Maybe it’s time to give decency a chance.

by  Neil Jenman

Article written and provided by Neil Jenman from . To see the original source of this article please click here. Neil Jenman is Australia’s trusted consumer crusader. He can support you, all the way, from choosing an agent who will get you the highest price guaranteed to when your removalist comes! You get an unprecedented level of total support. All for free. To find out more visit

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This is a real estate story that almost breaks my heart. It’s an all-too-common story that applies to agents in every area of Australia, mostly the rookies.

Meet just one of them. Sally.

There’s one word to describe Sally – decent. All her life, Sally has tried to do what her parents drilled into her – the “right thing”.

But, after almost a year in real estate – and at 37 – Sally now finds herself working 30 hours a week at her local supermarket.


“At least being a ‘checkout chick’ puts food on the table,” said Sally last week.

There is no self-pity in Sally, none. She loves real estate – the people she meets, the homes she visits and the challenges she faces.

But her refusal to do what other agents – especially so-called “top producers” – do, is the reason Sally is now at her third real estate office in 11 months.

If you don’t like it, leave. That’s a message to new agents in most of today’s real estate offices.

Sally’s refusal to follow the status quo in real estate is the reason she’s now spending more time scanning breakfast cereal and dog food than showing houses.

That’s if she can find any houses to show. Sally’s decency, and her desire to do the right thing is no match for the real estate “superstars” in her area. In most cases, they mislead and deceive sellers – something Sally refuses to do.

THE FOCUS ON G.C.I. (Gross Commission Income)

Real estate selling has little to do with honesty and ethics. It’s about money.

“How much GCI have you done this year?” – that’s the first questions agents ask each other.

Franchise networks list thousands of agents in hundreds of offices. Agents have an app on their phone with the “success rankings” of agents. Beside each agent’s name are two numbers – their GCI and their rank.

The agents in the Top 100 – those earning millions (yes, millions of dollars) are classed as “winners”. Or as many prefer to be known, “legends” or “superstars”.

Those in the bottom rankings are known as “losers”.

Sally is too nervous to say much about what she witnesses. She knows the rule. If you want to keep your job, keep your mouth shut.

But, like thousands of other rookies, Sally is now wondering if real estate is a job worth keeping. Unless she does what she is told to do – which, by any standards can only be classed as the wrong thing – Sally can’t win many listings.

And without listings, she certainly won’t get much GCI.

These are the thoughts in her mind as she scans groceries.

Real estate punishes those who do the right thing. It rewards those who do the wrong thing. As all agents know, big GCI earners can be the biggest crooks.

Sadly, for rookies like Sally, most home sellers don’t realise that agents who plaster their photos throughout an area are rarely the best agents.

Just because an agent is a “big agent” is doesn’t mean they get a big price for homes.

On the contrary, selling real estate has more to do with speed than price. It’s about turnover.

Sell one and move to the next. Churn and burn.


Sally has seen rookie salespeople get a great price for a home only to be forced to step aside as the office “legend” pushes-in with another buyer – at a lower price. “It’s my listing, I decide who buys it.”

Indeed, as happens with many self-titled superstars, when they list a home, no other agent is allowed near the home. Sellers think they get a network with thousands of agents. There’s almost no such thing.

When you sign-up with Top Tommy, you get Tommy, no one else. When Tommy is not in the office, if he’s at the beach or having a day off – or even snorting coke – no one is looking after those home sellers.

As Tommy knows, once he’s got sellers signed-up, they can’t do anything – especially selling their home – without paying Top Tommy.

That’s how Tommy gets to be Top Tommy – he shuts out other agents.


There are huge advantages in choosing a rookie (like Sally) to sell your home rather than a so-called super-star.

First, rookies try harder. They are more enthusiastic. One rookie could be speaking for all rookies when he says: “If I don’t sell your home I will lose my home.”

Sure, rookies may not have “experience”. But if home sellers knew what it means to be experienced in real estate, most would demand a rookie.

Enthusiasm is one of the greatest assets of a salesperson. Rookies are enthusiastic.

Second, rookies will likely give you a better deal. They are almost always willing to delete nasty clauses in the standard listing agreements (contracts). A rookie is not going to lodge a caveat on your home if you don’t pay thousands of dollars in needless costs.

Third, rookies often guarantee their work. If you don’t like them, you can fire them and choose another agent.

Try making such a request of a “superstar” agent – it’s their way or the highway. Rookies are willing to release you from any obligation if you are not happy. Most agents will tie you up and stitch you up no matter how they treat you or what you think of them.

Fourth, rookies are usually more honest. They have either not learned the typical lies of most agents or, better still (like Sally) they refuse to participate in deception.

Be careful: You may not always like what a rookie tells you – especially at the beginning – but better you get a truthful quote on the price of your home than be sucked-in by the lies of over-quoting experienced agents and then suffer weeks of “conditioning”.

The reason so many agents lie to so many sellers is simple: The biggest liars win the most listings. Don’t reward these liars – for your sake as well as theirs.

Finally, remember this: There is a reason agents are so distrusted. And the more experienced they are – or the more they claim to be “the best” – the less likely they are to be trustworthy.

The new agents, however, particularly those genuinely trying to bring their inherent decency into their profession, are worthy of your trust. Or, at the very least, they are worthy of a chance.

How do you know if a rookie agent is worth trusting? Simple: Just ask how much they are enjoying their new job. And then ask them – with a strong assurance of confidentiality – if they ever get upset at what they are asked to do.

The good and decent ones will be eager to tell you (and show you) how listing your home with them will be an assurance of being treated with decency and respect.

The sad reason that there are not many good and decent agents is because the good and decent ones don’t last.

So don’t punish Sally for holding true to her values, for her desire to do the right thing.

As Somerset Maugham wrote: “There is nothing more beautiful than goodness and it has pleased me very often to show how much of it there is in people.”

If you are looking for a good agent, at the very least, consider a rookie, especially one who displays real decency. Someone like Supermarket Sally.

Give decency a chance.

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