When A Realtor® Sells Her House

Real Estate Agent with RLAH Real Estate AB95346

When doctors gets sick, they go to a doctor - a colleague - to seek treatment.

When a lawyer is facing the slammer, he hires the best lawyer he can find to represent him.

When Realtors® decide it's time for a move, they almost always list their own homes.

The thought of moving has crossed my mind lately, and it's also crossed my mind that, when it comes to my own house, I have not one objective cell in my body.  I need someone to come in an boss me - tell me what to do.

Over the past couple of months, I've shown several houses with listing information that indicated "agent owner". 

  • The prices were all optimistic
  • One had dining room walls covered with carnivorous wall paper
  • Another had a swimming pool with muddy water and a bunch of leaves floating around
  • One reeked from an overdose of scented candles
  • Fang, the Realtor® eating Rotweiller lived in one, making it incredibly scary to show
  • A couple of the virtual tours sucked
  • The "brochures" on some consisted of reprints of the MRIS printout
  • Most were somewhat complicated to show

Basically, without professional guidance from another real estate professional, we're like a doctor trying to take out her own tonsils.  Not a good idea!

Sure, we can get advice from the people in our office, but if we're paying a professional for the advice, we are more likely to take it.  And if the value of what we do for other people is really worth what they pay us, perhaps it would be worth it to pay a really good Realtor® to provide the same service for ourselves.

Comments (88)

Inez Meehan
Keller Williams - Torrance, CA

Funny post and true.  Last week I tried to show a property "agent owned". MLS agent notes: Showing time 9:30 am - 1:30pm  Monday - Friday.  Absolutely no showing on weekends..Also must pre-qualify with me as I am a loan officer too.   called and asked if he was serious about selling his property!!!   Not only the property is WAY overpriced..but he lost a well qualified client!!!  He made my day!! What a laugh!!

Nov 28, 2009 10:20 AM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Patricia -- I JUST saw an agent/owner listing that had blurry and dark interior pictures as well as a skeletal listing -- not much info and very poor remarks.  Maybe she really does not want to sell or get anyone in there to take a look??

Nov 28, 2009 10:33 AM
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs


I'll be putting my own house up within the month.  I am also my own best client.  We are decluttering, painting, ordered new windows for the kitchen (the rest of the house has newer windows throughout), cleaning, painting and repairing.  This house will be the best it can be minus a kitchen remodel.

Although I do have a starting price that looks fine on paper, I have a plan to reduce every 2-3 weeks without an offer.  

Since few sellers will accept a Contingent on Sale in this market, I will not start actually looking at homes (except on the MLS) until I have an accepted offer.  I will be a pre-approved buyer and will start that process on Monday.

My husband and I have written up a list of what needs to be done and are following it and crossing the things off as they're accomplished.  I asked a few people's opinion on my living room area rug (consensus, remove it or replace it with a more neutral and smaller rug to show more hardwood).  Also, replace my colorful monkey shower curtain with a more neutral one.  

This will be the 4th home I've sold for myself and I'm always excited to get showings and make sure we're all out (including my 2 pooches).  And I don't play all of those pricing games with offers.  If the first offer is reasonable I usually accept it.  

Regarding comment #41 comparing an agent selling their own property to a FSBO is not the same IMO.  A FSBO doesn't have access to the MLS unless they use a flat-fee listing service.  They won't have access to most of the advertising and marketing techniques I use for my clients and will be using for myself.  And they won't have the experience and expertise that I have.

Do FSBO's really list at the correct price?  Do they get mostly pre-qualified prospects walking through their homes?  Are they objective at all (I truly am and realize that not everyone will love my home like I do and that's OK).  Do they see what is happening to their local area on a daily, weekly or even monthly basis so they can act accordingly?  I don't think so.

As far as the E&O issue I also agree with comment #29.  We still have to disclose that we are agents and can still be sued if a buyer feels things were misrepresented or not disclosed.  I believe we are held to a higher standard whether we list our own homes or use another agent.

I am a reasonable and easy "client". Another agent would love me. I wish all of my clients were like me!

Nov 28, 2009 10:34 AM
Mike Henderson
Your complete source for buying HUD homes - Littleton, CO
HUD Home Hub - 303-949-5848

LMAO at Fang the Realtor eating Rotweiller.  If I do try to sell our house I will do it myself.  If I thought there was somebody better I'd let them do it. 

Nov 28, 2009 11:23 AM
Gary Coles (International Referrals)
Venture Realty International - Las Vegas, NV
Latin America Real Estate

I would like to bring up several pointa about E & O insurance.  You can be sued with E & O -- the difference is the insurance company pays for your attorney and legal fees.  Check those fees and even if you are in the right and even if you win, you may end up broke.  E & O is also for principals.  Most of the reputable builders I know carry E & O and they are principals.  I strongly feel, based on legal advice given to me, that you should discuss selling you own home and E & O with your attorney before proceeding.  I will not give legal advice since I am not an attorney.

Nov 28, 2009 11:34 AM
Kathy Knight
Intracoastal Realty Corp - Wilmington, NC

I like the killer Fang - Patricia - those guys can kill ya.   Great blog although I am also one of those realtors currently listing my own property.  But I tried to follow other realtors comments by staging it and it looks so cute.  I reduced it pricewise - hoping not to follow the market. I even used one of my statues - its still bleak but I am looking forward to a miracle happening soon and I mean an offer...

