Pet Peeves of Real Estate Agents: When Normies Think That All We Do Is Source The Address of a Home For Sale

So do you mind if a vent for a minute? Of course you don’t; if you did, you’d stop reading right now.

I can’t friggin’ stand it when, outside any given profession, a normie thinks that all the professional does is the simplest most easiest part that takes 2 seconds.

Lawyers I know complain when people say to them, “I just need a copy of a rental lease contract to use, can you just send me your template” – as though the lawyer’s work is merely just housing a document of library, not dealing with every weird case that may apply to your, particular situation.

Designers I know complain when people say to them, “Can you just make me a logo? Quick and easy like just like Amazon’s mixed with FedEx’s.” As though figuring out your brand identity and making an awesome logo around it happens with the snap of your fingers. Poof!

But nowhere is this as severe and as intense as with clients and leads who approach real estate agents. Boy oh boy!

The popular perception seems to be that a real estate agent’s job is just magically sourcing homes and then arranging tours with the owner.

As if!“, Alicia Silverstone used to say in my favorite movie from when I was 18. (Does that age me or what? Sorry kiddies!)

This is the “fun” part that is in the TV shows and movies. “Fun” in quotes because it’s usually more stress, canceled meetings, coordination, the same transparent questions again and again–not really fun by anyone’s definition.

The reality is that 90% of the job is what the normie doesn’t even know that they don’t even know:

  • The specifics of the negotiations
  • The making sure they negotiate the best price, taking into account all pricing details, subtleties, and hidden costs that your normie home buyer won’t know
  • Did I mention making sure that they know how to negotiate so that not every hidden fee suddenly appears in the contract to make you spend muuuuch more than you would have normally?
  • The warnings on what to look out for in the house, to stay away from it
  • The warnings on what to look out for in the seller, to stay away from them
  • From the smell of being able to know which listings aren’t even worth your time to pursue when you show them to me
  • The guiding you towards the right side of the tracks when you look for the home in the town you don’t know nearly as well as you think you do

I’d look at it like this, and I always want to say this to normies who imply or say directly to me that that role of the agent is largely just sourcing the house:

Question: would you go into divorce negotiations, with your ex-spouse having a superstar lawyer to the stars?

Answer: no, you wouldn’t, because you’ll be eaten alive.

(Side-note: I used to live in the same building as Raoul Felder, the superstar celebrity divorce lawyer. I never saw him though, rumor had it he had a private entrance to his penthouse.)

Or maybe this version:

Question: if you had an eleven gazillion dollar inheritance, and your parents’ die and their verbal will said to divide everything up equally between all their children, including you, your two asshole siblings, and the maid’s kids look strikingly like your dad or Arnold Schwarzenegger, oh and they were in the process of legally adopting all the orphans of an entire town in [Insert name of far-away poor country here], would you trust your brother when he says, “You don’t need a lawyer, I’ve got it”?

We know the answer to that question before answering it (I’m leading the witness) but the consequence is: do they really think that it would be different with people selling their houses to strangers, and the expensive agents and lawyers representing them?

If the answer is, “Oh, of course they’ll have my best interest in mind!” then I have a bridge to sell you. It’s a good price, only one dollar, and you great views of both Brooklyn and Manhattan! The streets leading up to the bridge are paved with gold, btw.

Interestingly, I think there’s a subconscious factor here: the core egoism of most humans, or at least most humans who haven’t yet been humbled by the twists and turns of life. (“Yet” because it will happen to you!)

Until the point where the great sword of mysticism, of the ways we’ll never quite understand, shows you your place in the universe, one too many human thinks deifies himself–just thinking you are All That. That you are The Shit. That you’re far better than everyone else.

And as a result of deifying yourself, the result is to devalue others. “Oh, what those people over there do–that’s easy. I could do that myself.” Devaluing what others do is the flip side of the coin of over-valuing yourself.

So of course, in a culture and society and a New World in which we’re taught how awesome we personally are… of course you think that the job of the others is just the simplest and most obvious part.

About twenty years ago–man, I’m no longer a spring chicken! Luckily being “old” is defined as someone “15 years older than me” so I’m definitely not “old”!–a friend of mine, John I., gave me advice I’ll never forget: he said that in any relationship I have, I should just assume that I just don’t see 50% of what the other person is doing. That’s up there with the five most important pieces of life advice I ever received, even though it took me a few years to internalize its profundity, and I even ultimately wrote a book about it.

So, the real explanation is that normies need to understand a bit better that a lot of the work that is critical to them successfully not just sourcing but negotiating and ultimately purchasing a home is work that they will never see. They need to be humbled by life. But don’t worry, that will happen to them eventually. Perhaps even when they buy a home without an agent and it turns out to be a total disaster. As, of course, it most likely will.

And, of course, they would trust agents more if fewer agents did live up to the low expectations and the stereotype of doing nothing other than sending them listings–so if we want the normies to value the work that agents do, the first step is to start at home and improve ourselves. But of course not you, dear reader–I’m sure you’re responsive, transparent, great with your clients. It’s one too many of those other agents out there who are acting badly, but not you, no, of course not!

Thank You!

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