Agents Are From Mars, Consumers Are From Venus

Real Estate Agent with Realty Executives

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.



Re-Blogged 2 times:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Ted J. Macy 09/26/2010 04:58 PM
  2. Tim Peterson 02/02/2011 08:15 PM
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Liz Moras Migic
Chilliwack, BC
Chilliwack, British Columbia - Realtor

I'm thinking even your drool is liquid gold...:) 

Sep 25, 2010 02:51 PM #15
Virginia Hepp - Mesquite NV REALTOR
ERA - Mesquite NV Homes For Sale - Mesquite, NV
Mesquite NV Homes and Neighborhoods - Search MLS

Jody is right.  Morticians are having more fun than we are these days. 

I got asked for a commission kickback recently - first time ever.  You don't get that from dead people.

Sep 25, 2010 03:30 PM #16
Leslie Ebersole
Swanepoel T3 Group - Saint Charles, IL
I help brokers build businesses they love.

Were you having an unusually bad week or a normal bad week? Or was this an accumulation of are you %^$*($'s kidding me's? Or is this, as I heard yesterday from a real estate visionary guy, "the new normal in real estate"?

Sep 25, 2010 04:24 PM #17
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

"Real estate Kumbaya."  I love that image, and can't stop giggling over it.  Though I've found some clients who come close to it and trust me to look for their best interests.

Sep 25, 2010 04:30 PM #18
Aaron Vaughn | Builder | Investor
Conifer Homes - Buda, TX
If the deal makes sense, the cash will follow.

Paul: We need to get you out of the house more often. Or perhaps out of your head for a spell. =)

Sep 25, 2010 04:31 PM #19
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

Paul: Every time I read one of your posts, I know that I am really doing to have to think. You have a very thought-provoking way of looking at things. Personally, I attempt to be 'kumbayah' for clients, but sometimes it doesn't quite work that way.

Sep 25, 2010 05:16 PM #20
Paul Slaybaugh
Realty Executives - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate

Aaron - I am granted a 30 minute daily work furlough.

Christine - Even the tough ones trust us to perform professionally. We just get to grumble about them while they are grumbling about us. ;)

Leslie - I actually wrote this with a smile on my face. Just having some fun, unrelated to any recent experiences (which have been largely positive, fortunately).

Virginia - The dead don't complain about the leaky pine box the agent sold them, either. 

Liz - Liquid Gold? Like the wood cleaner? I suppose my saliva would be abrasive enough. ;)

Michael - I prefer the lambada, but who wants to get that close to us agents?

Gayla - Lucky you.

Phil - Yankee imperialism has spread like manifest destiny across this nation. Hell, we have half of your senior population out here these days.

Jody - I see sales people.

Peter & Linda - Thanks for giving it a read.

Leesa - I find truth is nearly always comical when stretched to its outer limits.

Thom - Fine by me, so long as no one touches my shovel and pail.

Marygrace - Sadly, I'm better on paper. Voice like Peewee Herman huffing helium.

Margaret - It's in our DNA. Nothing we can do except beat each other with styrofoam bats every once in awhile. I don't see anything changing until one side scores better weaponry.

Nancy - Glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading.

Marie - We (people in general) are easy to peg. Just follow the money. Not necessarily greed, per se, just inborn programming to kill what we can, when we can.

Bill - Nothing like sifting through a thousand words to get to a 50 character payoff, right?

Sep 25, 2010 05:26 PM #21
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

This was truly hilarious  - I think you've pretty much got it down pat....

Sep 25, 2010 05:32 PM #22
Kristen Correa, Broker
Kristen Correa Real Estate & Reedy Creek Realty Services - Keller, TX
I love coffee & real estate. I am out of coffee!

It's possible you would get more comments on your posts, but when we read them our brains are sort of on lockdown, still consumed by what you've written, each comment understated for the content commented on... Very funny!

Sep 26, 2010 02:10 AM #23
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

I once had a new agent ask me (after 2 showing appointments) 'How many houses do I have to show them?'

I replied, "Until they buy!"

Sep 26, 2010 03:25 AM #24
Kim Brown
Keller Williams Realty - Keene, NH
Keene, NH - New England at its Best!

So much valuable information here in the Rain.  Great post.  Thanks for sharing.

note to self:

The Hustle is out...The Macarena is in

Install "clappers" in all listings

Stock up on Whitman Samplers

sneak hubby's autographed Gigli poster out of house and mail to "the man" in Scottsdale as token of appreciation.


Sep 26, 2010 04:16 AM #25
Paul Slaybaugh
Realty Executives - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate

Melissa - I blog all wrong, and I know it. Those in the know posit that we should feed consumers small, easily digestible morsels of information. They are probably right, but where's the fun in that?

Ruthmarie - No point beating around the bush right? We are all driven by self-interest, so no reason pretending otherwise. We do the job professionally and empathetically, but it's disingenuous to hold ourselves above the fray of "what's in it for me?"

Kristen - Funny you mention it as the old posts in my blogroll that had upwards of a thousand comments were about as cerebral as an Archie comic. I think your correlation is correct. On the other hand, I thought this one was pretty straight forward, so it just goes to show that I am hopelessly lost in the maze of my own lexicon.

Erica - That about sums it up. Flip the script and the first time buyer is probably thinking how many homes do I have to see before you show me one I actually like?

Kim - The Hustle is never out, it just has to sit down for a spell from time to time.

Sep 26, 2010 05:12 AM #26
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

ROFLMAO...I have no words worthy of commenting on this classic post.

Sep 26, 2010 05:06 PM #27
Aaron Seekford
Arlington Realty, Inc. - Arlington, VA
Ranked Top 1% Nationwide 703-836-6116

"It's Macarena time" is really geeking me out. That is way too funny! I can see that becoming a national punchline.

Sep 27, 2010 02:03 AM #28
Jan Mullins
First Credit Union - Chandler, AZ


A jewel of a post, as usual.  Any chance of a sequel?  "Agents are from Mars, Loan officers are from???"  Something tells me you could write volumes on this subject.

Thanks for the laughs and the memory of the worlds worst song ever, "Macarena'...

Sep 28, 2010 09:13 AM #29
Mara Hawks
First Realty Auburn - Auburn, AL
Inactive-2012 REALTOR - Homes for Sale Auburn Real Estate, AL

How thoroughly enjoyable to read, Paul. Brilliantly humorously nauseating,,, The truth only hurts when I laugh ;-)

Oct 04, 2010 07:53 AM #30
Michael O'Donnell
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Arizona Properties - Scottsdale, AZ
GRI, ePRO, Accessible Homes


Your experiences with what Buyers and Sellers look for in agents was very instructive.  I've come to the conclusion that you deal with much nicer people than I do.

Oct 05, 2010 03:55 PM #31
John Puplava
ABC Home Inspections,L.L.C. - Prescott, AZ
ABC Home Inspections,L.L.C.

Hi Paul,

How are you doing today. I just wanrt to introduce myself to you my name is John with ABC Home Inspections. If I canassist you in any home inspections. Please call me.

Thank you,

John with ABC Home Inspections


Oct 13, 2010 05:27 PM #32
Paul Slaybaugh
Realty Executives - Scottsdale, AZ
Scottsdale, AZ Real Estate

Not really the forum for a solicitation to be the first means of introduction, but nice to meet you, John. 

Oct 14, 2010 05:30 AM #33
Tim Peterson
Wisconsin Realtor Safety and Concealed Carry Classes - Madison, WI
Realtor Safety Training Classes

Paul thanks Excellent post-I reblogged it I was so impressed . You are spot on on your characterizations

Feb 02, 2011 08:50 PM #34
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