WHAT'S WITH THE SUPER-CRITICAL ATTITUDE??...Why Is There Such A Need To Make others Wrong??

WHAT'S WITH THE SUPER-CRITICAL ATTITUDE??...Why Is There Such A Need To Make others Wrong??

I love it here on ActiveRain...I love the posts because they are so informational---I love the posts because they are so THE SUPER-CRITICeye-opening and Leading Edge in terms of their perspective. I have met more unusual, informed, intellectual and tech-savvy people here than anywhere else on the web. This is where it is at when it comes to real estate; and I am sure everyone would agree that the time spent here on ActiveRain is time well spent and even tremendously valuable to our businesses.


There is one thing that I am having great difficulty with and that is the NEED for some to be super-critical! This tendency for super-critical analysis has become so, well frankly, blatant that I just have to speak up.

I know that there have been times when I will write a post where-in I criticize a point of view, a bad habit or even a way of doing business. And some may say I am even super-critical myself!  However, when it becomes the sole purpose of a post to criticize without a full idea of what the criticism is affecting in terms of a practice that is in line with the law in certain markets---well, it just shows an ignorance of the real factors.

In fact, in the last super-critical post I read, there is a "slamming" of the way certain states set up their agency requirements and a claim of "Greed" when it comes to the way agents from these states are working with buyers and sellers, when in fact they are working well with in their state agency laws and well within the way the buyers and sellers want to be serviced.

SLAMMING AND NAME CALLING IS A SUPER-CRITICS WEAPONThere is a "slamming" and name calling in this post and it is done without regard or even the mention that there are many states that operate in a way that is not uniform throughout the United States; WHERE IT IS PERFECTLY LEGAL TO WORK WITH THE BUYER AND SELLER AS LONG AS YOU HAVE DISCLOSED IT AND GIVEN THE BUYER AN OPPORTUNITY TO CHOOSE A BUYERS BROKER!

I think that is just fine, don't you?---what do we want? A state by state function of the needs of each state or do we want a Federal mandate as to how we should all operate in our respective marketplaces??? (Sounds like socialism to me!)


In my opinion, Buyer Brokerage has become a "politically correct" encumbrance that makes the super-critical agent want to identify, call out and in general, make life miserable for the other agent who gets a call from a buyer on a listing they are representing. "The selfish, greedy agent should not take this buyer on (even with full disclosure and a rejected offer of a buyer broker) because all they want is both sides of the deal!!!"...and to the buyer who CHOOSES to work with the listing agent instead of being represented by a buyers brokerage, this same "Super-Critical" agent will say: "They think they are going to get a cut of the commission--or they only want to cut a better deal with that under-handed listing agent!"...Makes me question the motives of an agent who constantly looks at the other agent who is operating within the law while said agent has another set of laws that they must work within. If there is a real issue--call the state where the "Crime" is being committed!


Then there is the other type of super-critical blogger who says: "Don't you dare call yourself an expert!!!" ....Why? because others may feel that they are NOT an expert IF said agent has taken the moniker?? Or, maybe because by being so sure of yourself, you are up to NO GOOD??? 

Does the agent who says this about themselves have a secret agenda that is to out-do all others??? Who cares??? Don't we all do that anyway??? Last time I checked leaders are usually "experts" by default--otherwise they would not be leaders!!

I personally could care less if an agent is out there doing the things that I mention above! There is nothing I can do even if they are doing it LEGALLY OR ILLEGALLY!...Wait a minute--last time I looked there were even worse things going on in this business!!! I know of a pedophile who ran an office here--made international news because he was from Germany and ran an office with a system for international peophilia!

So, I am going to get on with my work, do it as I see fit within the law, and I may even call myself an expert in an area or on an issue if I feel so inclined---and if I get criticized for doing so, so be it!





                                     **ALL INFORMATION AND CONTENT IN THIS BLOG IS ORIGINAL TO PAULA I. HATHAWAY.  The views expressed herein are my personal views and do not reflect the views of Douglas Elliman Real Estate


Paula I. Hathaway, Senior Broker Associate, Douglas Elliman Real Estate

Southamtpon Village Real Estate Specialist since 1995;  Also Specializes in North Sea, Noyac, Water Mill and Bridgehampton, New York

Diamond , Gold and Chairman's Circle Awards; Top Producer since 2005


Click here to see my Hampton's website to see all my listings; please email me or call me for all your real estate needs in Southampton, Bridgehampton and Watermill:



Comment balloon 81 commentsPaula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA • January 22 2012 09:18PM


Paula - I caught the "Expert" post and did disagree.  I call myself an Expert in 2 subdivisions because I have studied, done my homework and live in one of them.   I Missed the other post. Hope we can be polite to one another - even if we disagree. 

Posted by Pam Miller, Broker Associate - Pearland/Friendswood (Realty Associates) about 7 years ago

Well I think it is rude to be rude and critical of some one any time but especially when it is a public post....I haven't had to delete very many comments....but a few where they did that on a public blog post!    Not nice at all!!!    It is ok to disagree....but be nice about it and and better yet....maybe do it off line in a call or an email!!! 

