Smart Money, Dumb Article, Posted by Charles

We have heard from many of you lately regarding the recent article in SmartMoney entitled, “10 Things Your Real Estate Broker Won’t Say.” We share your outrage over the clear distortion and misrepresention of the service real estate professional provide. Articles like this do a terrible disservice to homebuyers and sellers everywhere by providing false information.

Below is the letter I sent to the Personal Finance Editor at Please share it with your colleagues. I have also included the Personal Finance Editor’s e-mail address if you wish to send your own comments.

July 14, 2009

Ms. Tedra Meyer
Smart Money Personal Finance Managing Editor

Dear Ms. Meyer,

The recent article (“10 Things Your Real Estate Broker Won’t Say,” SmartMoney, July 9, 2009) was full of inaccuracies, false assumptions and personal opinion, rather than any hard data that might actually be useful to home buyers and sellers.

The article does a great disservice to America’s real estate professionals, who are working harder than ever in this tough economy to help their clients buy and sell homes. Your article seems to imply that the unfortunate and unethical behaviors of a few real estate agents seem to be the industry rule, rather than the exception. Realtors® subscribe to NAR’s strict Code of Ethics; buyers and sellers who work with a Realtor® are assured of the protections the Code affords.

Real estate agents are not in the business of deceiving their clients in an industry dependent on the satisfaction of their customers for referrals and repeat business. In fact, buyers and sellers give high marks to Realtors® for the expertise and professionalism they bring to the real estate transaction. In a national survey of recent home buyers, nearly nine out of 10 were very satisfied with their agent’s honesty and integrity.

The article also inaccurately states that 20 to 25 percent of sellers market their homes on their own. In fact the number is much lower, around 13 percent – this number has been consistently trending down from a high of 20 percent in 1987. And nearly half of those were transactions in which the seller already knew the buyer – the home was not sold on the open market.

While some home sellers do choose to market and sell their homes on their own, unrepresented sellers have no access to fundamental marketing services, such as a Multiple Listing Service. The average person may only sell a handful of times during their lifetime, while Realtors® sell hundreds, if not thousands, of homes over the course of their careers. Unrepresented sellers face today’s challenging marketplace, complex transactions, with more disclosures and legal requirements than ever; time demands to market and show their property; and security concerns about strangers coming into their home.

In closing, please note for future stories that the term “Realtor®” is a protected trademark of the National Association of Realtors®, and is not synonymous with “real estate agent.” Realtors® are trained professional real estate practitioners, and only Realtors® are members of NAR and subscribe to the association’s strict code of ethics.

Charles McMillan
President, National Association of Realtors

  1. Penny Hyland

    Thanks for the letter. I, like so many others were insulted by the article. I take pride in my career and my reputation. NAR’s Code of Ethics makes me so proud to be a Realtor.
    Again, thanks.

  2. Charles, I applaud you on this letter to the editor…it isn’t surprising to me that we often are misunderstood by the public (and press)…the attached article appeared in our local associations monthly newsletter… link: please look at page 9. I find this repulsive !! what do others think..

  3. It makes me so mad to read bad press about real estate. I can not say anymore with out getting on a soap box.