The Real Deal asked some agents the greatest compliment and greatest insult they have received in connection with their job. Many agents said winning a client or deal was the source of both. Beyond that, agents have received compliments ranging from sentimental messages to a bobblehead doll made in a broker’s likeness, and insults including being called less than a used carpet salesperson.
Here are some of the compliments and insults brokers have received:
Zhann Jochinke, an associate broker at Argo and co-chair of the market trends committee at the Manhattan Association of Realtors
Compliment: One client had a custom bobblehead made in my image, with a sharp suit and cell phone in hand, and sent it to me with a note saying: ‘Thank you for being the consummate professional, always there for our every question, dedicated day-in and day-out; we now have the perfect home.’
Insult: It wasn’t really directed to me as an individual but to the industry as a whole. It came from a FSBO (For Sale By Owner), who after a lengthy discussion of the advantages of using a broker/realtor, said that she thought all brokers were scum and were second only to attorneys. Even after that slight, I managed to get the listing having the owner concede that she also saw us as a necessary evil — just like attorneys.
Klara Madlin, president of Klara Madlin Real Estate
Compliment: I had shown a couple apartments for a long time and they finally purchased and moved in. A week later the wife called and said, ‘I miss you so much. You became part of the family and it seems strange to have days go by without speaking to you.’
Insult: The worst thing I was ever called was by an attorney. Her client was a buyer who put an offer in with no financing contingency; however, the home appraised low. The attorney wanted me to split the difference; when I said ‘no’ she said, ‘I thought you were a big shot broker but you’re just small potatoes.’
Adina Azarian, president, Adina Equities
Compliment: When landlords I work for exclusively give me the authority to approve my own applications for their apartments for rent.
Insult: When people ask me why I would choose to specialize in rentals if I work in real estate. The way most people act is as if what I do is beneath other aspects of real estate. Working in rentals is my passion and I just find that question to be so insulting and full of misconceptions on their part. If you are really good at something and you enjoy it, what’s wrong with specializing in it?
Jeff Krantz, vice president of sales and marketing at City Connections Realty
Compliment: A buyer called me from South Africa and told me: ‘you helped my friend get such a good deal. I am giving you $1.5 million. Go find me a deal and call me when the contract is ready. We are closing next month.
Insult: (To my intelligence): A buyer was trying to buy time in order to stall signing the contract. I told them that I had to put the apartment back on the market if I didn’t at least hear from their attorney regarding changes they needed in the contract. I got a call an hour later from ‘their lawyer.’ It was my client speaking through a voice changing machine. Hilarious — and a little scary. Needless to say they backed out of the deal.
Leonard Steinberg, managing director at Prudential Douglas Elliman
Compliment: When I said once, ‘I am just a broker,’ the client responded by saying the role brokers play in people’s lives is significantly more important than the world thinks. We help people find homes — a huge part of their lives that often involves intense emotion and little clear thinking — and by doing so our role in society is important and extremely helpful. Now that’s a compliment!
Insult: I was told by a really nasty buyer who lost out in a bidding war that brokers are worse than used carpet salespeople. Not even used cars? Obviously the insult originated from someone who worked for AIG.
Lisa Lippman, senior vice president and director at Brown Harris Stevens
Compliment: Perhaps the biggest compliment I’ve received recently occurred after I’d worked with a family for a couple of years trying to find them an apartment. When they finally found something from a non-real estate friend of theirs, they still insisted on paying me a full commission (although normally the seller would do this!) Even though they were under no obligation to do so, they told me that I’d done such a great job for them they wanted me to get paid. Then, when I listed their apartment for sale, they also insisted on paying a full 6 percent commission, although the apartment was close to $4 million, a price point many ask for at a 5 percent commission.
Insult: Probably the worst insult I have gotten is when I have pitched a listing and I don’t get it! I hate to lose.
Compiled by Lauren Elkies