Ask The Real Estate Lady

I Don’t Need An Agent To Sell My House!



My son recently moved to the Denver, CO area where he and his wife bought an older, contemporary home they fell in love with and are happily updating it.  When I flew out for a visit, our conversation eventually turned to the home selling and buying processes they’d just been through.   I’ve been a real estate professional since he was just a little boy so I thought he knew and understood all about my job.  Imagine my complete and utter shock when he voiced many of the same comments I’ve come in contact with over the years!

It seems to be fairly common for folks to have very little respect and/or trust for those of us in the real estate profession.   What a shame!  I’ve been licensed and worked in three states over more than 30 years with dozens of real estate agents.  While there are certainly some rotten apples in the barrel, most are honest, hardworking folks who try really hard to do a good job for those they represent. 

It’s probably our own fault –in large part- that the general public views real estate professionals with a distrustful eye.

Let’s look at education.  In most states, all a person has to do to become a real estate licensee is: 

1.     Reach his/her 18th birthday.

2.     Complete high school

3.     Complete a basic licensing course. (In KY this means 6 college hours { two courses] OR 96 clock hours of instruction at a real estate school)

4.     To have never been convicted of “moral turpitude.” (Covers a multitude of bad, illegal, immoral, ugly behaviors.)

5.     Successfully complete a state licensing exam.

That’s it.  Not exactly rocket science, is it?  Sadly, real estate education requirements are incredibly behind the times while most other professions have kept up.  An excellent example is the highly trained, knowledgeable auto mechanic who repairs today’s sophisticated, computerized vehicles.  The old “shade tree mechanic” from the past has disappeared. 

Sooooo, WHY is the real estate profession so outdated?  In a word: politicians.  The Kentucky Real Estate Commission has been trying for years to modernize and update the educational requirements for real estate licensure.  And for years, the Kentucky Legislature has dodged, avoided, just plain refused the requested changes.

Now, here’s the thing:  most inept, dishonest, lazy licensees work their way through the system and out the door within a year or so.  But, meanwhile, you may have had the “pleasure” of dealing with one of them and we can all only hope and pray you weren’t seriously damaged by the experience.  

Buyers generally seem to understand and agree that it’s in their best interest to work with a real estate agent to find the right property and negotiate the difficult and frightening world of mortgage financing. And we work hard to resolve problems behind the scenes so that the buyer sees it as a fairly simple, easy process. 

When these same people become sellers, however, they do a complete 360!  Here are some of the most common reasons I’ve heard from folks as to why they don’t want to list their property with me:

1.     “Why should I pay a real estate agent all that money when I can do the job myself?  I just put a sign in the yard, run an ad in the newspaper, then sit back and wait for the phone to ring.  Easy-peasy!  And all that money is better in MY pocket than yours!!”

My response:  Would you perform your own tonsillectomy?  Of course not!  You’d want a trained professional who knows anatomy and possesses surgical skill and experience.  When dealing with your largest financial asset, don’t you think it wise to hire a professional who understands financing, marketing, and property law?

2.     “You people don’t DO anything to earn all that big commission.  I can do what you do and it won’t cost me any money!”

My response:  We work very hard behind the scenes to make real estate transactions go smoothly so is it possible you’ve interpreted that to mean we “do nothing?”

3.     “We have so many friends in the real estate business….,”  “As a teacher (doctor, politician, fill in the blank), I don’t want to list with any one person and make everybody else mad.”

My response:  You truly hurt yourself with this attitude and behavior.  You will most likely list your property eventually if you’re really serious about selling.  Meanwhile, you’ve wasted valuable marketing time and hurt your chances for selling at a true market price. Besides, a true professional knows this is a business transaction,  not a personality contest.

4.     “A young lady (or man) we go to church with just got a real estate license so we plan to use her/him if we decide to actually LIST our property.”

My response:  While we all have to start our careers somewhere, do you really want to be the one that person “learns on?”  Are you willing to take the chance at not realizing all you could have in more experienced hands?  Remember: this is a business transaction, not an act of charity.

5.     “If you bring me a buyer, I’ll pay you a fee but I don’t want to actually LIST my property.”

My response:  Do you REALLY want to sell your property?  And are you telling me that you think it would be a miracle if I could actually do the job? 

Now, I suspect the real reasons for objections such as these are much more complicated.  My next blog will attempt to delve into some of those possible reasons.