Posted by Deborah Byron Leffler BzyBee Real Estate Lady! (Keller Williams Realty Boise) about 7 years ago

Pam: I am the first to speak up if I see something that is being done that is against the law--but I go to the authorities to discuss it! In the case of the term "expert", who am I to say who is and who is NOT an expert??? Most of the super-critical posts are written in such a way that the writer gets the agreement in almost all cases and they end up being the "Winner" so to speak---a real control freak can have a hayday with criticism!!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Paula, I liked your post -- there is no reason to be so critical of each other.  We can do so much more and do it better when we work together and support each other.  A definition of expert in Wikipedia is:

"An expert, more generally, is a person with extensive knowledge or ability based on research, experience, or occupation and in a particular area of study".

I would hope that all of us are experts in our own ways.

Posted by Gary Coles (International Referrals), Latin America Real Estate (Venture Realty International) about 7 years ago

Deborah:...If you have the facts right! When there is a question as to the law--how can anyone make critical comments if they don't know the law??? I have taken a strong position in my life when I observed a law was being broken and people were being harmed by the case of the law I talk about here---unless you have a buyer who is harmed by the way you work with them, in that you did not disclose fiduciary repsonsibility or that they have the choice to use a buyers broker---what law are you breaking? None that I know of---just the law of: "real estate agents should not be making money if it is an unusually large amount"...or "agents should never get both sides of a deal!" This way of thinking is very real and it is usually thinking of someone who does not really understand the real estate business.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Gary: I agree; and if you want to use that handle in your marketing---go ahead! Why not? If on the other hand you just started last week and you use the moniker---people do know that you are not truthful---therefore, "no business for you!!!" The last time I checked, not many new agents do that kind of thing---the ones that do get weeded out pretty fast!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Criticizing a point of view is one thing if you are polite about it and express why your view is the way it is! Attacking and making someone feel 2 inches tall is not acceptable. All you are showing is what a jerk you are!

Posted by Rosalie Evans, The Evans Group, Sioux Falls, SD Homes For Sale (Meritus Group Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I love your stance Paula.  You get it girl!

I have actually started telling people in the past few months that I don't consider myself an expert.  I have had over 350 transactions in my real estate career and every single one has been different.  How can I be an expert in my field if every situation is unique?  I have more experience, of course, but expert...nope.


Posted by Tricia Hoffmann (Your Home Free) about 7 years ago

I believe we can agree to disagree without name calling or rude behavior. Constructive criticism is usually welcome at least it is on my posts but rude behavior isn't welcome.

Posted by Nancy Laswick, Your REALTOR® For The Valley Of The Sun (United Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Super critical, such a business killer.  It's hard not to do sometimes.  The less judgmental we are the more love we have and can give of ourselves.  Kristine :)

Posted by Kim & Kristine Halverson, Realtors (, Santa Monica Real Estate :) ) about 7 years ago

I do notice differences of opinion and appreciate both viewpoints (usually). Most of the blogs and comments are thoughtful and some a stimulating. Thanks

Posted by Richard and Jean Murphy, (207) 712-4796 (Harborview Properties) about 7 years ago

We're not that far away, Paula. Can you hear that? It's me... I'm standing up CLAPPING!!!

I'd love it if those folks would concentrate more on (aka "MIND") their own business.

As the saying goes,"There are no statues erected to critics." And if one fancies themself a "cop", then go get a donut & ...

Posted by Brian Morgenweck, Broker/Owner, GRI, CRS, ABR, SRS (Power Realty Group, LLC Bergen County, NJ ) about 7 years ago

Blogs have always been the preferred forum to rant. I am as guilty as anyone. But it beats screaming into a pillow. 

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) about 7 years ago

'THE SUPER-CRITIC REALLY BUGS ME, CAN YOU TELL???'...yes I can loud and clear!


Posted by Margaret Rome, Baltimore Maryland, Sell Your Home With Margaret Rome ( HomeRome Realty 410-530-2400) about 7 years ago

Well, all I can say is being critical of the critical just makes for a vicious cycle. And...I'll go scream in a pillow now #13 lol

Posted by Celeste "SALLY" Cheeseman, (RA) AHWD CRS ePRO OAHU HAWAII REAL ESTATE (Liberty Homes) about 7 years ago

Paula, I missed the expert post. That is a common theme not to call ourselves experts. Expert means experience. If we have the experience why not say so. It's hard for me to get in their heads, but maybe some think that's breaking the law, don't know.

Dual agency is also another theme that is somehow wrong. In California dual agency is legal, that's right, an agent can represent both the seller and the buyer, wow, what a concept, but from what some agents think (and I'm talking California agents) you'd think dual agency is breaking one of the ten commandments.

Posted by Pamela Seley, Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA (West Coast Realty Division) about 7 years ago

It's unfortunatley a given with any online forum. There will always be the opinoinated and obnoxious. Most people like this comment based off their experience but fail to recognize that their experience is usually localized to a specific area and in many cases are specific to a subject matter this isn't applicable to the post they are commenting on. I chimed in on that expert post as well. Presenting yourself as an expert shold not be something you need to answer to another professional unless they are directly and negatively effected by it. The only person that can hold you responsible or liable to that claim is the client you gave that advice or guidance to. Let the other professionals express their opinion, it's only as meaniful as you allow it to be. 

