Fort Worth Real Estate Online


How Important Is Your Credibility ?

I recently wrote a post titled What You Write in the Comments Section of your Listings... Can Either Make or Break your Credibility .

In one of the comments... a commentor seemed to imply that I was being selfish or self-centered.  The implication was that I was over-concerned in trying to "build my own credibility within a Community..." (with that "community" being the other Realtors who read my listings remarks before showing my listings.)

In a question he asked me... he seemed to think that I was choosing establishing "MY" own credibility... over "representing the Seller  as the Listing Agent]. In other words... that I was more concerned about my self, than about my Seller.

I was holding that I should not be "unrealistically rosy" about the condition of my listing.  Basically... that I should not "tap dance" my way through the Realtor remarks... hoping to increase the number of showings.

My response was:

I would not be representing my Seller very well if I wrote information in the "remarks" section of their listing... that were not true, or that really showed both the buyer's agent and the buyer that I was misrepresenting the condition of the home... just to get showings. 

There is a saying in sales... "under-promise, over-deliver."  In the case of playing up the house to be more than it is... the usual response of the buyer when they see it, and their Realtor as well... is usually... "this house is NOT like the write-up claimed.  Get me outta here."

"My" credibility is extremely important. 

When my reputation with the Realtors in my area brings them to know that what I say is true... they will show my listings much more often... than they will show the listings of other agents whom they may know from past dealings... do not write the truth, or may over-embellish when describing the condition of the house they have listed.

Every agent makes up their own mind as to what homes they show and what homes they do not show.  And sometimes... if an agent has the reputation of sometimes being believable, and sometimes not... the buyer's agent may choose not to show a home.

And that... can hurt my Seller.  Big time !

What would you have said ?


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Comment balloon 50 commentsKaren Anne Stone • January 20 2011 12:00AM


I feel the listing agent owes it to the showing agents to be honest in the agent's remarks.  Nothing is worse then to take a buyer to a home that looks nothing like the pictures or comments.  The buyers feel you as their agent, should know about the condition of the home before you waste their time, especially if you recommended they look at the home.

Posted by Christopher Taylor almost 10 years ago

Karen, I very much agree with you, every part of this business we are establishing our reputation.  YES we keep our clients as the most important number one, but our reputation helps us do our job to the best for our clients! Beat to you in 2011!!

Posted by Joan Valverde, GRI,CDPE,CNE,MRP,SRES Colo Sprgs, Blk Forest, Monu (HomeSmart ) almost 10 years ago

I want honesty in the remarks, but I also want information and the best foot forward for the seller who we are representing.  You are right our reputation is very important in this business otherwise no one wants to deal with us and makes our listings harder to sell.

Posted by 'The Diamond Group' 'A Cut Above The Rest', Lubbock Texas Real Estate (The Diamond Group @ Keller Williams) almost 10 years ago

Christopher:  That was the point I was trying to make... and didn't seem to be getting anywhere in this instance.  I think that having credibility IS something that really helps my own seller.  Honesty is best.  And... under promise, over deliver.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 10 years ago

You are so right, "under promise, over deliver" my new motto.

Posted by Christopher Taylor almost 10 years ago

Karen Anne, you are so spot on with this blog, in my opinion.  I can't begin to tell you how many times the "glory" statements are SO misleading.  Sure, a little "fluff" is nice, but I've seen so man outright lies and would rather have the reality with little or no shocks.  If buyers are "fixer uppers" or have "vision" and are prepared to walk into a house "needing cosmetic work", I think they are prepared mentally when they first walk in the door.  Versus the "wow, your clients will LOVE this" stuff.  WTG and I recommended for a feature. 

Posted by Juli Vosmik, Scottsdale/Cave Creek, AZ real estate 480-710-0739 (Dominion Fine Properties) almost 10 years ago

Joan:  I think these two go hand in hand... the the first... keeping our credibility high, both encourages and enables our credibility.  And the best to you in 2011 as well.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 10 years ago

Elizabeth:  Honesty is SO important.  All we need to do... is read some mis-leading "glowing" comments about a listing, and then go show it, and look like a fool to our buyers... and the chances of our EVER showing another one of that agent's listings... are appreciably diminished.  Even though each of us owes COMPLETE fidelity to our client... our buyer or our seller... real estate still is... a team sport.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 10 years ago

Christopher:  That is a great motto to adopt.  If you can do that... the success you will achieve will be boundless.

