There’s always something to howl about

Using Captcha to Capture Idiotic Real Estate Agents

A CAPTCHA is a challenge-response test most often placed within web forms to determine whether the user is human. The purpose of CAPTCHA is to block form submissions by spambots, which are automated scripts that post spam content everywhere they can.

Somebody’s Got to Stop the Stupid

Okay, a bit of a rant.  But I’ll bet you’ll want to jump on the proverbial bandwagon once I’m exhausted, spent and fallen down in subluxed joy after finishing this. The outlet for my frustration came courtesy of a Facebook comment by Mary McKnight. “Thanks, Mary.”

If there’s one theme that Bloodhound blog has perpetuated, promulgated and promoted, it’s excellence. A close second would probably be splendor. Tom Johnson perhaps put his arms around what I’m about to rant a little over tonight, and he did it with this post about a famous Greek historical event.  The Spartans were professional soldiers. They studied their craft. They studied their history. They studied their enemy. They sought fellowship with one another, coupled by a sense of duty to excellence and splendor.

Oh, how I would that my compatriots in the profession of real estate were to embrace the Spartan ethos. And if not, at least an ethos. My encounters of late with real estate agents have left me thinking they lack not only a distinctive character, not only fundamental values, but simply a lack of any character, training or professionalism whatsoever.  In short, I’ve had my fill recently with agents who have no common sense, no commitment to excellence, no knowledge commensurate with their duties, no bleeping right to be called a professional real estate agent, and certainly no right to practice the longstanding legal requirements of agency.

I’ve had agents not call me back.  Then, then don’t call me back.   They tell me to sign contracts that they know have errors in them.  They provide inaccurate information to me about contracts they represent. They cant’ find documents. They can’t find the time to do what needs to be done. They can’t find their own assholes, honest. What they can find is some kind of perverse justification for their existence due simply to the fact that they have talked themselves into a contract to represent a client, and that contract justifies everything they do. Period.

Captcha – The New Bloodhound Secret Handshake

What I want is something slightly more difficult than “What color is the sky?”  But I want it.  I want Greg or Eric or someone to come up with a way to keep the “godspam” wannabe real estate agents away from me.  I want to know if they’re “human”, but by human I mean competent, evolved, involved, resolved to something other than an amoebic type representation for their clients.  I want a Captcha at the beginning of every relationship I have with a real estate agent that tells me that they are Leonidas-like, a seeker of excellence, one who seeks splendor.

I suspect you want the same thing.  It’s why we go to work each day.  It’s why we write, why we blog, why we teach, why we sing, why we play, why we are. We want the dregs to fall to the bottom of the wine barrel. We want the bilge pumps to pump the soft, the weak, the stupid out to sea. I hope you want this as much as I do.

Here, Graham Nash, with his version of what’s partially going on in my head.


9 Comments so far

  1. Lauren Dugger May 27th, 2010 11:15 am

    I don’t think you could have said that any better! I agree with you 100%! One of the agents in my office recently helped a client purchase a home, the selling agent would not call him back, text him back, email him back, and if, by some chance, he managed to her get on the phone, as soon as she found out it was him, she hung up and wouldn’t answer again. How is this professional?? Those agents need to be banned from Real Estate, I mean, there is no way that the type of behavior she was showing was at all slightly okay. Even after talking with the manager of the office she worked in, nothing was fixed. She continued to be the same way, two extensions later, through the sale of the home. Thank you for your amazing post!

  2. Tom May 27th, 2010 2:39 pm

    The problem isn’t the agents. It’s the ease of getting IN to the real estate business.

    “In business, I look for economic castles protected by
    unbreachable ‘moats’.”
    -Warren Buffett

  3. Don Reedy May 27th, 2010 3:31 pm

    >Lauren – Thanks.

    >Tom – I live in San Diego. It’s easy to buy a surf board, head to the beach and surf. It’s not clear to me that that stops you from dropping in, and thus exhibiting bad etiquette.

    It’s easy to buy a home, and de facto become a neighbor. It’s not clear to me that doing so makes you a good neighbor.

    It’s easy to become a salesperson (I presume your issue is with licensing or some standard qualification testing for agents). It’s not clear to me that all sales people understand even the basics of a Zig Ziggler approach to communicating.

    Tom, I think the problem is the agents. You see, they’re here, they have control of at least part of the real estate process, and I have to function at a very high level to mitigate the issues I describe above. It’s like an action hero movie. We all know the action hero can kick everyone’s butt, but first he gets wounded or somehow disabled so that his heroics are even greater because he has to overcome those while fighting off the bad guys. No matter how they got here, I have to fight for my client with the weight of the other agent’s ineptitude around my neck.