You have to keep an open mind and undertstanding that markets are local and keep the responses constructive. 

Posted by Raymond Kennedy (Keller Williams Preferred Realty) about 7 years ago

I am always amazed at hate... I'm glad hate shows every time, it does not go unnoticed. What is surprising, the number of haters out there, way too many..What a great world it would be if we ALL treated each other with respect..."Great post 

Posted by Jon Kolsky, Licensed California Real Estate Broker (Kolsky Realty & Management) about 7 years ago

Wow, that must've been some post!  I've never encountered any of that slamming and name calling on AR.  That is just really unprofessional and out of line.

Posted by Jennifer Chiongbian, Real Estate Broker - NYC (Specializing in all types of Manhattan apts & townhouses) about 7 years ago

OMG - THis is ridiculous....I work  mostly as a buyers agent and I see SOOOOOOOOO many listing agents playing games with listings in hopes of double ending.  Don't get me started.  I (think) I read the post in question and agreed with it completely.  The person who wrote it (if I am correct about which post) was not in the least bit disrespectful.  They simply told it the way it was.  

The question is do you as a listing agent want so much to double end the deal that you harm your seller? You think buyers agents willingly bring in tons of buyers to listings where they are afraid their buyers will be stolen from them?  Agents who think its dandy to double end and take steps to do so like leaving BROKER'S copies of MLS listings on the premises are harming their SELLER...and thus not doing their fiduciary duty. Buyers agents learn FAST who to avoid and since they have the lions share of buyers.... well - what does that do for TRAFFIC???   What about the fiduciary duty to the seller??  Discouraging people from trying to work with the listing agent creates opportunities for the seller - because it means buyers agents know that they will be treated with respect and that in your zeal to double-end, you don't  make the transaction difficult. 

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) about 7 years ago

I hear you loud and clear Paula. We go through the same thing here. A buyer wants to buy one of my short sale listings. He is not a client. I went over with him with a fine toothed comb about agency. He KNOWS I represent the seller. He KNOWS he can get an agent to represent him. I also told him he will NOT get a better deal by going through me, the listing agent. He KNOWS because I explained agency through and through.

I know a lot of agents that do not either because they really do not understand it and think they do or want to double-end. When I explain Dual Agency to my sellers, they all do not want it. I don't blame them.

Great post Paula!

Posted by Jackie Connelly-Fornuff, "Moving at The Speed of YOU!" (Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Babylon NY) about 7 years ago

Yep, any time someone uses all caps (and bolds it to boot) it's pretty obvious they are bugged about something. Glad you got it out there and while I agree that some of the comments made are too critical, there are many comments made that are very thought provoking because they promote differing points of view. I filter out the extremes...and learn a lot from the back and forth blogs of my peers. And for the record, my personal opinion is that leaders are not usually experts...there you have it, now I don't have to scream it into my pillow!

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) about 7 years ago
Well said. I love this post. Sometimes people forget that this business is hyper local and what works in your area doesn't work in other areas. I'll admit that I'm an alpha personality and don't like being wrong. But sometimes you just have to admit that there are different ways of doing things and sometimes those ways are better.
Posted by Nathan Tutas, Your Central Florida Real Estate Expert (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) about 7 years ago

Rosalie: I agree; to open a conversation regarding an issue and crtiticism of a group or individual requires "expertise", if you up on it before you start to criticize the behavior--otherwise you fall into a super-critical category, in my opinion!

Tricia: Well, I believe that the person who has been actively "researching" (the key words are active and research! :) a subject may consider themselves experts---in my opinion, they long as they are actively involved in the subject matter!

Nancy: It is to me too--but I am talking about the posts that are written with the sole purpose being to criticize---this stance on any subject matter makes me cringe.

Kristine: You can say that again!!

Richard and Jean: Those, my dears, are NOT the posts I am talking about! 

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Brian: I agree--we are here to share opinions and to hear what others have to say--FROM THEIR POINT OF VIEW AND THEIR EXPERIENCE....that is the way we get to grow. If however, as I have noticed recently, there is a stance that does not allow an open discussion of some unknown facts, then I am outta there.....Criticism just to criticize is a control mechanism and nothing more!

Phillip: Leave it to you to find the humor in it!! :) I am guilty of being critical--we all are--I am referring to the recent posts that run on and on criticizing certain areas, or agents who are following their states LAWS who are getting needled with super-criticism when in fact they are following local laws--

Margaret: GOOD! :)

Celeste: So now you see the humor in it too! By the way I am talking about the "Super-Critical" posts :) I am as critical as the next person but I try to be informed if I do it....and I am always open to the other persons point of view--in the posts I mentioned, there was no room for the other positions.

Pamela: You are right on target--if the subject has not been thoroughly researched better to not criticize; just my opinion. And if someone feels they are an expert--who am I to say they are not?? I need to get into someones head to see if they are or not. I just see the super-criticism as a way to try to "run" things---"my way or the highway" and that is a very slippery slope.



Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Paula- I agree.  And what is with grudges? A lot of them still ongoing here too.  Life is too short, to carry ill will. Keep it positive, help each other and AR will be a great place to play,work, connect and thrive.

Posted by Allison Stewart, St. Cloud Fl Realtor, Osceola County Real Estate 407-616-9904 (St.Cloud Homes ) about 7 years ago

I'm with Margaret and YES. I can hear you. Glad you said it. Although I am not an agent any longer I definitly see your side. If the buyer wants to, go for it. As long as there is disclosure, fine. The "expert" thing really got to me because there is someone on AR that keeps demeaning me as a "so-called SEO expert". Regardless of how long I have done it, been doing it, as my regular business, making money and getting excellent results, I should in no way call myself an SEO expert I guess. I don't understand the mentality of some people just to be cruel and put others down other than the fact that they have been abused so much, they no longer have trust in anyone. I have to chalk it up to that, forgive them and move on. Great post and congrats on the feature. And I agree with J. Phillip... sometimes you just gotta rant!

Posted by Tammy Emineth, Content Marketer, SEO Teacher, Website Fixer (Personal SEO - Website SEO and Real Estate Marketing) about 7 years ago

RuthMarie: Again, here is a point of view coming from NOT having read my post---I am NOT talking about the agent who goes out to intentionally "Double-end" as you call it. As a buyers agent, maybe you need to be a little less super- critical of those who Choose not to be one. Please read the post. Thank you, by the way for exemplifying what I was trying to say about being Super-Critical....or criticizing without knowing your facts. I don't think you did that intentionally but super-critics can not see the other point of view and that is my point.

Jackie: Thank you for the perfect example of what we go through....I wish others would understand that we are NOT trying to "double-end"! There is an effort out there to make every marketing area the same--and it seems to be getting more urgent from what I am reading from those who take the position that the only way is their way! It is just another way to control, in my opinion and what better way to control than to be super-critical?

Charlie: I agree! And that is why I blog here on AR because no one tells me that I can not have my point of view---however, I am not talking about the member here who listens to others point of view and accepts it....I am talking here, about the Super-Critical one who takes on the mantel of having the ONLY way to do something. If the facts bare that out, all well and good. But the point is, when there is no room for the facts then I see that as very destructive.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago


I agree with you. Very often there are differences from one location to another. I am always cautious because many of our laws are quite different in Ontario. So, practice here may be at odds with the way it's done elsewhere. Accordingly, I have to tread carefully here, no matter what.


Posted by Brian Madigan, LL.B., Broker (RE/MAX West Realty Inc., Brokerage (Toronto)) about 7 years ago

Paula. What I have found is that if agents handle their business differently then what they are doing is wrong. When really it's just different.

I have always pushed the limits of what we can and can't do in this business. I work way outside the box. Many times my practices have been called unethical and illegal. But that's ok. They're just wrong......or different :)

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) about 7 years ago

Allison: Yes! And this is THE only place that we can muster out the differing points of view and let them fly free! Lets keep it that way. Do you know how many times I have wanted to write this post??? Well I finally got the nerve to do it and I am very, very pleased that we are having this discussion....ALL points of view are welcome here.

Tammy: Is this a rant??? I guess you guys are right!! It is a rant....and I am happy to get it off my chest. By the way, expert is such a sensitive word that it creates real anger in some. I have nothing against someone calling themselves an expert---they are the ones who will suffer if in fact they are NOT an expert! People are not stupid and they do ferret out the truth from the untruth--leave it up to the American people to find it! Good luck to you with your work and with your attitude, you will rise above the Super-Critic out there!


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago


So true. I always say all real estate is Local. Activerain is not as bad as Trulia. I've been on two heated threads on Trulia. Both questions were from a New York City buyer. At first both questions were answered by reputable Manhattan agents. Then come in the "well meaning" vultures from across the country that don't know what they are talking about and don't bother reading the other comments and totally confuse the poor consumer.

They throw around words like "unethical" and "illegal" with out any knowledge of such activities. Business models may differ but they are not illegal or unethical they are different.

As you and I both know, Prudential Douglas Elliman and Corcoran are the two largest brokerages in NYC. Together the two firms probably have 80-90% of the inventory in Manhattan maybe in The Hamptons too.

Any agent associated with either Corcoran or Douglas Elliman is most likely going to have transactions that are dual agency because in NY the broker determines agency not the agent. The best agents tend to be associated with the best brokers

Any agent at Elliman or Corcoran (or other large firm) that shows their buyer a property listed by another agent from the same brokerage (their brokerage has many listings) regardless of office then it is a dual agency with designated buyer agent and designated seller agent. It is perfectly legal and perfectly fine.

I've also had direct deals as a seller's agent and they were never a problem. In fact most buyers other than first time buyers when you tell them you represent the seller at an open house they say "DUH"


Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn (The Corcoran Group) about 7 years ago

Paula, I agree! Real estate laws are governed by a real estate commission in each state. As long as the agents follow their state regulations, what other think is unimportant.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA about 7 years ago

Raymond: Great points you  make here...the same ones I tried to make but your take is right on the mark! I lke your picture by the way!

