Common Real Estate Myths & Misconceptions that Plague Buyers and Sellers

While there's a prevailing belief that buying without a real estate agent will save you money, the truth is you're almost always better off working with a pro.

Houses with big name real estate signs sell faster.

This may be one of the biggest misconceptions of all!  So many people actually believe that if you have a ReMax sign or Martha Turner sign in your yard that it will sell faster.  This couldn't be further from the truth!  When you purchased your last home, did you really care whose sign was in the yard?  Exactly!  Buyers could care less who the house is listed by.  And when buyers are looking for homes online, they are looking at homes & photos, not the real estate agents who have each listing.  Some of the bigger national real estate companies will try to make you believe that listing your home with them will give you some sort of advantage, but this is a big MYTH.  Every real estate broker in Houston lists their homes on HAR, so everyone has an equal chance of getting their listing(s) seen by buyers.  The system is set up so that nobody has an advantage - we all have our listings on Zillow, Trulia,,, and nearly 30 other websites.

Picking the agent who has the most advertising in the area is the best choice.

We both know from many years of experience that the agents who advertise the most have teams of people working for them.  How do you think they pay for all of the thousands of dollars in advertising they're spending each month.  You will RARELY see or have any contact with these agents during the home selling process.  In fact, they will almost immediately turn you over to one of their assistants, who in most cases is not even a licensed REALTOR®!  To most of these agents you are merely a monthly number to add to their real estate empire.  Not to us!

If you list your house with us, we will bring you the buyer too.

99% of the time, your buyer is going to come from another Realtor®.   As an agent, it is nearly impossible to have one of your buyer's needs met by one of the homes you have listed.  This would have to be a perfect match of location, area, price range, and so much more for it to work out; that's why it rarely does.

You can get a better deal as a buyer if you don't use a real estate agent.

"That's a completely false premise," Elika says. If the house is listed with a real estate agent, the total sales commission is built into the price. If the buyers don't have an agent, the seller's agent will receive the entire commission.

You can save money selling your home yourself.

Some people do successfully sell homes on their own, but they need the skills to get the home listed online, market the home to prospective buyers, negotiate the correct and legal contracts, and then deal with any issues that arise during the inspection or loan application phases.  It's not impossible to sell a home on your own, but you'll find that buyers expect a substantial discount when you do, so what you save on a real estate commission may end up meaning a lower price. It's not impossible to sell your home on your own for the same price you'd get with an agent, but it's not easy.

The market will only go up.

In recent years, homebuyers and sellers have experienced a time of increasing home values, then a sharp decline during the economic downturn and now another period of increasing values.  "They think that the market only goes up," Elika says.  "They don't think about when a correction will come.  "The recent recession should have reminded everyone that real estate prices can indeed fall, and fall a lot.

You should renovate your kitchen and bathroom before you sell.

If your kitchen and baths work, a major remodel could backfire. Prospective buyers may not share your taste, but they don't want to redo something that has just been renovated.  "You're better off adjusting your price accordingly," says Kevin Brown Jr., president of Praedium Real Estate Services in Pittsburgh and a regional director of the NAEBA.  "Most buyers want to put their own spin on things."

You'll earn back what you spend on renovations.

If you fix the heating and air conditioning system or roof, you will sell your house more quickly, but you probably won't recoup what you spent.  According to Remodeling magazine's 2015 Cost vs. Value Report, the only renovation that is likely to net you as much as you spent is a new front door.  You're likely to recoup only 67.8 percent of what you spent on a major kitchen remodel and 70 percent of what you spent on a bathroom remodel on a mid-range home.  "Very few things will bring you great returns," says Sabrina Booth, an agent with Redfin in Seattle.  "If you're going to do these projects, it's better to do them for your own enjoyment."

Open houses sell properties.

Homes rarely sell to buyers who visited them during an open house.  Agents like open houses because it enables them to find additional customers who are looking to buy or sell homes.  If you or your agent choose not to have an open house, it probably doesn't hurt your sale chances – although holding a broker's open house for other agents may be worthwhile.


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