ready for your day to get a lot worse.  Once that attorney contacts you or the Board of REALTORS® your day is not going to get any better than it is at that moment.

If you feel like ranting, use a little judgment and common sense.  Discuss behaviors, professional standards and ethical behavior.  Leave off names and details that point out individuals are companies.

What you write tdayo will be floating around in cyberspace for many years.  Just remember "anything you say can be used against you."

 

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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 47 commentsRandy Prothero • September 16 2008 03:03PM

Comments

Randy,

Totally agree...although we write about other companies,...agents...etc...you'll probably never get me to give you a name as I wouldn't want the liability or any accusations...stick to the story but leave out the names ir change the names to an imaginary one.

Posted by Neal Bloom, Realtor CRS-Weston FL Real Estate (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Thank you Randy.

We all get frustrated, but I like the idea of writing it all down, naming names, using colorful language, savoring the release, and then hitting the delete key.

When we publicy lash out at others, we're only hurting ourselves and our profession, not to mention exposing ourselves to legal action. The high road may be lonely these days, but the air is clean and it's easy to sleep at night up there!

Posted by Bobby Stevens, Realtor, Eugene, Oregon (Windermere Real Estate/Lane County) over 9 years ago

Agreed. I would never name names. Some bloggers are nuts! I even change a few little details sometimes to disguise who the other agent could be.

Posted by Erica Ramus, MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate (Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA ) over 9 years ago

Hello Randy,
Right on!  You will not find me naming names, I can't afford a law suit!  Some bloggers seem to forget that blogging the details is no different than speaking it.

Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) over 9 years ago

Totally agree. This is absolutely against the code of ethics. I have to agree there are some agents that are worth blaming though. I see many. 

Posted by real estate real estate over 9 years ago

You are right Randy...In this eraof hungry atty.s ther is someone that will try anything to get a buck from you.  Why open yourself up to these guys!

Posted by William Feela, Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No. (WHISPERING PINES REALTY) over 9 years ago

Randy, good advice.  I don't know what there is to be gained by mentioning names in an open forum.  I would thing that if another Agent did something really bad, the proper thing to do would be to turn them in to the proper board and let them handle it.

Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) over 9 years ago

Neal - We can all learn from the stories, but we do not need to trash anyone in the process.

Bobby - Well said.

Erica - I was amazed to see some give details about their clients.  I will not even leave a comment on those.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Cynthia - I think blogging it is worse than speaking it.  You have left written evidence that will be there for years.

Huiting - Sharing the situation is useful, naming names is a great way to ruin your own reputation.  I agree there are those who need to be straightened out, just not in a public forum.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

William - The attorneys will love to cut their teeth on someone posting inappropriate stuff about other people.

George - Even a call to their broker may be enough in many cases.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Randy - it really is a no brainer, isn;t it. The legal profession loves evidence in court or a hearing. What could be more fitting that someone's article. Pretty hard to deny you said it.

Jeff

Posted by Jeff Dowler, The Southern California Relocation Dude - Carlsbad (Solutions Real Estate ) over 9 years ago

Jeff - It would not be easy to defend yourself.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Randy, I agree.  There is nothing like throwing yourself under the bus.

Posted by David Matney, Omaha, NE Real Estate | Omaha, NE Homes For Sale (BHHS - Ambassador Real Estate) over 9 years ago

David - I have seen a few folks do it.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

nicely stated and excellent point - you are one smart cookie

Posted by Thesa Chambers, Principal Broker - Licensed in Oregon (Fred Real Estate Group) over 9 years ago

Thesa - Thank you for the kind words.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Randy,
You are right it is worse--the evidence is there for all to see forever and ever and ever.

Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) over 9 years ago

Never, Never mention names or companies... The practice of others is really good to discuss... but do not point a finger...

your friend in Charlottesville!

Posted by Charles McDonald, REALTOR®, Blogger, Principal Broker®, Owner (Charlottesville Real Estate Solutions) over 9 years ago

we have some cases pending out here of builders suing agents for 'slander' because of what agents thought were off-hand remarks about their financial stability -

Posted by James Wexler (wexzilla.com) over 9 years ago

Cynthia - It is not your word against theirs.

Charles - That is my practice.

James - Anyone can sue anyone.  When people are hurting they are not too forgiving.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Even when I post about a closing or wonderful clients with pictures and videos...I have WRITTEN authorization to do so...by the clients....