Jon: Thank you and I agree--I don't know if it is hate that puts the Super-Critic into  gear, I do know that they are passionate about it and that makes it even more powerful---and scary to the respondent who has a differing point of view.

Jennifer: You are lucky if you have missed it--I do think that I am sensitive to it in this case because the statements made with such passion do not allow for the facts to appear and does not allow an opposing view point to be heard over the noise!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Paula, I am with you. Super critical is a super fail.


Posted by Dawn Maloney, 330-990-4236 Hudson & Northeastern Ohio (RE/MAX Trinity Northeast Ohio Real Estate Specialist) about 7 years ago

Well said, Paula.  I have definitely been critical of incompetent service from lenders, but I would not want to target a colleague.  As far as the whole expert things goes, when I see that, I hope it means the person on the other side of the deal is really a super smart colleague.  What I often find is that they sat in a class, received a certification calling them an expert and now they're my inexperienced counterpart in a deal.  Do I care if they call themselves an expert?  Not really.  I'd rather have them work like an expert.  8-)  Happy Monday!

Posted by Mike Cooper, GRI, Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro (Cornerstone Business Group Inc) about 7 years ago

the post in question is about doing what is right for the consumer and following the ethics.  While it might be perfectly legal to let a first time buyer go unrepresented is may not be the right thing to do.  the blogger in question understands the harm it can do.  

Posted by Miriam Bernstein, CRS about 7 years ago

Brian: I hear your reasoning and I think it is very wise to know what you don't know! Thank you!

Bryant: Good for you! In my opinion, and maybe yours as well, if we are functioning within the law and doing what we feel is right then who has the right to say it NOT right? I live by my belief system and that is: that each one of us has the right to freely express ourselves, live as we want without harming any one else in so doing and work to earn a living that we can live on, and remain true to my own standards which are well within the law...I am am tired of being called a "Double-ending" questionable agent when I work with a buyer who has selected me to work with.

Mitchell: You are so good! You make the point so clear--I wish I had your eloquence in the matter... I am so happy that you are a member here too--and I never go on Trulia but wish I had seen that thread you are referring to! "Bring it on" to all those who question the motives of those of us who work so hard to follow the laws of our state--this super-criticism is NOT taken lightly!   

Michael: I agree and now we will hear from the "Super-critics" that we are lowering the bar---when in fact the Super-Critics make it impossible to raise the bar because of the level of fear that is generated by their criticism! It is a vicious circle isn't it?



Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Dawn: Thank you!

Mike: I have always seen you as fair in your have a wonderful way of criticizing and it is called "constructive" ;)


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Paula, how does your area offer buyer agency compensation to agents representing buyers?  I've only seen a fee offered, with no breakdown- is it offered to either sub, dual or buyers agents? Where is it broken down?  I ask simply because those representing buyers need this info before showing a house- with no (real) mls, there's no locatable breakdown.  Perhaps a tweak is needed in your system to encourage all forms of representation.

With respect to "critical", sometimes dissent appears critical, but absent defensiveness, might be enlightening.  We've all had dissenters, and it often opens the door to comprehension.

Posted by Laurie Mindnich about 7 years ago

A great post Paula and it reflection time for a lot of bloggers. . criticizing someone in public speaks volumes of the person doing it. . those were the bullies back in high school. .

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) about 7 years ago

Miriam: You show me the law of ethics that says I am wrong to work with someone who has been fully informed, where all relationships are fully disclosed and agreed to.

Laurie: There is a breakdown of the splits on listing agreements which the brokerages and owners sign and again on the listing itself. By the way--I said "Super-Critical" not critical.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Fernando: Here, I am speaking of Super Critics; I have been critical myself and I try to allow for another point of view---a Super Critic does not even SEE the other point of view, much less understand it!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I believe in a frank discussion, and I also think that if you feel the need to vent AR has provided the forum, as to disagreeing with someone calling themselves an expert, it is a challenge. I have seen in the many years of doing real estate in my local markets agenst refer to themselves as experts and they are not. Can it be an ethical issue?

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) about 7 years ago

I apparently missed the blog in question.  I agree with you, I think the true meaning of the word "expert" has been lost.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) about 7 years ago

Paula: In general I hold myself to high standards and am often critical of others (because I am so critical of myself). That being said, the rant blogs, the blogs that criticize clients and the expert/non-expert blogs really are not doing much to bring business to that individual on Active Rain. Another piece of advice I would throw into the mix is that there are better and worse ways to be critical. For example, if I saw a raging typo in your blog post, I might just send you a private message, but I would feel uncomfortable about alerting you in the comments. Have a great week!

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) about 7 years ago

Some behaviors that I run into are dysfunctional child hood episodes cruelly lay-ed on kids by their parents. The trauma sticks to them like glue via resentment. Those kids grow up and do unto others what was done to them....not knowing that the programming is at work. I try to get past all that and I am quick to remind people...whats the problem here? We do this or don't do this and we work it out...Relax and enjoy the transaction...stay focused and clean out your closet and get rid of the garbage/ is too short here

Posted by Richie Alan Naggar, agent & author (people first...then business Ran Right Realty ) about 7 years ago

Would you see a problem if both the buyer and the seller used the same attorney?  Or would the lines be clear as to what each attorney's role is.  That is the same as buyers representation.  It is I believe legal for attorney's to represent both sides but it might not be in anyones best interests.  Same thing with representing both sides in a dual agency or representing one side and having the other go unrepresented. Does everyone you speak to understand what giving up "undivided loyalty" means in a negotation?  It is a difficult concept for most agents not to mention the public.

