Can We Say Goodbye to Agents Claiming to Be ‘5280 Five-Star Professionals’?

For years I have complained about colleagues who claimed that 5280 Magazine had honored them as “Five Star Professionals” when in fact the magazine had nothing to do with the honor.

Rather, Five Star Professionals is a Minnesota company which runs the program by that name and would purchase a large block of pages in the September issue of 5280 Magazine every year to promote the “winners” of that award.

Each year I am notified of my “nomination” to be named a Five Star Professional, and one time I responded to see how their program operates. It’s basically a scheme to get agents to buy, among other things, large display ads at inflated prices within that large block of advertising within 5280 Magazine’s September edition. What bothered me the most was that both 5280 Magazine and Five Star Professional looked the other way when the “winners” would then promote themselves as “5280 Magazine Five Star Professionals” for years to come.

I won’t dispute Five Star Professionals vetting process here (although I have in the past), but I welcome the fact that their advertising may no longer appear in 5280 Magazine and that “winners” can no longer mislead clients and colleagues by implying that the magazine awarded them the Five Star Professional citation.

I only realized this change when I saw Five Star Professional’s block of advertising in last Saturday’s real estate section of the Denver Post. My question now is whether the “winners” will now claim to be “Denver Post Five Star Professionals.”

Searching my email inbox just now, I found several emails with phrases such as the following in some agents’ email signatures: “Recipient of 5280’s ‘Five Star Real Estate Professional’ Award 2019 & 2020!”; and “5280 Magazine Five Star Professional Ten Year Award Winner.”

Most recipients of this “award” are also Realtors, meaning they are bound by the Realtor Code of Ethics, which they are violating when they represent that 5280 Magazine gave them an award that it has nothing to do with.

In my email, I also found a 2017 email from Five Star Professional, offering me, as an awardee, a 1/9th-page display ad in 5280 Magazine for $1,250.  A 1/4-page ad was available for $2,095.

One red flag in Five Star Professional’s program of identifying nominees and awardees was that they would never disclose, even to me, who nominated me. Instead, I got an email which said, “One or more of the clients you work hard to serve every day has nominated you for the Five Star Real Estate Agent Award.”

I consider the whole program suspect and just another example of profiteering on real estate agents who are easy targets for such promotional programs. 

Author: Golden Real Estate, Inc.

Golden Real Estate is a prominent member of the Denver/Jefferson County real estate scene. Based in Golden, we service both Denver and Jeffco, representing both buyers and sellers. We're well known for Broker Jim Smith's weekly "Real Estate Today" column published in the Denver and Jeffco editions of the Denver Post's YourHub section each Thursday. The column also appears in several weekly newspapers and is archived at We have nine agents, all of whom are Realtors and EcoBrokers. Our office is Net Zero Energy since December 2017, and several of us drive electrics cars. Known for our sustainable practices, we accept polystyrene (aka "Styrofoam") for recycling, keeping 200 cubic yards per year out of area landfills.

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