Top Real Estate Misconceptions

What are some of the misconceptions that exist in real estate? Mark addresses a few.

There are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to the topic of real estate and how things actually work. I thought I might try to set a few straight today.

1) Your agent hasn't earned their paycheck if your house sells quickly! I hear this one a lot and it always makes me laugh. There seems to exist the thought that if your home is on the market a week before it sells, your agent has been paid too much for their effort, but if it takes 6 months to sell, the payment is justified. This is a silly way of thinking. You want your home to sell quickly!

Think of it this way, if your house sits on the market a long time before finally selling, the reality is, your agent should probably take less! If on the other hand, your agent prices your home correctly right out of the gate, writes great marketing copy and has fantastic photos taken, all of which lead to a quick sale, your agent should be handsomely rewarded for that.

Remember, you are not paying your agent for hours put in, you are paying them to get your house sold, and the quicker that happens, the better. Don't count a strike against your agent for being too good at their job.

2) If a buyer is interested in my house, they will bring an offer no matter what my asking price is.

This is wrong people. It does not work that way. Sellers get frustrated that their home gets shown but no offers get presented on the house. The truth is, the buyer may like your house, but if they feel you have listed the property well above where it should be, they view negotiating with you as a potential pain. In their minds you are unrealistic to begin with, and you will likely continue to be throughout the negotiation. When you have your home priced right, the offers will come.

3) If I list with a certain company, other agents won't show my house.

I hear this one frequently too. People seem to think there is some secret society of agents and they only show each others homes. Or if I work for Century 21, I only show other Century 21 homes to help my fellow agents. This is not true in the slightest.

Most of the listings I show clients, come directly from the clients. They email me lists of homes they want to see and because I want them to be happy, I show them those homes. The agent listing the property and the company they are with has no bearing on if I will show that home or not. At the end of the day agents want to get paid and that does not happen until a deal is closed, so we do not have an incentive to not show homes to our clients that they might like.

However, with that said, here is a tip if you are selling. Do not go under the minimum amount of commission in your area. If agents charge 6 or 7%, pay at least 6. If you pay less, the agents will see this and they likely will not want to include your house on a list for their clients if the client asked the agent to pick out some homes. You do not have to offer the most commission, but at least keep pace with the other sellers in your market.

4) I can hop from one agent to another.

You actually can do this, but doing so is in bad taste. There are times when you should bail on your agent. If they are rude to you or are not being helpful, feel free to switch, but be fair to the agent you are leaving and tell them why.

Remember, agents do not get paid anything until you close on a house with them. So, is it fair to have an agent drive you around showing you homes for three straight weekends, taking up 10 hours of their time, and then you buy a home through a new agent you happen to meet at an open house? Absolutely not. The agent who has worked for you gets nothing, and the new agent you just met gets everything. You have to have loyalty to the people who are spending their time and efforts on you.

Again, there are times to leave an agent for sure, but if they have done right by you, do right by them and complete the transaction with them.

5) If I am a buyer, I don't need an agent.

This is true, you do not need an agent, but for those who choose to go through the process alone, I think it is foolish. This is especially true because the seller has already allotted the 6 or 7% to pay their agent and the agent you could be working with. This means that a buyer's agent benefits you without having to directly pay them to do so. A great buyer's agent will help you in a hundred different ways. From locating homes, to getting you inside them, to running comps, to checking utilities, to writing an offer and lining up inspections, a good buyer's agent is an excellent resource to have on your side. Every buyer should have professional representation and because it is so easy and affordable, why not do it?

6) All agents are the same.

Of course this is a silly statement but there are some who believe it to be true. Agents are greedy. Agents only care about themselves. Agents are in cahoots with each other. I hear it all the time.

I can only use me as an example on why this is not true. I put my clients first, every time. I have routinely adjusted or sacrificed commission in order to get a deal done. I try my best to really get to know my clients and form a personal relationship with them. I just left a closing this morning and gave the couple who bought their first home a pack 'n play for their upcoming first baby. I pay for a professional photographer out of my own pocket to shoot listing photos because it benefits the client. I give my clients a chance at $5,000 out of my own pocket after every tenth closing, because I like to reward them and let them have fun.

And I know there are many other great, generous and helpful agents out there as well besides me. Don't get caught up in the false reality that exists that agents are bad people. A good agent serves their clients well and can be a very valuable asset to them. You owe it to yourself to shop around and find that type of person.

If you know of other misconceptions, feel free to write them below and I will be happy to address them if I can. Thanks and have a great day!


Mark Charter

RE/MAX Real Estate Center

P: 515-864-6444 (call or text)       

E: Mark@MarkCharter.com



Take a look at Mark's:                                                   

#S56865, Licensed to sell Real Estate in Iowa

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