Posted by Miriam Bernstein, CRS about 7 years ago

Great post, Paula.  I have to agree with everything you've said.  While I do believe there is a time and a place for everything, what I see overall is that many agents can't seem to be rational in their discussions. They seem to take an "absolute" stance on nearly everything, and that leads to the super critical dialogs.

Posted by Bryan Robertson, Broker, Author, Speaker (Intero Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Insecure people feel the need to put others down to make them feel better. They are just bullies. As to the buyer working with a listing agent? I've done it...from open houses mostly, or sign calls...and I disclose and get permission prior to doing anything. I also have someone else do the negotiating, writing the offer and negotiating any repairs. Just to be safe...but that's me. I have no problem with it working any other way...if all parties agree.

Posted by Karen Fiddler, Broker/Owner, Orange County & Lake Arrowhead, CA (949)510-2395 (Karen Parsons-Fiddler, Broker 949-510-2395) about 7 years ago

In a world of frustration, the frustrated have their release in cyberspace by simply hitting a few keystrokes, without much fear of repercussions.

Good post, thanks for sharing it.

Posted by Anthony Daniels, SF Bay Area REO Specialist (Coldwell Banker) about 7 years ago

I try to avoid calling myself expert at anything - I prefer the description of "specialist".

Posted by Chris Lewis, I want to SELL your home, not LIST it! (Gracious Living Realty) about 7 years ago

Paula, it's like you got two posts incorporated into one, but you only get one star. What someone else does is not m problem, nor can I control them. Buyers or sellers will chose the agent they want to work with , which is their prerogative. As for the negativism, sometimes a social rant, members only helps to clear the mind and get an answer from someone that is completely dis-connected, like getting a second or third opinion.  And, Paula, I promise to never criticise you again!

Posted by Ed Silva, Central CT Real Estate Broker Serving all equally (RE/MAX Professionals, CT 203-206-0754 ) about 7 years ago

Hi Paula,  Great topic - and much needed.  I see the problem as one where the writer has a need to express themselves but crosses the line of civility.  Playing nice in the sandbox is a little tricky for some !

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) about 7 years ago


There is so much to post about.  Why would anyone want to write a critical post about another person?  California allows dual agents as long as there is confirmation that all parties know about it(at least 3 times in written documents).  As for me, I don't feel I can represent both sides of a transaction equally, so I will not represent a buyer when I have a listing.  That is my choice.  Many in my office and area do represent both parties without any problems and that is their choice. 

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) about 7 years ago

That must've been some post!! I agree with Richie #47, one could easily express their behaviour without all the negative stuff!! Our main goal is to serve our Buyer and Seller clients and do everything we can to ensure a smooth transaction. I've had both sides of the transaction before and this was disclosed to all parties, it's their choice whom they wish to work with.

Posted by Beth Atalay, Cam Realty of Clermont FL (Cam Realty and Property Management) about 7 years ago

Lorraine: In my opinion, if someone calls themselves an expert, I could care less---let the client, customer or whatever discover whether they are telling the truth about such a thing or not. In my case ..I will leave that up to someone else to call me an expert if they feel they can identify one!...but I  will never find fault for someone who calls themselves one if they think they are.

Kathy:: Thank you--but the post was about so much more than that!

Melissa: You are too kind! Did you see a typo? :( All kidding aside, I am referring to the Super-Critical agent who thinks they are right and anyone else is wrong if they do things differently....the terms "Double-sided" "greedy agent" and a "buyer who wants a cut of the commission" are the things I find offensive--just who are these people who feel they can judge others like that---and to be so vehement about it!

Richie: That is such a "Richie" answer!...and so perfectly stated..I just hope the right people read your comment!


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Miriam: But we are not talking about lawyers here.....they are actually another reason the buyer and seller feel confident in the arrangement---I do not practice law and lawyers do.

Bryan: Good! You are so right too about the stance that these Super-Critical agents take---they literally CAN"T see the other point of view because of the stance they take---it's like, if you were to draw a cartoon of the Super-Critic it would look like a person preaching a message--with their back to the person to whom they are addressing the message!

Karen: Glad you can see the point here! I too have no problem with the way ANYONE works with whomever they work with...go for it! We are in such a business that when you have the opportunity to work with someone, and you have done everything you need to be to comply with all local laws, who is to say you are in the wrong?

Anthony: I feel like it is deeper than frustration but you are right--it starts with that and develops into an outright rant about the "wrong" way others are doing things--Super-Critical is what I call it and it is not very appealing.


Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago


Hello.  I'm not sure where you draw the line between critical and super-critical.  Sometimes I'm critical because the post is so stupid and incorrect.  But I don't think I attack the person, just their dumb idea.  Is that critical or super-critical?  I like this post, incidentally, and I don't think it's stupid or incorrect.  Would you say I'm critical or super-critical?