 

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Century 21 Liberty Homes) over 9 years ago

Randy ... thanks for your article, and we agree. Let's be careful about what we write ... and especially careful about what we say involving other folks.  Harrison

Posted by Harrison K. Long, REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney (HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty) over 9 years ago

Sally - That is a good idea.

Harrison - As a professional we should always be careful what we say, even if it does not violate a rule.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

John - It sure doesn't make you them look good to the public.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

John - I meant those who attack others in their posts.  Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Great post Randy,  Never post when you are angry or frustrated, it will not help.

All the best!

Posted by Kevin O'Shea, White Plains, NY Real Estate (Coldwell Banker) over 9 years ago

Kevin - Absolutely, thank you.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Good Post and a good warning, too.  I had read Sally's blog and have tried to be careful and when I did use an example that actually identified a specific person, I called them to let them know.  And the issue resolved itself with the call and we both thought that the educational benefit was there, so the post is still up.  It is not negative, only a "grey or gray" area issue.  Thanks for getting me thinking!

Posted by Jane Page Thompson (Aiken Properties) over 9 years ago

Jane - You did the right thing by contacting them.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

I couldn't agree more.  I have posted scenarios without naming names (but have had comments suggesting I should name names).  I won't do this for a number of reasons; the main reason being the nature of our litigious society.  The other is that I don't need to name names when other agents are involved; those that work in my area already know who they are. 

Posted by Jon Wnoroski, Summit County Realtor (America's 1st Choice RH Realty Co., Inc.) over 9 years ago

Jon - You do make a good point.  There are some agents who are so out there, that others in the area will probably guess who they are.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Randy, forget the lawsuit, if a client recognizes him or herself as blog fodder, he (or she) will badmouth the agent at cocktail parites forever!  Never mind ever getting any referrals.  And that could cost a bunch of money!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 9 years ago

Patricia - You are right, it will wreck the offending agents reputation for sure.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

The COE is a high standard and we need to abide by it Randy. Especially in this cyberworld, we must use our disgression and be mindful and respectful of our peers whether we agree or disagree with their behavior.

Posted by Ronnie Margolis, Kauai Realtor - CDPE, ABR, RA - On Top of the Aloh (Keller Williams Honolulu on Kauai) over 9 years ago

Ronnie - That is important.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Even if you have something negative you could say, what is the point? Will you be a better peson for saying anything? Good post, Randy. We need to think first.

Posted by Gary L. Waters, Broker Owner, Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC, ... a small office, delivering big service! (Waters Realty of Brevard, LLC) over 9 years ago

Gary - If you have something negative to say, it should be only said if names are left off and it has educational value for those reading the post.  Otherwise it should not be posted on the internet.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

It always is an opportunity for us to take the higher road. It's a good lesson to learn in real estate and in life in general.

Posted by Ronnie Margolis, Kauai Realtor - CDPE, ABR, RA - On Top of the Aloh (Keller Williams Honolulu on Kauai) over 9 years ago

Ronnie - I agree completely.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Randy- That was a good Post by Sally.....and this is a perfect follow-up. I loved your advice...what we say can and will be used against us :)  As everyone else already said, we need to watch what we say.  If not for the Code of Ethics Violations but for our own image.

Posted by Kathy McGraw, Riverside County CA Real Estate (CELLing Realty) over 9 years ago

Kathy - Well said, your reputation stays with you for years.  Ruin it and it is not easily repaired.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Never write anything on the internet you wouldn't want to read in the paper.

 

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) over 9 years ago

Brenda - In today's world they are one of the same.  Our newspapers are also on the internet.  Whatever is on the internet could be out there indefinitely.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

It's especially important to be sensitive to others when you live in a small town. On Kauai, the way word travels from gossip is labeled "the coconut wireless". That's even more reason to be respectful and sensitive to others, especially those in your trade.

Posted by Ronnie Margolis, Kauai Realtor - CDPE, ABR, RA - On Top of the Aloh (Keller Williams Honolulu on Kauai) over 9 years ago

Ronnie - Our market on Oahu is much larger, yet it is still a small town in attitude.  The coconut wireless is strong here also.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

Reminds me of the first (of two) times that I got sued. Although I won, I had to spend thousands of dollars on my defense. My attorney prepped me by asking me questions that he thought the prosecutor would ask. My answers were always:

  • Yes, but...
  • I used to...
  • I would have except...

Etc.

After our first prep session, he looked at me and said, "You need to learn how to use two of the shortest yet powerful words in the English language: YES and NO."

Posted by Not a real person over 9 years ago

Russel - A good tip.

Posted by Randy Prothero, Hawaii REALTOR, (808) 384-5645 (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

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