    I get what you’re saying about barrier to entry, but that’s a topic related to policy and procedure. I wrote this today because it’s a matter of a problem most of us see all too often on the streets. Let’s discuss licensing, qualifications, training and moats later. I’ve got to go undo the snag in another reel estate transaction.

  4. BerStan May 28th, 2010 8:53 am

    As a guy who spent 6 years as a Realtor in Tampa Florida I can attest that at leaast half of all th gents I dealt with were, at least lazy, somne actually incompetent as well as lazy. On the other hand, there were glowing examples of honesty, competence and good will among others. One just has to try as much as possible to deal with the competent and professional and, to quote someone else, hope the rest of them eventually “get washed out to sea.” with the outgoing tide.. Hopefully the past couple of tough years in our industry have acted as a powerful outgoing tide for the incompetent, lazy and deceitful.

  5. Sean Purcell May 29th, 2010 1:40 pm


    As usual I love your post and I feel your pain. Having said that though, in this case I don’t think I could disagree with you more! Strike that, I disagree with Tom and his misapplication of Warren Buffett’s investment strategy a great deal more, so I stand corrected.

    Life is so much easier to understand when we view it through the prism of truth provided by sports. (After all, life is just a good metaphor for the reality of sports…) Tell me, would you rather compete against a group of highly competent, well-practiced professionals or a bilge pump full of soft, weak & stupid? If your goal – your true, honest-to-God goal – is to win, then give me the incompetents every time. Oh I know what you’re thinking: great Sean, but what if I played on a baseball team and the problem isn’t just players on the other team, but some of those on my own team as well? I have to wear their inability “around my neck,” as I think you put it. Makes for a tough season, maybe even two – I’ll grant you that. But while carrying them, who gets the big lucrative contract? Who goes to the all-star game? Who’s voted MVP? You. And every one of those honors comes with a bonus. (You are playing to make money, right?) Better still, playing and carrying these stiffs only increases the chances you’ll be picked up by a top team looking for guys just like you. Better chance at the ring AND a higher contract to boot.

    The bottom line in our business is that you are a fiduciary. If the other side is incompetent that makes it all the easier for you to rigorously represent your clients’ best interests. Want to see bad agents leave the business? Easy: kick their ass in a transaction and make sure their client takes a financial beating as well. Between the arbitration, the increased E&O premiums and the lack of referrals those agents are back hustling cell phones in the mall faster than a Stephen Strasburg two-seamer.

  6. Jeff Brown May 29th, 2010 4:06 pm

    Faster than a Stephen Strasburg two-seamer — tge bane if new band. 🙂

    I’ve made more money for my local investment clients when going against house agents than is defensible. 🙂 Once had an assistant ask me how I could sleep at night after one those lopsided negotiations.

    I love the scrubs playin’ dress-up like they belong. So do my clients and my banker.

  7. Jeff Brown May 29th, 2010 4:07 pm

    Faster than a Stephen Strasburg two-seamer — the name of my new band. 🙂

    I’ve made more money for my local investment clients when going against house agents than is defensible. 🙂 Once had an assistant ask me how I could sleep at night after one those lopsided negotiations.

    I love the scrubs playin’ dress-up like they belong. So do my clients and my banker.

  8. Teri Lussier June 1st, 2010 12:53 pm

    >Tell me, would you rather compete against a group of highly competent, well-practiced professionals or a bilge pump full of soft, weak & stupid?

    Bah. Since I throw like a girl anyway, I say bring it. The goal is to be the best, not the best among the worst.

    Educate the consumer and they will eradicate the incompetent without internal regulation, licensing, #rtb nonsense. Or to put it another way, (since apparently life is so much easier to understand when we view it through the prism of truth provided by sports, ahem), I suppose we could say that it’s up to us to make sure the fans in the stands know as much about the game as the players.

  9. Don Reedy June 1st, 2010 1:06 pm

    Teri, you may throw like a girl, but you head butt like Jeff Brown. 🙂

    Work is like play to me, in that I love what I’m doing, and while I’m doing it, I want the challenge that comes from playing at a high level.

    The point I’m trying to make about incompetent Real Estate practitioners is that I disdain them. I hate working with them, since even if I “best” them I am aware of the fact that their clients were poorly represented. This I hate, and thus I am ranting here about, and disparaging the best I can, all those who fail to meet any acceptable level of competence.

    I want butter, not margarine. I want ice cream, not ice milk. I want the “bang-bang”, Jeff, of ball in glove and shoe on bag, and I want Charlie Hustle working on both sides of the transaction.

    Fantasy for sure. But that’s what rants are for.