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) about 7 years ago

Chris: Good--and do you condemn those who do choose to use the word if they feel that they are expert at something? Let them call themselves what they will--and lt the consuming public identify a liar or a thief if they are!

Ed: That was the BEST criticism I have ever gotten! :)

Bill: Civility is such a good word and I am so glad you brought it up--but I think that the importance of civility becomes secondary in some of the posts I am referring to---there is downright super-critical character assassination going on in some of them, by the name calling and the degrading nature of the criticism.

Evelyn: Thank you for your objectivity--and look, you didn't have to assassinate someone's character to get your point across! Bravo to you and those who thin like you do---we are not here to judge everyone intentions--we DON'T KNOW what the intent is of someone who is working with a buyer and seller, now do we?

Beth:...and to you too! Bravo for being able to objectively hold an opinion about the idea of working both sides of a deal.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Lloyd: VERY GOOD! I like your approach--you do have an opinion and yet you don't have to destroy the other person's character by holding your own---now that to me is constructive criticism. Super-Critical is a position which is taken by a few people who don't have the tolerance OR the ability to see that there is another position as valid as their's. We are actually witnessing this right now in politics---one side takes a position and can not possibly see the other's!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Paula: It all makes good reading, and I haven't really thought of it one way or the other. We have all been attacked by an agent who either hasn't read our post in total, or has his/her distinct point of view... You make a good point though.. and of course I am going to search for the blog you mentioned!  It beats doing work! Best, G

Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) about 7 years ago

Gay: You are something else--and I don't mean that Super-critically!! :)

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Paula, this blog seems to evoke lots of passion.   Maybe a concrete example might help us understand how a double-ended transaction is handled in your state.   (If allowed, "double-ending" certainly isn't a dirty word.)

In NY, when you have a listing and a prospective buyer (without an agent), wants to engage in back-and-forth negotiations, do you provide a disclosure of your representation of the seller, only?     Or, does the listing agent become a facilitator of the transaction and provide disclosure of dual agency, instead?  Or, perhaps you have the choice as to which agency you prefer?

If, for example, the buyer asks "do you think the seller would reduce the price another 5%?" would the listing agent have any ethical problem addressing this question?  

This would certainly help me understand.  


Posted by Brian L. Sirota, Esq., For Solutions: (714) 501-7660 (Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney)) about 7 years ago

Brian: I am sponsored by a brokerage who is licensed as a listing brokerage. We handle listings for the seller--both open listings and exclusive listings. I run ads on and hold open houses at my exclusive listings, as do all other agents in the community. The brokerages in this community are all listing brokerages. If I get a call on one of my ads, I address the representation right away---ask if the buyer has a buyer's agent that they are working with and if they say no, I proceed to inform them of my fiduciary responsibility to the seller. This rarely happens; most buyers come to me on my listings from other agents so it is not something I must do very often. However, in ALL cases, both seller and buyer are asked to sign a New York State disclosure form which states clearly who I represent and that the buyer without an agent would be working with me if they choose to. The situation rarely comes up but when it does it is usually because the buyer WANTS to work with the listing agent on any property they look at. If you  read the comments above--Jackie Connelly also talks about the way it is handled. She is a NY agent also.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Paula, so in your example, you represent the seller, only.   Or, you may choose to represent both seller  buyer?    I was asking how your responsibilities would be different under these two arrangements.   


Posted by Brian L. Sirota, Esq., For Solutions: (714) 501-7660 (Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney)) about 7 years ago

Brian: I don't understand your question because I have told you in the post what my responsibilities are..I think you are looking for a legal description which, again, I am not a lawyer so I would suggest you contact a lawyer who handles NY State disclosure law to give you all the variations on the law.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Paula, I appreciate the time you gave my question.

As an aside, I like and have some very cool memories from the Hamptons.


Posted by Brian L. Sirota, Esq., For Solutions: (714) 501-7660 (Bristar Realty (Realtor/Attorney)) about 7 years ago

Brian: That's terrific! Let's hope you make it out this way again--it is a very beautiful place!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I missed all of the blogs referred to.

I have spoken in opposition to dual agency before expressing my opinion that it is not something that I feel demonstrates a maximum interest to either side.  Again that's my opinion.  If it works for someone else more power to them.  We all have choices even when it's within our legal boundaries.  I've also tried to balance the fine line of not criticizing the agents who perform it as I have a lot of respect for some in my office who do (love them as close friends). 

We should all be able to express an opinion in a blog that allows for comments, but not to the point of unprofessionalism and bullying. It is unacceptable.


Posted by Andi Grant, Helping 1st time buyers and home sellers in LA! (310-508-4354 | about 7 years ago

Sorry I'm late to this post. Came over from Lenn's reblog. I don't comment on blogs that are critical about things that are legal here in California. We obviously work within the rules. Especially dual agency which is legal here. I always explain and have them sign off on what it means when a buyer calls me on my listings to make an offer through me, a broker with my own brokerage. As to an "expert"? That's an overused word unless it is regulated somehow. (No, no I don't recommend that!) Since you can't be an expert in everything, I believe you are limiting yourself if you only go after one kind of client.

