Letters to the Editor: Philip Gulley's Back Home Again Column
Philip Gulley’s December opinion column, “House of Lies,” elicited strong feedback from readers. We will post those responses below as we receive them.
The “House of Lies” opinion piece in your December issue offers a satirical account of working with a Realtor. The author’s viewpoint is more mean-spirited than humorous, and while readers may discount the column as exaggeration-fueled comedy and move on, it’s important to recognize the true role Realtors play. More than 30,000 people utilize the services of a Realtor each year in Central Indiana, and for good reason. They are licensed professionals who subscribe to a rigorous Code of Ethics and complete ongoing education throughout their careers. Their expertise extends to areas of research, finance, documentation, and yes, marketing. Much of the author’s premise equates marketing to lying and exaggeration, wrongfully calling the profession into question. The truth is that a Realtor’s job is to help people buy or sell a home, often the most significant financial transaction of a lifetime. They manage the thousands of details involved, negotiate on their client’s behalf, market the property, and above all, partner with their clients—not work against them as the author asserts. If you have worked with a Realtor once or partnered with the same trusted advisor several times over the years as so many people do, we think you will agree.
—Claire Belby, Metropolitan Indianapolis Board of Realtors
Philip Gulley’s rant about the process of buying a home was hurtful and unnecessary. The disparaging remark about Realtors “being in trouble with God” was mean-spirited, as was the insinuation that women are naturally deceitful. We get it, a house is not a home. But does it have to be stated so cruelly?
—David Alexander, Danville
The most unsettling part of Philip Gulley’s column on Realtors was the lame attempt at sexist humor. I hardly call a field that is practically a 50-50 split “dominated by women.” And male Realtors also use the “glamour shots” that Gulley derides. The author resorted to cheap stereotypes and implied that real estate professionals (those gussied up lady Realtors) don’t sell houses based on their own merits.
I am quite stunned at Philip Gulley’s opinion of the real estate business and the Realtors who practice. Perhaps he should consider that Realtors, both male and female, are hired to perform a duty for their clients. It is also the owner and Realtor’s duty to disclose all material latent defects. This does not include a “small kitchen”. This boils down to perspective and personal taste. Since he’s a pastor, I suggest he address the business of religion in his next piece. God knows they don’t sugarcoat or “lie” outright to their “clients”.
—A. K. Meredith
I will ignore the cheap shots and offensive generalizations Philip Gulley makes about the profession I love. After all, even though he heartily mocks what I do, he hasn’t had the opportunity to sit at a closing table and look into the eyes of a person who, with your help, just achieved a lifelong dream of home ownership. And maybe he doesn’t know what it’s like to have the seller hug and thank you for your patience during the painful process of selling their childhood home after their elderly parent recently passed away. While it’s certainly not my brand of humor, go ahead and laugh it up.
My main issue is with his blatant and unapologetic snobbishness. He seems unfamiliar with the idea that what he finds beneath his refined taste may be another’s dream home. Most of us must work our way up to achieve our dreams. Has he forgotten from where he came, or has he always been so fortunate to have lived in perfection?
Anyway, lucky for him, I am right with God and an honest Realtor, like most everyone else who holds the designation. I’ve even begun working on the sale of his home in 2036. Now he mustn’t forget to mention the leaky pipe on the sales disclosure because as a Realtor, I’m going to insist he be honest; if he does “forget” (wink wink) to tell any potential buyers about it, don’t worry, I will. And the marketing will be as follows: “Pristine Estate of the Famous Philip Gulley. Four bedroom, three bath impeccably maintained Ivory Tower with attached garage.” —Angela M. Garard
I know sarcasm and I know funny. Philip Gulley’s column was neither, and that was his greatest sin. Essentially he called all real estate agents liars and coated it with a thin veneer of poorly executed sarcasm. But my biggest issue with his piece is that it simply isn’t funny. And after more than 30 years in the entertainment business working with some of the industry’s top comedians, I have some idea of what real funny is. Instead, his piece is mean spirited and accusatory. And, for an alleged pastor to actually state that “Realtors are already in trouble with God” is extraordinary. If anyone has a “problem with God,” it’s people in his profession. I’m sure Gulley is preparing a new column as we speak. Perhaps a scathing expose of the prevaracations of men and women of the cloth would be appropriate. Time for me to go lie to some children now as we deliver the over 200 gifts myself and my fellow real estate agents purchased for local underprivileged kids. I wonder what Pastor Phil is up to today. —Joe Owens
I am very disappointed in both Mr. Gulley and his editors who allowed this to be published. Satire? Where? The criticism of glamour shots is in especially poor taste. Further, Mr. Gulley’s rant is typical of a neighbor. It’s common for buyers and their agents to chat up the neighbor for details. “Puffing” is legal and permissible in real estate. I’m sorry he does not see the benefit of hiring an agent. Was everyone on a tight deadline? It’s common knowledge that Mr. Gulley lives in a nice neighborhood. Who can we look forward to Mr. Gulley trashing next month?
I am not going to write in to defend the advertising practices or integrity of fellow Realtors I haven’t met. I will mention, however, that if everything we bought was based on pure fact without enhancement or imagination, Pastor Phil Gulley would be out of a job. Pot meet kettle.
—Dawn M. Barclay