That poor horse

Real Estate Agent with Jameson Sotheby's International Realty

I found myself in a social conversation with a recent buyer (not mine) of a lovely new home.  He explained to me that he tried, very hard, to find a property without using a buyer's agent... eventually failing and having to use one after all.

I asked him, out of curiosity "Why did you spend all that effort trying to buy, specifically without using a buyer's agent?", knowing full-well what he thought.

He answered predictably.  He expected, by dealing directly with listing agents, and not bringing a buyer's agent to the table that the listing agent would be more than willing to share a portion of the buyer's agency's fee.. and he could save a few shillings.

I tried to explain that while it was always possible that you'd find an agent who might be willing, that our commission agreement was with the seller, and we were under zero obligation to reduce our commission, and that most listing agents, unless they have a property that's been difficult to sell, are unlikely to share.

I could see the wood in his eyes, and knew I was banging my head against the proverbial dead horse... um... beating a dead brick... er... well, you get the idea.

I gave up.  This was a smart, educated man... purchasing a substantial property, and not his first purchase. There are a lot of people who firmly believe that by bypassing the buyer's agent... they can save themselves the buyer's side commission.  And they become convinced that they've done exactly that when they purchase the property for 97% (saving 3%) of the listed price.  Not realizing that a good buyer's agent could have helped them buy the property for 92% (saving them 8%).. while still earning the buyer's side commission as well.

That poor horse... will he ever stop being beaten?

Posted by

 ALAN MAY, Realtor®   
Specializing in Evanston Real Estate and North Shore Real Estate

Jameson Sotheby's International Realty, 2934 Central Street, Evanston, IL 60201
Office: 847.869.7300      Cell: 847.924.3313      Email:

Evanston Real Estate & North Shore Real Estate
Licensed in Illinois



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Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

Great post - the only problem is that the people who most need to read it don't understand that it is written for them! 

Jun 10, 2019 04:48 AM #8
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning Alan. Never argue with an idiot. They do not use facts when making a decision. Enjoy your day!

Jun 10, 2019 05:34 AM #9
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Alan. The horse thing scared me but I am glad I read it anyway. Sometimes people just don't want to know.

Jun 10, 2019 06:15 AM #10
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
New Hampshire Home Stager

Congratulations on a well deserved feature!

I've heard this many times from people. I'm not an agent, but I've done my best to try to enlighten these people. Their loss.

Jun 10, 2019 06:29 AM #11
Liz and Bill Spear
RE/MAX Elite 513.520.5305 - Mason, OH
RE/MAX Elite Warren County OH (Cincinnati/Dayton)

They breed.  I've encountered many buyers like this over the years and it becomes very apparent very quickly when they call that I'm just wasting my time with them if I'm anything but the listing agent.

Jun 10, 2019 06:32 AM #12
Scott Seaton Jr. Bourbonnais Kankakee IL Home Inspector
SLS Home Inspections-Bradley Bourbonnais Kankakee Manteno - Bourbonnais, IL
The Home Inspector With a Heart!

I have had several calls over the years from a buyer that decided to bypass using a buyer agent or an attorney and a home inspection. Then they have problems and call me to see if there is any recourse. No idea of how educated they are but that's a dumb long term move and you get what you didn't pay for. 

Jun 10, 2019 06:35 AM #13
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

This reminds me of the Lewis & Clark expedition that explored newly acquired U.S. territory. They mapped it all out (years) and then wrote a book that sold over and over again. Why? Rather than the many exploring on their own, people bought the book/road-map and went from there establishing mining, farming and trapping operations successfully. Sell, invest into or buy your own home or GOT AGENT?  You choose your own success or not

Jun 10, 2019 06:38 AM #14
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

Our industry could be a graveyard for these poor horses !

Jun 10, 2019 08:26 AM #15
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate

This is being used recently again like a seminar just came into town to preach. I've heard that a few times last month & I just shake my head.

Jun 10, 2019 10:10 AM #16
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Perfect way to get this important message across, Alan May ... I'm sharing the article everywhere I can!


Jun 10, 2019 11:27 AM #17
Mike Frazier
Carousel Realty of Dyer County - Dyersburg, TN
Northwest Tennessee Realtor

I would say the majority of the buyers out there has this mentality.

Jun 10, 2019 12:16 PM #18
John Van Hogen
Keller Williams Realty Professionals - Hillsboro, OR
Serving Sellers / Buyers / Investors 503-680-9390

So true's just no worth your time and effort trying to explain.

Jun 10, 2019 05:05 PM #19
Debra Leisek
Bay Realty,Inc Homer Alaska - Homer, AK

Too Funny and so True! People try so hard to get one over they dont see how far they fall behind...

Jun 10, 2019 11:06 PM #20
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667,, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

There are a portion of buyers who feel this way. Your example in the last paragraph is one great reason buyers should hire a buyer agent!

Jun 11, 2019 02:59 AM #21
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

There are also those folks out there who believe that Google has all the answers and they don't need agents.

Jun 11, 2019 03:10 AM #22
Cindy Edwards
RE/MAX Checkmate - Johnson City, TN
CRS, GRI, PMN - Northeast Tennessee - 423-677-6677

Well written and oh so true.   But you are right, certain people feel they are so educated and nothing you can tell them will be right.

Jun 11, 2019 03:57 AM #23
Nick Vandekar, 610-203-4543
Long & Foster Real Estate Inc 610-225-7400 - Devon, PA
Tredyffrin Easttown Realtor, Philly Main Line

I find it interesting your description of the buyer. It shows and implies that the public are looking for ways to reduce the price of homes and believe that the commissions are pushing prices up. It also shows that some people will never listen and believe that a buyers agent will be helpful to them. Others may listen. If mortgage companies allowed buyer agent fees to be rolled into the mortgage, no reason why they should not be, they already are there just ona different place on the sheet, then more agents would need to explain their value in a better way so the consumer gets it and understands it.

Jun 11, 2019 04:45 AM #25
Jill Sackler
Charles Rutenberg Realty Inc. 516-575-7500 - Long Beach, NY
LI South Shore Real Estate - Broker Associate

Yes, that is exactly what they think. I don't know if it will ever be any different.

Jun 11, 2019 08:41 AM #27
Anna Banana Kruchten Broker, CRB, CRS
HomeSmart Real Estate BR030809000 - Phoenix, AZ

Apparently the guy didn't to the math 97% vs 92%.  Next....

Jun 11, 2019 03:18 PM #28
Laura Cerrano
Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island - Locust Valley, NY
Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher

The whole point of the saying is that it’s already dead, right? I always assumed that was the meaning.

Jun 26, 2019 11:55 PM #30
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