Posted by Hella Mitschke Rothwell, Hawaii & California Real Estate Broker ((831) 626-4000) about 7 years ago

Andi: I don't get it--if someone is doing their job and a buyer CHOOSES to work with an agent who has a listing---what is wrong with that? It blows my mind that this has such a "lobby" against it! It comes down to one agent saying to another: "You chose to work with the buyer as a listing agent just to get more money!" That's what I keep hearing from people who appose it....that and the idea that the buyer is not represented!-- That is what they CHOOSE to do..Maybe you can explain this concept to me.  

Hella: Who do you think will regulate the use of "Expert"? I can't imagine the hubris it would take to lay claim to the authority to prohibit the use of any word--or even regulate it! Anyway--glad you got here and I thank you for your valuable input! I CAN use the word to call anyone I choose, an expert--When it comes to me being expert? I like to leave that up to someone else to say--and then I look upon that as a very high complement!....and I would never criticize anyone who does want to identify themselves as an expert---who am I to say they are NOT an expert??? That would take the same boldness as some claim the "Expert" has taken!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

99.9% of buyers who have the process and issues expained correctly will choose to be represented.  Why would any buyer choose not to be?  It is in the explanation I would guess.  If an agent says "don't worry I will get the deal done" in stead of "everything you tell me if I represent the seller I have to reveal to the seller by law - so if you tell me that you are willing to increase your offer to such and such you need to know that I MUST disclose that to the seller and maybe before you want me to"

Posted by Miriam Bernstein, CRS about 7 years ago

Paula - I have no problem with a buyer choosing whom they want to represent them.  It's all about choices that's why buyer agency came into affect.

I think Miriam just explained it best.  Most buyers who understand fudiciary duty and agency will in most cases choose their own representation.  For the buyers who do not, I don't begrudge them, that's on them.

Who in the below situation has the most to lose?  And in what order?   My guess:

#1  Buyer representing themselves in a FSBO

#2  Buyer allowing listing agent to represent them

#3  Buyer having their own buyer representation  (my opinion this person is most likely to benefit the most in the home buying scenario)

Posted by Andi Grant, Helping 1st time buyers and home sellers in LA! (310-508-4354 | about 7 years ago

I like Brian's question (unanswered)- if the buyer asks if the seller would reduce the price by 5%, and you (as the listing agent) know that they would, how do you respond?  Especially if you're also aware that the buyer will purchase at full price?

If the buyer is represented the offer goes in at 5% under, and is accepted; without, they pay full price.

It's so much less complicated when each side has their own representation.  Or, none at all- a lawyer at NYSAR got furious when I suggested that NY should just have us all be transaction brokers to avoid the nonsense that they've forced on all of us with an agency disclosure that's so frequently misunderstood by Realtors, and consumers.

Posted by Laurie Mindnich about 7 years ago

Miriam and Laurie: This post is regarding the "Super Critical agent" and not really about the idea that you all have brought into this post--and that is that buyers should all have representation whether they want it or not. I do not agree. I prefer to allow them the freedom to have their own choice and I have worked with them without anyone being harmed.  Although I rarely have a circumstance that you mention here in your comments I will say to all of you  that if I have a buyer who wants their own representation I will let them have it...I have never had that situation come up.

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

Paula, my first comment #71 was agreeing with you about the critical agent when expressing an opposing opinion. My 2nd comment was in response to your question you posed to me in your comment to me #73. 

In your comment #77 you say that my idea is that buyers should all have representation whether they want it or not. 

The FIRST line of my comment #75 says "I have no problem with a buyer choosing whom they want to represent them."  I don't know how my agreeing with you about critical agents while acknowledging our differences turned into this. 

Posted by Andi Grant, Helping 1st time buyers and home sellers in LA! (310-508-4354 | about 7 years ago

Paula, you seem to be super critical of some of the comments!

Posted by Miriam Bernstein, CRS about 7 years ago

Andi: I did review the comments and I see that it appeared I was not in agreement with you when in fact I am! I removed your name from the Collective response above because I want to respond to you directly: In the case of NY State disclosure, we have a very detailed form that a buyer is given in the event they are in the position of wanting to work with alisting agent and I also explain very carefully that they have the choice of represntation---It must be very similar to your's in California...thank you for bring my error to my attention!

Miriam: You are very funny!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago

I didn't suggest that buyers should have representation "whether they want it or not", either, but you're correct, Paula- your post was derailed due to some good comments.  Not sure that's a bad thing!

What I state is that buyers, if aware that the listing agent is full on board with the seller without a life preserver for the buyer, should be made aware that this is the way it is when buying from any Realtor legally representing the seller only, because that is the listing agents job- to represent the seller only.

As for the super critical agent, not sure I've ever met one.

Posted by Laurie Mindnich about 7 years ago

Laurie: My  post was not derailed---I think it is a terrific one in that it got great comments!

Posted by Paula Hathaway, REALTOR, LBA, ...The Most Informed Agent In The Hamptons! (Douglas Elliman Real Estate) about 7 years ago