10 Things I Hated About Managing Big Offices

For fourteen years, I managed some of the largest real estate offices in Mercer County. While managing provided a good living and many good times and some nice friendships, there are many things, especially when I look back, which I do not miss.  Here they are, in no cetain order:

1. Agent gossiping and jealousy. The constant chatter about who got what leads, referrals, or why someone got a special desk. On occasion, it could get so bad that people would just make up stories and spread rumors about others. Not very nice stories, either. Lots of jealousy.

2. Fighting over leads.  On the surface it seems pretty simple. The client should know who they choose to work with. But sometimes an agent would believe that just because they knew someone, that meant they had “ownership” of that client. Many times agents would fight privately, then gossip about the other for months or years. Nice.

3. The Parent Company Agenda. As a manager, your job is to recruit, supervise, coach, lead and get sales #’s up.  But at some companies, all they did was talk about how to get their agents to use their mortgage and title companies. Let me be specific. In managers meetings, we would spend 90% of our time brainstorming this. Less than 10% was about real estate, or how to manage an office.

4. Crummy In-House Services. So, back in the trenches, I am to the point of begging my agents to give the mortgage lead to the “in-house” company guy. Who on most occasions was really lame by the way. Then the mortgage company would screw the loan up, and then I’d be begging again. Then more meetings about how to get more mortgage business. An endless cycle.

5. Red Tape.  We all have had to deal with a certain amount of red tape, but our old dinosaur industry is always so slow to change. After several years of managing, I had proven myself to be responsible and more than capable. But certain regional folks liked to puppeteer me. And micromanage me,  while my numbers were skyrocketing. I needed support, not management. I rarely received support, just red tape, lies and excuses.

6. Agent Bitching. With few exceptions, this is a non stop issue in every office. Agents bitch about every possible thing under the sun. Not enough this. Too much that. Not fair. They would always focus on what the company took away, and never on what the company provided. Boy, I really hated that.

7. Unprofessional Attire. What part of “No leather pants” , “No jeans”, and “No shorts” did you not understand?  And by the way, your T-shirt with the foul language isn’t cool, either.

8. Cliques.  In my last managing position, one of the office, ahem, “leaders” said, “We’re taking Mary out for lunch for her birthday next week, do you want to go?”   I quickly learned that only a select few were invited, and I instructed this “leader” that I would only attend if the entire office was asked to participate. I soon learned that this had been an office practice for quite some time, with all social events. Not everyone’s birthday was celebrated. Just the cool ones.  Just like high school.

9. Agent maturity.  I admit, I have been guilty here as well. Sometimes agents who have been in the business for 2-3 years with success become know it alls, and become a pain in the ass to deal with. All of a sudden, you think we were the ones who invented this business. But when you have 6 or 7 at the same time, it can certainly be a challenge.

10. There is always 1 person thinking of quitting, and going to the competition. If you have 40-50 agents, this is always the case. It’s not fun. Good managers know who the unhappy people are, and they try their best to repair the issues, which can be multi-faceted. On occasion, I would walk in my building every day around 7am and see if that person had emptied their desk in the middle of the night. That’s usually how they do it.

I really appreciate the “smallness” of my office, which allows me to avoid these issues, but still enjoy what I do best, which is list and sell real estate.


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