Being a Realtor 101

“What’s it like to be a real estate agent?”  I wish I could say people have asked me that in my 7+ years in this field, but they haven’t. They have their own idea.  I’m here to shed some light on some misconceptions and hopefully open some eyes – both the public’s and my colleagues.


The general stereotype for real estate agents is not that great – kinda pushy and that we “make too much money”.  I’ve heard it put, “A glorified car salesman.”

Some of the time, the stereotype is spot on.  Some agents focus a little too much on sales techniques they’ve learned and not enough on the people they are supposed to be helping.  Some of the most successful agents drive nice cars, put up big billboards and annoy you with radio ad after radio ad.


I’m a different breed.  I used to sell cars so I know what it’s like to have someone in your face trying to sell you something (many of my co-workers were that way).  They would ask you just the right questions in order to get you to do what they wanted you to do.

I never did that in car sales (and I was still successful) and neither I, nor my team, do that now in home sales.

There is nothing wrong with having a nice car or advertising yourself.  There is nothing wrong with being proud of the work you have done and the success you have achieved. There is something wrong when that is how you identify your worth.

Every once in a while, the real help a client needs is to be pushed – just a little – in the direction they really want to go but are afraid to.  That’s a good agent knowing their client.


Real estate agents have state and federal laws governing their industry and Realtors have a code of ethics in addition to that.  You’d think with all this oversight there would be no rotten apples.  Unfortunately, there are.  The more rules there are, the craftier a self-absorbed agent has to be to get around them.  Because of this, it’s important for people to be able to identify deception.

Here are a few ways to spot something off:

  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
    • “Guaranteed offer within 48 hours!”
    • “If it doesn’t sell in 60 days, I’ll buy it!”
  • If your agent wants you to sign a contract that isn’t a state form.
  • If they have “exclusive” programs. (why wouldn’t it be offered to everyone? Is it legal?)
  • If they tell you “I have a few buyers that would be interested in your home.”

You see, some agents are building a sales machine for the wrong reasons.  Whether it’s to feed an ego or the love of a paycheck, some agents just want to churn out as many deals as possible.  Success is a drug, it’s addicting.  If they find a method that works, they’ll use it.  They’ll do it whether or not it’s truly in the best interest of their client.

It’s A Career

Recent nationally syndicated news articles have suggested that Realtors are soon going to be a thing of the past.  Listing reasons such as a movement to all electronic home purchases to agents costing too much, they made a convincing case to someone who has never thought about it before.

The truth is, there will always be a demand for experienced, thoughtful professionals. The kind of people who are attentive to a client’s feelings, understand what they want and need in a home, negotiate effectively and flawlessly navigate the piles of paperwork required to transfer the deed of a property, among other things.

Those that can’t do these things effectively don’t deserve to be in the industry.  Unfortunately, that includes most of those quoted in the news articles I referred to.

This industry isn’t a scam.  We don’t dangle a carrot and then sell your information to the highest bidder like national home search sites do.  The hard work of a good agent can provide way more value to their client than their commission suggests.  That’s all some of us are doing.  Working harder for our paychecks, providing more services and protecting our clients even if it hurts our pocketbooks.  It’s our duty.  It’s the way it’s supposed to be.


 It’s a service industry, not a sales one.  The sooner this fact becomes the foundation for all Realtors, the easier it will be to fend off the monsters at our doors.  Our number one purpose is to serve the public in their real estate endeavors.  The paycheck is just a side effect.  The public will never turn on someone who bent over backwards for them.  The public will gladly pay for good, thorough representation in a process they aren’t well versed in.  What they won’t do is allow a shady agent to take advantage of them twice.



Life is just not what I wanted it to be
Because what I lost is what was closest to me

I try to move on and push into something new
But it always fails in comparison, the best part of me was you

It bothers me that the only time I ever feel real
Is when I feel like these wounds won’t ever heal

I’m surrounded by a past I can’t have, you see
I’ve given all of myself to people that leave me

So the world keeps spinning and life keeps going
I know the Bible preaches karma, you’ll get what you’re sowing

I’m unwilling to put my standards up for sale
“Thank U, Next” is just a guaranteed way to fail

Knowing how it all works kinda feels like a curse
But I’d rather feel despair than make things worse

I don’t like to ask for anything, but if I could
If I have to stick around, please give me something good



I just want something to mean something to me
This gray aura is everywhere – it’s all I see
I know there has to be something still pumping my blood
But I haven’t felt it in forever, I’m stuck in the mud
Everything in life seems to be a distraction
And I’m missing out on years – due to inaction
I guess I find more purpose in people than I’d like to admit
But I’ve been burned so many times I just want to quit
I’d rather be alone than do the wrong thing
Be half the man I was, plus the baggage I’d bring
I’m spinning my wheels, I feel defeated
Help is not wanted, but I guess maybe it’s needed
My heart hasn’t skipped a beat in so long
And every night home alone just feels so wrong
I finally found something I’m truly afraid of
Growing old alone, the absence of love
I don’t want it to be what fixes me
But it would add some color to everything I see





