“What A-Hole Is Showing Our House Today?”

Front Street Stories – Each month I’ll share stories I’m seeing from the front lines as an entrepreneur, real estate broker, husband, and father.

“What A-Hole Is Showing Our House Today?”

This was the statement I heard when I took my first bite of breakfast this past weekend.  We often take our kids out for breakfast on the weekends. It’s definitely one of our favorite family traditions. This past weekend we stopped in at this tiny hole-in-the-wall breakfast place near Franklin and Cole Roads called The Chef’s Hut.

The girls ordered chocolate chip pancakes, my wife got the omelet special, and I went for the eggs benedict. It was quite good, by the way, if you’re looking for a new place to try for breakfast.

But this story isn’t about the meal. It’s about the people sitting behind us at breakfast. They were a middle-aged couple. They were finishing up their meal, and they started talking about their home. Based on their discussion, I understood that their home was listed for sale. What got my attention was when the gal said, “. . . A-hole Realtor . . .” and then the next sentence included, “What a-hole is showing the house today?” Luckily they weren’t talking loud enough for my kids to hear.

They kept referring to the agents involved in selling and showing their house as a-holes. I’m not sure what led them to this conclusion, but it was clear that they considered ALL real estate agents to be scumbags. (I know a few people who feel the same way about attorneys.)

Obviously, these folks had experienced some bad encounters with Realtors. On my drive home after breakfast, I couldn’t help but wonder what those bad experiences were—though I already had an idea what they could be.

There are more than 4,000 real estate agents in the Treasure Valley. The number could be well over 5,000 now; I’ve stopped paying attention.

Imagine going out to shop for a car, and instead of one pesky car salesman coming up to try to get your business, there are 10 salespeople vying for your attention. That’s how many real estate agents are in this community. It’s like we trip over each other at every turn, there are so many of us.

Often when I introduce myself to somebody new, I don’t lead by telling them that I’m a real estate agent. Rather, I say that I run a real estate and media company in Boise. It’s not that I’m ashamed of being a Realtor; it’s more that I don’t like being labeled or grouped into the same category as the 4,000+ agents in my community.

Sure, there are many great agents in this mix of 4,000, but the vast majority scare me. They’re armed and dangerous with their real estate license. They’re dangerous because they don’t know they’re dangerous. They often don’t know when they’re causing pain and frustration, and losing thousands of dollars for their clients, whether it’s from their lack of experience, greed, or desperation to pay their bills. They are likely the reason the couple sitting behind me at breakfast had become so convinced that all real estate agents are scum.

As a Realtor in the same community, I am associated with this group of people. I have more than 4,000 direct competitors in my community. This is why referrals from the people that know and trust you are so important. 

In my attempts to stand out among all that competition, I’ve started a radio show, created newspapers and magazines, produced many videos, and written dozens of published articles. My company has designed marketing platforms for home sellers, and offers buyers resources they can’t get anywhere else.

All of this hard work has paid off. I know my business has a great reputation. But I still worry about the thousands of people in my community who have negative experiences with real estate agents.

For this reason, I started dedicating some of my time and resources to giving back to my industry in an effort to “raise the bar.” This is easy within the walls of my own brokerage—but when I dream, I tend to dream big.

I’m in the final stages of finishing my next book, Everything I Wish I’d Learned in Real Estate School. It comes out this spring and is designed to help real estate agents. Hopefully, it will help “raise the bar.” I’m going to give away thousands of copies to the local agent base because, again, I want them to be “more than real estate agents.” I want them to be community advocates, industry experts, skilled negotiators, savvy marketers, and excellent communicators.  

When I sit down to breakfast in a restaurant—or overhear anyone’s honest opinions about my industry—I want to hear more about the positive impact Realtors are making in my community, rather than hearing that we’re all a bunch of a-holes.

I don’t know how successful my efforts will be, but if I can make even a small, measurable impact, it will be worth it. Writing a book is no easy task, but since I’m married to woman who writes books for a living, I have great support and inspiration at home. I’m scheduled to see the first round of book cover designs for my new book next month; I’ll be sure to share it on my next newsletter.  n

P.S.  If you are not receiving my print newsletter called the Turner Files and would like to get it follow this link,  if you would like to get a copy of my first book that came out last fall, called the Value Driven Approach For Selling Real Estate - go here.  For anything else just shoot me an email.  Cheers.