By the way... I have taken time to visit your blog just now... and see that you are a recent Newbie.  So... Welcome to Active Rain.  If you like, with me being an "Oldbie..." I would be glad to take a closer look at your blog and your posts.. and perhaps give you a suggestion or two... if that would not be seen as my "butting in."  <smile>  Keep up the great work.  And... keep on commenting.  That is just as important as writing posts.

I also saw that you have not joined very many Active Rain groups.  Here is a tutorial post I wrote Using the Active Rain "Groups Feature."   (I do that a lot... former teacher, here) 

I hope you find it helpful.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 10 years ago

Juli:  You are "spot on" as well.  If I read in the comments all about this "creampuff"... and then take my buyers in, and find it is more like a stale donut... everybody loses.  The buyers feel like they have been "had"... and I look like a fool.  Ummm... I don't like that.  <smile>

Under promise, over deliver.  And... thank you so very much for your kindness in recommending this for a Feature.  Huggs to you.

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 10 years ago

Credibility is so super duper important.  I'm in a small town here & we all know who's properties we love to show :)

my signature

Posted by Christina ONeal, Realtor - Ripon California (At Home Real Estate Group) almost 10 years ago

Christina:  That really is true... I am sure.  You are looking at the new listings as they pop up... and up comes one where you just KNOW that the Realtor has credibility.  And that allows you to call your buyers and feel more confident that you can tell them what the listing says... rather than feel like a dork because you know the agent, and remember how they usually misrepresent the condition of a home in a feeble attempt to get showings.

I will have to go over to your blog, and look up Ripon... and Tracy... on Google Maps.  For some reason, knowing where your city is... it helps me "focus" on getting to know you.  Just a "quirk" of mine.  I do it often.  Does this make any sense ?  <smile>

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 10 years ago

Karen Anne... Are you a visual learner?  My city is slightly west of Modesto, slightly south of Stockton... I know, you are thinking yucky cities :)  they have some good parts to them :)  Have a great night.

my signature

Posted by Christina ONeal, Realtor - Ripon California (At Home Real Estate Group) almost 10 years ago

Christina:  Silly goose.  I don't know enough about Modesto and Stockton to think they are yucky.  But I did just do the Google Map thing.  It is incredible.  I was able to look in the windows of your office using the Google satellite imagery.  It's just amazing.  (just kidding, really I am.)  <impish smile>

Posted by Karen Anne Stone, Fort Worth Real Estate (New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County) almost 10 years ago

Hello Karen and Credibility is very important in our business! Some great writing and your post has been "Highlighted/ Featured" at one of my favorite groups at Activerain ...

Addicted to Active Rain


Posted by Robert Vegas Bob Swetz almost 10 years ago

I think that this is one of those cases when you write it off to the other guy not understanding!  First and foremost we have to have credibility to ourselves, it then shows through to everything that we do.  You know you're doing it right!

Posted by Kate Bourland, Onlilne Marketing Mobile Marketing (Marketing with Kate) almost 10 years ago

I totally agree to your eloquently written blog post.  Credibility is critical in all business and personal endeavors, being truthful and honest results with you being respected.

Posted by Sun City Grand Homes Surprise AZ Real Estate Leolinda Bowers Designated Broker Leolinda Realty, Sun City Grand in Surprise Arizona (Leolinda Realty) almost 10 years ago

Karen, I think that agents soon learn who "Puffs" thier property descriptions. Buyer's agents can't be faulted for skipping listings that they know are probably not going to live up to the description. 

Posted by Maureen Fukumoto, Maureen (Help-U-Sell Realty Pro) almost 10 years ago

Good morning Karen Ann, what we say about a property, the photos we choose to put in listings can either represent the true picture or not. I prefer to be truthful. And I appreciate when others are truthful instead of wasting my time and getting my buyers angry.

Posted by Andrea Swiedler, Realtor, Southern Litchfield County CT (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties) almost 10 years ago

I think you should be truthful without being ugly.  If the house needs repairs, you don't have to list every repair but say, home in need of repair.  I hate opening the door to a home where the description says nice home, good condition and you walk in and you find the bathroom tiles are falling off and the last time the kitchen was updated was in 1970.  Waste of everyones time.

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) almost 10 years ago

Hi, Karen Anne...I agree with you...what a waste of everyone's time to misrepresent a house in the remarks, or with pictures that are misleading. I love that expression too...under promise, over deliver! Thanks!

Posted by Nina Rogoff, Sells Real Estate! (RE/MAX Executive Realty) almost 10 years ago

Without credibility, you are destined to fail in this business.  I was just in a home that would have to be cleaned up in order to be condemned -- and the agent remarks made it sound absolutely wonderful.  Fool me once, shame on you . . .

