Real Estate Agent with Exit Real Estate Professionals

My little granddaughter, Annabelle, recently celebrated her fifth birthday.  When asked what theme she wanted for her party she chose Star Wars! HUH?! Where did that come from?! Seems that Annabelle and her Mama have been playing Lego Star Wars in their down time and Anna has adopted the Star Wars cast as her new circle of friends. She has a bizarre crush on Lego Luke and carries on conversations with him all day long. 

So, being the perfect (o.k., I’ll admit it is more like wrapped-around-her-finger) Nana that I am, I volunteer to create a Lego Star Wars cake. I make the cake in the morning and start to decorate it rather late on the night before the party. I get it frosted in pretty good time and pull out the box containing the Millennium Falcon. There are six little figures shown on the box, and I think I will just pull out the tiny figures, place them on the cake, and head to bed.

WRONG! The six little figures are not assembled. They are in pieces and all the body parts are not even in the same bag.  So I start sifting through 1254 Lego bits trying to find little heads and little hairpieces. Little legs and little bodies. Light sabers and helmets. For the record I want everyone to know that this is NOT written into the Nana job description. 

Lego bits!

It occurred to me while I was looking at that pile of Lego bits . . . this is why you hire a professional.  Heck, a Star Wars cake might have cost me $50 but I wouldn’t have black frosting on my eyebrows and I wouldn’t be up at 11:30 at night with a kitchen that looked like the aftermath of an eighth grade home economics class! I wouldn't have spent over $20 for the right pans and dark food coloring.  And I surely wouldn’t be searching for Obi Wan’s cape in little plastic bags! (and I will have you know I never did find it . . . had to call in my daughter-in-law who is a Lego expert for help!)

As I think about the experience it makes me wonder about home sellers who attempt to do a For Sale by Owner.  Do they hit this WALL at the eleventh hour? 

You know, there is the "simple but time consuming" stuff.  

 Deciding on a price and getting the home ready to sell.  

Kind of like baking the cake.  

Putting up a sign and holding an open house. 

Kind of like frosting the cake.  

Advertising on Craigslist and making up some flyers. 

Kind of like decorating the cake. 

Paying a fee to get listed on the MLS.

Kind of like buying cake-making supplies. 

And then there is the "tough but possible if not probable" stuff.

Actually finding a buyer that is comfortable buying a home without a Realtor® . 

A whole lot like trying to find Obi Wan Kenobi's cape.  

BUT THEN, there is the moment of reckoning. 

 Keeping the deal together through all the necessary legal steps and potential hurdles.  

And if you think you can put together THAT Millennium Falcon by yourself .. .

MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU!   The Millennium Falcon

Thinking of selling your home by yourself in Spokane or the surrounding area? Call me for a no-obligation consultation.  I will provide you with a  free Comparative Market Analysis which will give you an idea of your home's value in today's market. And, if you ever decide there are just too many pieces, I will be happy to jump in and save you, light saber in hand, long before the eleventh hour! 

Valerie Baker



simply real estate

Exit Real Estate Professionals

3124 South Regal, Suite 201

Spokane, WA 99223

The Lego Star Wars Cake

Comments (68)

Kimo Jarrett
WikiWiki Realty - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

How many agents actually reach out to FSBO properties and sell them? I like the cake, was it chocolate? 

Nov 07, 2011 04:03 AM
Judy Orr
HomeSmart Realty Group - Orland Park, IL
SW & Near West Chicago suburbs

The cake looked great!  As a fellow grandma I loved this one!  Although it reminded me of the dollhouse I bought my daughter many years ago that was too big to hide once constructed and I tried to take that job on after midnight on Christmas Eve.  Needless to say, the roofing material & bricks never made it on that house and I'm sure I shed a few tears while working on it.

I have noticed fewer and fewer fsbo's in my area.  Those that are out there can't afford to pay commission now and are on the verge of having to sell short or foreclose, so this is a last ditch attempt.  And many of them are listing too high to try to avoid a short sale so they really don't have a chance.

Nov 07, 2011 04:20 AM
Brad Baylor
ERA Coup Agency - Milton, PA

Most FSBO's are interested in one thing and one thing only.  Selling their home as cheaply as they can.  You hear comments like "why involve a realtor?  I know I'm going to be in that 15% who are successful in selling their home on their own!"  Then, six months (or longer) later, they call you in the middle of January all expasperated because they haven't sold it and want you to get it done for them in a month, in January, in the snow...

Nov 07, 2011 04:33 AM
Gayle Barton, Forsyth County Real Estate
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY Georgia Properties - Cumming, GA
Cumming GA Homes For Sale (404) 710-0204

Valerie, as the mother of an 11 year Lego & Star Wars fan I can certainly appreciate your effort as well as the analogy!

