In trying to handle the sale of my parents' Dallas home from Chicago I guess I should have realized that I would encounter the typical real estate myths from my own family members - but I didn't. I guess I naively thought that they read every one of my blog posts and had bought into the rational approach to selling a home. So I was a bit surprised when the usual nonsense started to come out of the woodwork and I had to shift into "presentation mode". But it was a real eye opener to see these myths unfold in real time from behind the scenes. Herewith are some of the doozies but I've abbreviated the conversations here because they were actually much more painful than you would have the patience for.
From my sister"We should use Ebby Halliday" "Why?" "Because they are big in Dallas" "Soooooo?" "Well, they have more buyers. If someone relocates to town they are more likely to use Ebby Halliday because they are big" "Sooooooo?" "So they are more likely to sell it" "They are going to bring their buyers by whether or not they list the house" "They're more likely to bring them by if it's their own listing"
We went back and forth for about 20 minutes, during which I had to explain that buyers' agents don't care which brokerage lists a home as long as it meets their buyers' criteria and that if they pushed their own listings all the time their buyers would get pissed off.
From my father"I don't want to use Ebby Halliday" "Why not?" "She just wants to price homes cheap so they sell quickly" "Ebby Halliday is like 150 years old and has nothing to do with the day to day activities of her agents. Brokers are just a loose collection of a bunch of agents. Besides, you ultimately get to decide what price you list it at."
From my father/mother"What about fill in name of friend or relative here. Can't they sell it?" "Uhhhh. No way. They're an idiot."
From the entire family"We shouldn't price the home that low (525K)" "But that's all it's worth" "Yeah, but if we price it that low they will offer us even less money" "Pricing it too high doesn't mean you will be offered more money but it does mean you may not get any offers" "But the city says it's worth 680K" "I'm sorry to say you've been overcharged for your taxes. Just because the city says it's worth 680k doesn't make it so" "But Zillow says it's worth 610K"
I'm not sure if my brother was serious about the Zillow comment or not. He may have just been trying to annoy me.
From my father (after the house didn't sell in 2 months)"Do you think this agent is a good salesman?" "Well, listing agents don't really sell a home. They market it. You can't sell it to people that aren't interested. What you really need an agent to do is get it out there and once you have an interested buyer then they sell it and negotiate a deal. But until then all they can do to screw it up is not answer their phone or email, take bad pictures, write horrible descriptions, give out bad information, not be proactive, or generally be stupid. Actually, there are plenty of ways for an agent to do a bad job but this guy is doing a good job."
Geez, it reminds me just how incredibly easy it is for people to hook up with the wrong real estate agents for the wrong reasons.