The stereotypical real estate agent is many things: at best, personable and full of local expertise; at worst, aggressive and obsessed with closing the deal. Rarely, however, do people think of real estate agents as being funny (with the possible exception of Phil Dunphy from Modern Family). In fact, the real estate business as a whole tends to take itself pretty seriously.
Funny is a drug. Funny is the gateway drug to content.
— ERIC SIMON
Perhaps that’s to be expected—after all, real estate is one of the most tightly regulated industries out there. Still, with sitcoms poking fun at everything from the startup world, to civil service, to paper companies, there does seem to be a humor gap in real estate. That’s certainly what Eric Simon thought when he started his career as an agent in Los Angeles three years ago.
As a new agent, Eric saw himself and his colleagues playing the role of successful real estate professional—smart suits, nice cars, fast-paced workdays—all while secretly struggling to make a living. “massive population of agents are doing 30, 40 grand a year, three or four sales,” Eric pointed out.
Many of us might have come away discouraged by this experience. But Eric saw opportunity. Together with friend and fellow agent Wes Pinkston, Eric developed a creative outlet that reveals the human side of working in real estate. “A lot of agents put on this kind of mythological approach that all they’re doing is selling homes and working for their client and then, there’s no actual human being behind that person,” Eric told us. “So I wanted to make something that’s authentic and show it to everybody.”
The result was The Broke Agent, is an entertainment website and media company providing an honest take on the sometimes ridiculous, occasionally pathetic, but always comedic side of life in the real estate business. From rap videos to articles on swearing etiquette, The Broke Agent both vents real estate agents’ frustrations and pokes fun at their foibles.
Eric isn’t just a funny agent: he’s a skilled marketer who has built an incredible content machine in less than two years. “Funny is a drug. Funny is the gateway drug to content,” Eric explained. That drug seems to have caught on: The Broke Agent has been liked and shared by countless fans, earning over 55 thousand followers on Instagram alone.
In this interview, Eric explains the pitfalls of adopting the typical real estate persona, and how modern agents should be using their personality and technology to craft a memorable brand that attracts the right people.
- Matt & Seth