Nov 07, 2011 05:39 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Kim - I had three boys of my own and thought my Star Wars days were over!

Richard - Thanks! Maybe I can offer a free homemade apple pie when the deal closes.  I had my own restaurant in Tennessee for a while and they did eat up my homemade pies and pastries! (which is probably why I no longer have a restaurant . Sixteen hour days are not sustainable!

Nov 07, 2011 06:11 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Annette - Hope the friends don't want cakes! lol

Justin - I am with you on that! We do lots of DIY projects and sometimes realize that doing it ourselves saved very little money.  The main reason we do it is because my husband and I tend to be perfectionists and get really frustrated with sloppy work.

Kathy - Thank you. I work hard for my clients and DO hope they are happy with my service!

To the Derrick Team - Is deep doo-doo anything like the gooey frosting I was scraping off every surface in my kitchen? :)


Nov 07, 2011 06:16 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Pat - We are sometimes torn between doing it ourselves and hiring a professional.  Our rule of thumb is to decide whether we can "do it better" than a hired contractor more so than "do it cheaper." And then there are the things we just won't do . . .like drywall! lol

Glenn - I don't know the percentage that do, but I can imagine it is really high!

Ric - I think most FSBO's will agree to pay some commission should you bring a buyer as they are expecting YOU to do most of the paperwork.   

Nov 07, 2011 06:23 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Kimo - I don't know. I have seen some good posts on AR that highlight good ways to approach FSBO's, but I am a little hesitant on that one.  The cake happened to be vanilla (from scratch though) per Annabelle's orders! :)

Judy - I think that is the sad reality these days.  

Brad - And they want to raise the price to pay for the commission . . . 

Gayle - Thanks, Gayle . . . I wonder what next year will bring?

Nov 07, 2011 06:28 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

You get extra Nana points for that one! "May the force be with you!" (I've always loved that line.)

Meanwhile - just noticed you're in Spokane - only about an hour's drive from here. So, "Hi neighbor!"


Nov 07, 2011 06:58 AM
Kate Akerly
Kaminsky Group - Manhattan Beach, CA
Manhattan Beach Residential Sales

Did you read the articles about the owner of that hired a broker to sell his Manhattan apartment after it languished on the market for 6 months?  Exactly your point . . .

Nov 07, 2011 08:57 AM
Kathy McGuriman
First time home buyers, downsizers,seniors,new construction - Lansdale, PA
CRS, SRES, ACRE, Realtor for Lansdale, PA area

Great job on the cake.  I loved the comparisons too!  Great post

Nov 07, 2011 10:13 AM
Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

Funny, nothing is ever as easy as it looks.  Selling your own home is like doing your own brain surgery.

Nov 07, 2011 01:36 PM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Marte - Not far at all! We always laugh when an out-of-state client says he is looking for a home no further than an hour from Spokane.  That can get you a pretty good distance in this area!

Akerly Team - I read that! Pretty funny! Did all the Realtors in the area mention that in their marketing?

Kathy - Thanks . . . now if I could just get some of those FSBO's to call!

Gene - Ohhhh! That is much worse than a cake! lol

Nov 07, 2011 03:40 PM
Sherry Chastain
Hendersonville, Nashville, Old Hickory, Lebanon Tennessee - Hendersonville, TN
Realtor, Selling Homes, Lake Properties,Luxury Homes,Short Sales

I'm always baking something at the eleventh hour. Homemade does taste better and nothing says lovin like something out of your oven......that's what I've always heard anyway.  Thanks for giving me confidence to have a snicker at the next FSBO that is rude to me and hangs up on me. May the force be with them!

Nov 07, 2011 03:49 PM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Sherry - Oh, you are a braver woman than me . . .I never call FSBO's! lol

Nov 07, 2011 03:54 PM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Valerie, very clever post!  I wish there was an easy way to share with FSBOs.  Maybe put int he flyer box? lol

Nov 07, 2011 10:13 PM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Bob - Only if they have a flyer box! :)

Nov 08, 2011 04:23 PM
Jim Linaburg
Hayes Realty - Cuyahoga Falls, OH

Way to put this into perspective, very nice post!

Nov 09, 2011 03:13 AM
Valerie Baker
Exit Real Estate Professionals - Spokane, WA
Spokane Realtor

Jim - Thank you! 

Nov 09, 2011 03:41 PM
Sylvie Stuart
Realty One Group Mountain Desert 928-600-2765 - Flagstaff, AZ
Home Buying, Home Selling and Investment - Flagsta
Great analogy! It's so true, I wouldn't know what I was doing for that either, hiring a professional can really save time, money and headache in a lot of areas, but especially in real estate!
Jan 27, 2012 12:01 AM