Nov 28, 2009 11:52 AM
Richard Green
U.S. Cybertek, Inc. - Houston, MO

Correct me if I'm wrong but isn't all wall paper carnivorous?  Personally... I can't stand it.  Good insight.

Nov 28, 2009 01:11 PM
Claudette Millette
The Buyers' Counsel - Ashland, MA
Buyer, Broker - Metrowest Mass


I totally respect your opinion about selling your own home and if you feel that way you should get someone else to handle it.  I have sold two of my homes and it was not only a question of saving money but I felt that I could do it better than any one else - and they both worked out well. 


Nov 28, 2009 01:21 PM
Lora "Leah" Stern 914-772-4528
Coldwell Banker, 170 N Main Street, New City NY 10956 - New City, NY
Real Estate Salesperson

Most homeowners are too emotionally involved to do a fair job in marketing and selling their own home.  I'd probably have an associate work with me - just to get a neutral perspective.  

Nov 28, 2009 03:06 PM
Mike Warfel
Mike & Rita Warfel Real Estate LLC - Avoca, MI
Associate Broker

thank you for the laugh this morning- I have met fang before

Nov 28, 2009 10:49 PM
Vanessa Stalets
RE/MAX Elite - Brentwood, TN
REALTOR, Brentwood TN Homes, Real Estate

Great points! I am not sure I have ever seen an agent here selling their home using another agent...they are all the things you said and I tend to think in my own mind.."oh agent owner, this should be fun..."

Nov 29, 2009 01:38 AM
Liz Loadholt
Liz Loadholt- AgentOwned Realty- Covering SC - Mount Pleasant, SC
Realtor--Broker-in-charge - Trainer--Relocation Director Covering SC

Pat ----Golly, you really hit a nerve of a lot of folks -- I think you are right on and Realtors should hire another Realtor to list their personal home.


Nov 29, 2009 06:41 AM
Chad Boyers
The Danberry Co.- Toledo, Perrysburg, Sylvania, & NW OH - Toledo, OH

I can understand the points made on both sides of the discussion.  I think that each agent needs to determine on their own whether or not they feel like they can objectively represent themselves and their home. 

I sold my own home about 2 1/2 years ago and had no problems.  I staged the house, kept the home clean, and everything else that I tell my sellers to do.  After no action the first few weeks, I lowered the price and got an offer a few days later.  The process went very smoothly, including the negotiations. While I'm not planning on selling any time soon, when the time comes, I plan on representing myself. 

Regarding the agents like you mentioned above, they don't surprise me when they come around.  I have already seen what their other listings look like, and I expect nothing less than that same low standard for their own homes.

Nov 29, 2009 10:28 AM
Sandy McAlpine
Search Lake Norman Homes For Sale - Lake Norman NC

I actually just showed a listing yesterday that met a couple of those criteria and the thought had crossed my mind about listing my own property and whether I was doing myself a good service

Nov 29, 2009 11:45 PM
Kathy Opatka
Serving Ocean City, MD, & The Delaware Beaches

That's definitely something to think about......  but would another agent be as DILIGENT at getting it sold???

Nov 30, 2009 05:35 AM
Dennis Puckett
Adams,Cameron & Co. - Deland, FL

Sounds like a wise decision. It's hard to seperate your personal feelings from reality when selling what seems like a part of you...

Dec 03, 2009 03:09 AM
Sonja Adams
Keller Williams Realty - Purcellville, VA

I think its a wise decision to bring someone in to evaluate your home if you are going to sell it yourself...have them tell you what it needs...most of us know, but don't take our own advice!

Dec 11, 2009 05:23 AM
Darlene Humphreys
Coldwell Banker Holman Premier Realty - Klamath Falls, OR
I love my job!

This is very timely for me on a few fronts. 

#1 - I recently listed my parents home for sale.  I am not licensed in the state the home is in, and someone suggested that since I had RE experience, why not sell it myself privately?  No, not doing that.  I had some challenges identifying the Realtor that eventually got the listing, but I am pleased with him so far.   And after he answered his phone with my bazillionth question, I told him "I know I'm a pain in the @ss."  He laughed and assured me I'm not, but he was just being nice. 

#2 - A colleague has her house in the MLS today.  The pictures won't help sell it, and the commission she is offering won't help either.  Great strategy. 

#3 - We talked at the weekly meeting about this, in my office, we can list our own properties for sale, but cannot represent the buyer.

I have not considered moving, but your post is interesting food for thought.   My initial reaction was "Why not?" but after mulling it over and reading some of these posts, I think I would list with someone in my office. 

Dec 16, 2009 08:42 AM
Dana Devine
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Apollo Beach, FL

i dont disagree  get another agent to help  but letting go of that 6% commission  cant do it

Dec 23, 2009 12:06 AM
Michele Rose
Rose-Colored Staging - Mount Holly Township, NJ
Burlington County Home Staging & Redesign

I was able to sell my own home within a week but I had to list it under another agent's name to follow our office rules (E & O).  I was also just getting into home staging and had a very objective sister who was brutally upfront with me about my home.  I can't tell you how many times I've heard agents say, "Well obviously THIS house doesn't need staging!" when to me, it obviously does!  Everyone needs an objective person who's not afraid to tell them the truth about their home.  Anyone who doesn't seek that out is short-changing themselves.   

Mar 12, 2010 06:03 AM