When are you going to hire the right Realtor to get your home sold? Working expireds the smarmy way.



It seem like an everyday occurrence. Some real estate agent somewhere does something slimy, thereby adding significantly to much of the general public’s negative perception of real estate agents.

Yet we wonder why we consistently rank at or near the bottom of job respect polls. In a 2009 Harris Interactive poll, only 5% of people surveyed said they felt real estate agents/brokers occupations had great prestige. That was the rock bottom of the list (by far) of jobs surveyed, below members of Congress, lawyers and union leaders.

Geeze, we might as well be snapping pictures of our privates and sending them to college girls, or start boffing the nanny…

This morning I was served up a healthy dose of real estate agent buffoonery as demonstrated directly to one of our clients.

The Backstory

We recently listed a client’s home for sale AND for lease. They are relocating out of state and needed to do something with their home quickly. The gist of it was if we could get it sold fast, great. If not, we were asked to lease the property and act as the property managers.

Unfortunately, a sale couldn’t happen quickly enough, but a tenant was swiftly located, screened and approved.

So our agent cancelled the sale listing in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). And here is where things turned ugly fast.

There are many agents that “work expireds”. They pull reports from the MLS that show which listings have expired or been cancelled. They then approach the home owner and solicit them to relist the home.

This isn’t necessarily a bad tactic. One might assume that if a for sale listing expired or was cancelled that the home owner might be interested in getting the home relisted for sale.

But maybe not. As in the case with our client, the last thing she wanted right smack in the middle of an interstate relocation was to be bothered, some might say harassed, by real estate agents coming out of the woodwork soliciting her business.

Yet that’s exactly what happened.

The Email Exchange

Below are some emails that were exchanged between our client, her agent, and myself. Some information has been redacted to protect the privacy of our client, and the identity of a particular expired-working agent and their very large national franchise brokerage.

Some might be asking themselves why I’m protecting this agent and brokerage. Well, I’m bound by a Code of Ethics that says I can not disparage another agent, even if their douchebaggery makes all other agents look like morons and accelerates the free fall of the public perception that ranks us lower than Congress and union leaders. If I name these people, I can be taken to an ethics board and fined.

Yes, it’s stupid. But it is what it is.

Please pay particular attention to the words our client Lisa uses when she describes the tactics of these agents…

Lisa Redacted 2

Nice huh. Here’s a real estate buyer and seller feeling like some agents are snakes and pathetic.

And who can blame her?

Calling at 8:00 in the morning?

Strongly implying that the agent she chose to work with doesn’t know what they are doing?

Digging up a home phone number and name?

“When are you going to hire the right Realtor to get your home sold?”


Hell, that’s downright insulting to the client.

This is a brilliant tactic. Let’s intrude on people’s lives — when we have NO CLUE what has been going on — and insult their intelligence and ability to select an agent. Maybe they’ll give us some business!

Lisa is spot on in her “snake and pathetic” assessment. And this isn’t some lone agent out there. Floating this sort of hot air has apparently been encouraged and trained by a large national brokerage. Gee, I wonder what Lisa’s opinion is now of this particular brokerage? Think she’ll recommend them to her friends and family?

Perhaps a better approach would be along the lines of, “Hi, this is Johnny Agent. I see your home that was for sale is no longer in the MLS. If you are interested in relisting your home, I think we offer some unique marketing methods that just might do the trick. If you’re interested, feel free to contact me.”

Simple enough, lacks smarm, doesn’t denigrate the other agent and most importantly doesn’t insult the client you are trying so desperately to land.

Just call at a reasonable hour…


PS: The State of Alaska recently released redacted emails from former Governor Sarah Palin. They released printed versions (24,000 pages worth). Why kill all those trees instead of, oh I don’t know, using a $20 thumb drive? Because according to the Anchorage Daily News, “The state says it is providing printed copies because it doesn’t have the software to electronically redact information from emails.” Note to the State of Alaska – buy a copy of Adobe Acrobat.



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About the Author
Jay Thompson

I'm a real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona and the publisher of the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog. I tend to drive too fast and scream at the University of Texas and Denver Broncos football teams. My two kids are smarter than most adults I know and my wife is simply amazing.

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