Posted by Richard Strahm, Lansdale and North Penn Real Estate (American Foursquare Realty) almost 10 years ago

We find that relationships with other agents in our market are critical, so being up front in the way we present a listing is important. That being said, you always have to walk the fine line with making a seller satisfied with how their home is presented as well. I think the agents, like the one who commented to you, that take things too far in thinking they are really representing their sellers best interest may in fact be hurting themselves and their seller as a result.

Posted by Dan and Amy Schuman, Luxury Home Specialists (Howard Hanna Real Estate Services) almost 10 years ago

I'm with you on that one Karen.  Trust with the other agent is huge in making the deal come together, and then stick.  If they start off with trickery to the public, it's highly unlikely that they'll play it straight with you during the deal.

Posted by Karen Crowson, Your Agent for Change (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) almost 10 years ago

I'm with you too, Karen Anne.  Our reputation follows us from listing to listing.  If we have a reputation for exxageration, then agents may poo-poo our listings.  Be honest.  That's the only way to go.

Posted by Chris Ann Cleland, Associate Broker, Bristow, VA (Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA) almost 10 years ago

I'm with you too.  Of course we want to make the comments enticing, but they need to be true.  POtential buyers can also see through some of the more exagerated comments.  THey often do drive by's as well and if they feel one part of the remarks was not true, they will assume all of the comments about that home are untrue and blow it off.

Posted by Kristen Wheatley, Supporting Success - Best Job in the World! (Better Homes & Gardens | The Masiello Group) almost 10 years ago

Karen..i think that was an excellent answer ..reputation is everything


Posted by Hannah Williams, Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376 (HomeStarr Realty) almost 10 years ago

How important is my credibility?  Well how much does my word mean?  It hopefully defines me as a human being even more than a professional.  I would rather deal with a thief than a lier and when you give false information, it's a lie.

Posted by Liz Wallace, Broker C21 Sherlock Homes, Rockville Centre, LI, N (Century 21 Sherlock Homes) almost 10 years ago

I vote for honesty in agents remarks.... this info will help me further market the house!

Posted by Sussie Sutton, David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers (David Tracy Real Estate) almost 10 years ago

Karen,  Honesty and integrity is very important to me.   I know that I must even work harder to prove to my clients that I mean what I say and I stand by it.  I see that I am having to prove myself or being interviewed more my clients in today's market compared to the last 20 years.  I think it's  because the mortgage officers have been hit hard with credibility due to bad subprime loans.   It sometimes bothers me that I am being drilled so hard lately (20 years of experience) but I totally understand where the potential clients are coming from.   They just want to make sure they are being connected with the right loan officer that will take care of them and get the job done.   To add one more thing.... Yes,  under promise and over deliver is key... in my opinion.. It makes you look like a hero!

Posted by Stephanie Stringer, Mortgage Loan Originator (First Choice Loan Services NMLS#210764) almost 10 years ago

Never distort I would say Karen Anne but put things in their best light. Like looking at things positively.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) almost 10 years ago

Hi Karen Anne... I think that once your credibility is gone there is much left to sustain a positive reputation.

Posted by Steve Shatsky almost 10 years ago

Hi Karen-Anne - Sellers don't care - they want you to paint the best picture possible about THEIR home - but the potential blow back is a serious problem and that good reputation that we build is what keeps agents coming to our listings.

Posted by Ruthmarie Hicks (Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605) almost 10 years ago

Amen, Sista! If sellers want their house to have a glowing write-up in the remarks, they need to be sure the home actually glows. After all, that may be one way to convince them to spruce it up!

MLS is a cooperative. It is not merely a method of advertising. To that end, REALTORS® should be able to count on the honesty of descriptions, instead of having to write off everything as hype. When we get to the point that the hype is all that counts, we have nothing that is useful. It's not just about personal promotion, listing promotion, or even personal credibility and integrity--it's about the continued usefulness of the cooperative effort that MLS represents.

Posted by Liz Lockhart, GRI, Cape Girardeau Real Estate (Riverbend Realty, Cape Girardeau, MO) almost 10 years ago

Karen, I totally agree.. our word IS our credibility!! We must strive to never loose that...


Posted by Sheila Newton Team Anderson & Greenville SC, Selling the Upstate since 1989 (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - C. Dan Joyner) almost 10 years ago

Karen Anne - Sorry, this might be echoing somebody else already, it doesn't take long to build credibility, but once it's in question, it will take years to correct if ever.  I don't want to be in that position.