Forgive me for meaning “til death do us part”
Forgive me for actually giving you my heart
Why is it just ok that you broke every vow?
You tell me, what am I supposed to do with myself now?
Because when two become one that’s supposed to change things
And now I’m alone in this world and have not one but two rings
You promised and signed on a line for better or worse
Then sent our marriage to the back of a hearse
Years have passed and unfortunately I’m still the same me
I’m further than ever from where I’m supposed to be
I’m still here but the future and I cannot connect
There are levels of disdain here I’m unable to project
I don’t want something else and I don’t need anyone
I mean something to the world but I hate what I’ve become
I know I should settle, but there aren’t enough reasons
I’m in the passing lane, it’s just I’m passing seasons
There is no amount of hope to set my heart straight
I learned that real is rare just a little too late
Don’t judge me until you spend a minute in my head
I’m just saying what my heart needs to be said





True friends aren’t perfect, they sure are loyal

When they have a problem with you, the pain is royal

But consistency is a gift not many will give you

And when things go down I know where to turn to

So I’m thankful for someone who knows I’m lost

And wants me around anyway, no matter the cost

I give not because I owe, but Lord knows I do

I give because I want only the best for you

I want success to follow you wherever you go

And no matter what there is something I want you to know

You’re already a guy that helps everyone around

But you’ve got more potential waiting to be found

He made you one of a kind, and after careful inspection –

Just apply yourself and you will guide souls HIS direction

With men like you, darkness doesn’t stand a chance

With God in you, it will tremble at your first glance

I remember our beginning and I’ll cherish our end

I’m just lucky to call someone like you, Friend.

JR 6/27/19

I think you’re confused…

Please tell me agents in SE MN understand the difference between NorthStar’s well regulated “coming soon” program (where no showings are allowed until the home is on the market for all buyers) and a broker having an “Exclusive Buyer Program” where only that broker’s clients see their coming soon listings for 2 weeks prior to any other buyers, right?  (Agents who understand the industry call this a “bait program”)

To be clear, not only would someone running a program like that be harming buyers that aren’t signed with them because they have to wait 2 weeks (and likely miss the opportunity to offer altogether because the broker often sells the home to their own buyers before it’s made available to the public), you’re likely harming your seller because more buyers seeing a home logically means more money for the house.  Many people can be sold on the idea of something if you’re a good salesperson.  That doesn’t mean what they’re being sold on is in their best interest.  To be a fly on the wall in those dining rooms would have been interesting, that’s for sure.

I’m not jealous, nor have I ever been jealous of anyone in my industry (I simply don’t care about comparing myself to anyone).  I have opposed certain practices based on their impact on the public that we serve.  I have opposed false advertising (like billboards being removed due to false information).  I have opposed any type of marketing that requires fine print to say the promise in the advertisement might not be accurate or come to fruition.  I have opposed working as a broker without having an active license to do so.  

I don’t miss someone in our industry that charged more and paid others doing the same job less.  I don’t miss someone that justified that behavior by saying that they do “most of the work” so that makes them worth more.  I don’t apply half truths about a few individuals to everyone in my industry to justify greed.  I don’t make former clients sign NDAs.  I don’t require those that breach a Buyer Rep agreement to post fake positive messages about me on social media to save themselves from me suing them.

There is a difference between using your gifts to further yourself at the expense of others and using your gifts to lift others up.  The day our industry becomes less about service and more about progression towards padding our pockets is the same day we become irrelevant.

Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but that doesn’t make anything I’ve said here less true.





A dying man laying in a hospital bed regrets things

His fingers are so skinny they won’t hold his rings

He spent many Sunday mornings alone in a pew

And now he’s surrounded by only a loyal few

The past is bittersweet as it runs through his mind

He thinks of all the times he was mean instead of kind

He travelled the world and accumulated wealth

But all of that, in this moment, doesn’t change his health

He hears the ticking of the clock on the wall

And knows that time is the most valuable thing of all

He’s run out of it and he wishes things weren’t this way

He remembers giving himself to work, day after day

He lies awake and thinks of what really mattered

And all the promises he made that were shattered

All the potential he spent on acquiring more

When giving yourself to others is what life is for

He is lost and alone in this moment that means so much

He will drift away not knowing all the lives he could touch

A lesson learned too late, a price he has to pay

Time was the real currency, he wishes he had given his away


~JR 5/24/19