Agents Are From Mars, Consumers Are From Venezuela

It is human nature to view oneself in terms of value, and others in terms of cost. This paradox is never more evident than in a business setting. No exception to the rule, Real Estate agents and consumers must coexist in an arena of disparate interests and subjective truths. In the search for common ground, full transparency is prerequisite. Let us peel back the veneer on the agent/consumer dynamic to uncover overlapping tenets of these competing psyches. Only through complete understanding of each other’s motivation can we better function as one cohesive unit.

What agents look for in their clients

Buyers: Ideally you will be a type A personality. You know exactly what you want in a house, and you do not deviate from script. If you cannot find what you want in your price range, you open up the purse strings further or you start eliminating wants until you find the closest facsimile of the perfect home. As you require no outside validation of the wisdom of your decisions, multiple trips to the home that appears to be “the one” are unnecessary. You will know it on sight, and eschew the stamp of approval from mom & dad, sister Rebecca and the guy from accounting whose cousin was licensed in Indiana seventeen years ago. You adopt my negotiation strategy as your own and forward documents to your lender that have not been requested yet. You invite me to the housewarming party and introduce me to the assembled guests as “the man.” You flag down random people in the street and tell them to call me if they ever so much as think of buying a house.

Sellers: Four years of home ownership have mellowed you considerably. Now entrenched in the type B camp, you require a spotter when double knotting your shoes. You pull over in traffic when cars get too close, and you don’t answer the front door for fear that you will purchase yet another set of encyclopedias from the nice salesman who won’t take no for an answer. You cower when I produce the latest sales data from the neighborhood, and thank me when the mathematical beating isn’t as severe as you had anticipated. You don’t question why I no longer advertise in magazines or newspapers, and offer to paint and recarpet the house just prior to listing it for 10k less than my suggested price. You thank buyers for coming when they show up unannounced and leave the country when given advanced notice of a showing. Venezuela sure is nice this time of year. You greet the news of a roof that fails inspection with, “Whatever,” and cheerfully reduce the price by 15k. You show up for the closing with Cuban cigars and a 5k agent bonus.

What consumers look for in their agents

Buyer’s Agents: You will show me every g&^%#n house between here and Pluto if I ask you to and won’t pry into my finances. I already told you I’m good for it. Be a good little agent and open some doors for me. I’ll do the rest. You’ll happily kick me back half of your fee, overpaid cabbie that you are, because you didn’t really do anything. If I want to offer 250k on a 500k short sale, don’t argue with me. I’ll paint this whole town with magenta ink over the course of the next two years if that’s what it takes to find a dance partner. Hope you’ve got your contract writing hand limber over there, Scooter, because it’s macarena time. And since I’m dropping every frigging cent I have into the down payment on this joint, a new refrigerator at closing wouldn’t go unnoticed. Or at least a box of chocolates and a smooch, you cheap SOB.

Listing Agents: I’ve already been on Zillow. I know what it’s worth. I’ll give you twenty bucks to put it on the MLS. Twenty five if you sell it above current appraisal within one hour. Be a champ and send me daily receipts of your advertising expenses so I can verify that you are meeting the 10k per week quota that will get us noticed. You keep telling me that no one uses print advertising anymore, but it couldn’t hurt, right? My great aunt Mildred purchased her first house in 1946 off an ad in the penny saver. Don’t tell me it’s not in the budget when there’s eighty thousand dollar’s worth of foreign SUV parked in front of my house right now.

Oh, and turn off the f*&#^%g lights after showings.

Conclusion: Humans are inherently flawed and destined to nuke the earth over a Yahtzee dispute. Capitalistic Kumbaya in the Real Estate sector remains as likely as Gigli II.


Many thanks to Scottsdale Realtor Paul Slaybaugh for allowing me to republish his work.  I think of Paul as the “Jon Stewart” of real estate blogging and highly recommend his website:

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