BTW, your help with picture insert is truly appreciated.  It's been fixed and I gave you a shout out on my blog.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Posted by Yolanda Hoversten, Broker - O Fallon, IL Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties) almost 10 years ago

KarenAnne, your credibility is extremely important, as is the credibility of every agent. How we represent ourselves in the MLS will impact our sellers either positively or negatively, so it is necessary to protect our credibility. Your point was spot on, it is too bad that some people did not get it.

Posted by William James Walton Sr., Greater Waterbury Real Estate (WEICHERT, REALTORS® - Briotti Group) almost 10 years ago

Good morning Kearn, I would have to agree you. I have a lot of buyers. Some are looking for fixer uper and some are looking for turn key. It is not just that my time is valueble, but the buyer's time is too. When we walk into a house that sound just like what they are looking for and the home is trashed they are disappointed and a lot of mad.                                                                           

Posted by Arleen Montford, Selling NW Florida Homes in Pace/Milton/Pensacola FL (KELLER WILLIAMS REALTY GULF COAST ) almost 10 years ago

I would't take it personally, some agents can be so un-professional.

Posted by Raiza Schwartz, CDPE (West USA Realty) almost 10 years ago

Sometimes you can't win no matter how hard you try or how right you are.  I wonder if he had just got off the phone with a testy client or difficult bank employee before he spoke with you.  I really like the expression you cited, under promise and over deliver.  It's safe, practical and smart.

Posted by Janet McCarthy, Broker Associate (San Diego Homes Guide ) almost 10 years ago

Hey Karen, Your heart and head is in the right spot.  Credibility is Crucial.  Eventually, the less desirable agents will weed themselves out.  We just can't take their comments to heart. DJ

Posted by Debbie Jean (DJ) Artrip (Debbie Jean (DJ) Artrip, Cardinal Real Estate, Northern Mich) almost 10 years ago

Karen - Creditability is key in life, business and friendship and should be taken very seriously. Love Richard's remark - "I was just in a home that would have to be cleaned up in order to be condemned" - perfect illustration to make this so important point!

Posted by Kristine Ginsberg, NJ Home Stager (Elite Staging and Redesign, LLC) almost 10 years ago

A great post.

Posted by Joshua Zargari, MJ Decorators Workshop (MJ Decorators Workshop LI staging and home decorating) almost 10 years ago

Hi Karen: I try to wax euphoric BUT be honest also... If the house is lovely, then I am not going to write otherwise, and I endeavor to be poetic....  if the house is not so nice.... then you stress the positives.... I cannot stand calling an agent and hearing that agent state how wonderful a house is.. noly to find out it has an overlofwing toilet, and flooding on the first two floors (exaggeration) but you know what I mean... This is where we should all attend those broker's open houses, and so we can write to our clients exactly what we saw...  I wrote last week... 'great photography' on one house... not the same in person!  Best, Gay

Posted by Gay E. Rosen, As Real as Real Estate Gets! (Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty) almost 10 years ago

I think it is everything. Although we are in different businesses a bit, there is nothing I abhor more than giving out delayed or wrong information. To me, credibility is what separates us from the rest. Thanks for the post!

Posted by Paul McFadden, Pest Control, Seattle, WA. (Responsive Pest Control) almost 10 years ago

Karen - I know the agents in my area who embellish in their comments -  'a little TLC' from him usually means "complete redo needed". We are honest and try to find the best our homes have to offe,r but I don't lie or be intentionally dishonest with my MLS remarks. 


Posted by Christianne O'Malley, Exceptional Service - Delivering Results in Reno! (Dickson Realty) almost 10 years ago


 Credibility and perseverance is everything in this business. Keep to your original statement.

-John Gall

Posted by John Gall (Nextage Property Solutions) almost 10 years ago

I agree that comments should give a realistic narrative while making as many positive (if true) points as possible. It's a waste of everyone's time to misrepresent a property and can hurt sellers' chances.

Posted by Retired Notworking almost 10 years ago

Your reputation is priceless not only with your seller, but the other business partners involved in the transaction.  There is no substitute for doing the job the right way the first time.

Posted by Kathy Sheehan, Senior Loan Officer (Bay Equity, LLC 770-634-4021) almost 10 years ago


I agree entirely.  Our reputation and credibility are so important.  We certainly get to know who is providing the clearest information on behalf of their clients.  Today with the internet being such an important part of marketing as well, and, so many photos being available buyers are certainly looking for clear representation of properties. What we say and do with one another survives well after the sale.


Posted by Barbara "Barb" Bodnar, Licensed Associate RE Broker, Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 9 years ago