Active Rain January 29, 2010

Should Real Estate Bloggers Have a “Blue Code of Silence?”

There have been a number of featured blogs on Active Rain decrying what the authors perceive as either negativity, finger pointing, or undignified criticism of the competition on the part of fellow bloggers. Their rationale is honorable; they don’t want the public to see agents bickering among themselves, nor do they feel it professional for one licensee to point the finger at another. I respect their intentions, but I disagree. 

Here’s why: Licensees, especially REALTORS, should not have a Blue Code of Silence. That Code, if you don’t know, is the unwritten ethic of police officers not to rat out another who has broken the rules. If the public sees an agent annoyed with another, it doesn’t look very nice sometimes. Agreed. If the public thought that we are covering up each other’s misdeeds, we it would be a mortal blow to an already injured public image. 

NAR members are already under criticism for a Pollyanna-like spin on the market. If you added a saccharin style of blogging where calling out the bad practices we see were avoided at all costs in the name of being positive, it wouldn’t make up more professional. It would make us more fake. 

The public appreciates authenticity. They want to work with real people who have real feelings and see things the way they see them. If we get to a house and The updated kitchen turns out to be from the Brady Bunch, I’m going to kvetch about it, right there. I’m not going to make an excuse for the listing agent. And I’ll blog about it. I certainly won’t write “That jerk Phil Faranda doesn’t know what an updated kitchen is,” but it would be a good characterization of the events. There are lines not to cross. You don’t make personal attacks , ad hominem accusations, or violate article 15 of the Code of Ethics. But you should call it how you see it without spin. 

I have often said that we need to police ourselves and call out those among us who do a bad job. The public needs to know that we value holding our colleagues to a high standard more than we value propping up a phony image. There should be no complicity among us except to serve our clientèle.